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Maha Shivaratri 2017: Traditional rituals and chanting the enchanting!

Deepa Gupta | New Delhi |

Here comes the festival of religious fervour and devotion–Maha Shivaratri. The festival is celebrated every year, and there are many interesting facts about the festival. So what actually took place on this day? What are the things people do on Shivaratri?

Lord Shiva married Maa Shakti for the second time on this legendary day.

On this day, people worship lord Shiva who has purifying powers and is considered the destroyer in the Hindu concept of Trimurti – Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh.

Owing to massive popularity of the festival, rush of devotees can be seen in smaller as well as bigger Shiva temples, chanting the mantra–Om Namah Shivaya.

In the Hindu mythology, people worship Shiva and Parvati in different ways on the auspicious night with the belief that they will liberate them of all their sins and bless them with ‘Moksha’.

The traditional ritual includes the bathing of Shivalinga with water and milk and offering of bel leaves, fruits, flowers, sandalwood paste and ghee lamps. To feel the essence of Satyam Shivam Sundaram denoting truth, goodness and beauty of Lord Shiva, many devotees perform Rudra Abhishek besides observing fast. Rudra is another name of the god that signifies his favourite ornament ‘Rudraksh’. Lord Shiva wears it on almost every body part like arms, wrists, neck, waist and hair.

Rudra Abhishek is a ritual to please the Lord in a special way. It is a process in which Shivalinga is bathed with a continuous pouring of one of the following items. Each item has its own significance of fulfilling some particular purpose.

Holy or normal water – To attain salvation

Cow milk – All round happiness

Cow yogurt – Health

Cow ghee – Financial prosperity

Mustard oil – To conquer enemies

Sugarcane juice – For financial stability

Honey – To achieve success

Mango juice – Destruction of long ailment

Sandalwood water – Son’s prosperity

Bhasm – Destruction of great sins

Tender coconut water – Sarv sampadaa vriddhi

Rice – Rajya prapti

There can be more items as suggested by the pandits. The process takes place along with non-stop chanting of vedic mantra called the Rudra Sukhta.

Rudra Abhishek is an ancient practice followed in India since time immemorial to eradicate the evil effects of Doshas which take place due to unfavourable planetary positions in the birth horoscope or in current scenario.

Bring home peace, prosperity and happiness along with family get-together this Shivaratri.

Also, some of the best places in India to witness Maha Shivaratri are:

Lokanath Temple in Puri: It is believed that Lord Rama himself set up a Shivalinga here. It is kept submerged in a vat of water. The water is removed only on Pankodhar Ekadashi before Shivaratri for the darshan by thousands of devotees.

Bhootnath Temple at Mandi in Himachal Pradesh: Famous for the Shobha Yatra inaugurated by the chief minister and a week-long international Mandi Shivaratri Fair is organised that is worth visiting.

Haridwar in Uttarakhand: It is famous for spiritual baths at the Ghats of sacred river Ganges.

Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh: Famous for holy dips in Sagar Tank in Khajuraho and a traditional fair, including an array of handicrafts besides folk theatre, magic show and circus.

Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh: Famous for wedding procession of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati with band baja baraat.