Summary:Hindu festival, Shivaratri falls on the 13th (or 14th) day of the dark half of Phalgun (February-March). The name means “the night of Shiva”. The ceremonies take place chiefly at night. This is a festival observed in honor of Lord Shiva. Shiva was married to Parvati on this day. This year, it is falling on February 24, Friday. Here are some ideas with which you can make the most of the same as well as of the festivity of Mahashivaratri.
Hindu festival, Shivaratri falls on the 13th (or 14th) day of the dark half of Phalgun (February-March). The name means “the night of Shiva”. The ceremonies take place chiefly at night. This is a festival observed in honor of Lord Shiva. Shiva was married to Parvati on this day. This year, it is falling on February 24, Friday. Yes, a three day long weekend. Here are some ideas with which you can make the most of the same as well as of the festivity of Maha Shivaratri.
Mandi, Himachal Pradesh
The Temple of Bhootnath at Mandi in Himachal Pradesh is said to host the biggest Shivaratri Celebration in the country. The royal family of Mandi started the tradition some 500 years ago and now a week-long International Mandi Shivratri Fair is held here every year and it attracts a lot of tourists from all over the country and even abroad.
Haridwar and Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
The land of Yogis, Haridwar is on one place to spend our weekend with lord shiva. It is famous for its temples and ghats where pilgrims bathe to relieve themselves of their sins. Apart from this, tourists can also visit various other temples, enjoy cafes in Rishikesh, take a walk on the Lakshman Jhula and enjoy river rafting in Rishikesh.
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
The spiritual capital of India, Varanasi has one of the most important Shiva temples in the country and hence it’s quite natural that Maha Shivaratri is celebrated in Varanasi a grand manner. Mahashivaratri in Varanasi sees more than a million Hindus from all over India come to the famous Shiva temple and preform rituals.
Guwahati and Sibsagar, Assam
In the North-Eastern state of Assam, the hub of Shivratri celebrations is at the Umananda Temple, situated on the Peacock Island in the middle of Brahamaputra river in Guwahati. Thousands of Shiva devotees from all over the country pay a visit to the temple on the occasion of Shivaratri. Sibsagar, the capital of the erstwhile Ahom kings, is the other major centre of Mahashivaratri celebrations in Assam.
Khajuraho and Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
Shivaratri is celebrated with religious fervor in the state of Madhya Pradesh. As a tradition, people in Madhya Pradesh take a holy dip in Sagar tank on the occassion of Mahashivaratri in Khajuraho. Bundelkhand Region, which has a stronghold of Shaivites hosts the biggest Shivaratri celebrations in the state. Highpoint of the Shivaratri celebrations at the Matangeshwar Temple is the 10-day-long fair that witness the participation of traders, peddlers and gypsies from other parts of the state.
Shivaratri celebration at Lokanath Temple, Puri is also quite popular. According to a legend popular in Orissa, long ago, Puri was a centre of Shiva worship. The story goes, Lord Ramachandra himself installed the Lingam in the Lokanath Temple. This lingam is kept submerged, in a vat of water. It can only be seen on Pankodhar Ekadasi, before Shivaratri, when the water is removed from the vat. On that day, thousands of devotees come for a darshan.