Famous Places That You Should Visit This Mahashivratri: Maha Shivratri also called the “the great night of Shiva” is a Hindu festival celebrated every year to praise Lord Shiva.
As per Hindu Calendar, this grand celebration is held every year on the 13th night/14th day of the Maagha month. The festival arrives just before the knock of Spring season.
This time the festival will be celebrated on March 4 and will be extended till March 5.
Famous places in India for Maha Shivratri:
1. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
India’s spiritual capital, Varanasi has one of the most important Shiva temples in the country and therefore it’s quite natural that festival of Maha Shivratri is actually a grand celebration.
In the holy place, Varanasi, more than one million devotees from all around India visit the famous Shiva Temple and perform rituals. A bulk of them stays on fast.
The wedding procession of Shiva
In Varanasi, many temples organize a wedding baaraat where masses play the characters of different Gods and Goddesses.
From the early morning only, the preparations get started with the committee choosing the right character for the parade.
After the preparation, the parade starts which goes to the Southern part of the city and finally has its halt at the Tilbhandeshwar temple where it usually starts from.
The procession lasts for about 5 hours and it is celebrated in the background with loud music and people drink Bhaang (a form of marijuana legal and common in Varanasi) and dancing in the parade. This special marijuana is known as the blessing of Lord Shiva, a lot of people do it for religious reasons.
After the parade, everyone returns back to the temple, offers their prayers and perform rituals.
2. Haridwar and Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
Haridwar, the Land of Yogis, is another famous place to celebrate Mahashivratri and it is well-known for its temples and ghats where pilgrims take a bath to get relief from their sins. Many pilgrims come to Haridwar to take a holy dip in the Har Ki Pauri.
In addition to this, tourists can also go to various other temples, enjoy your coffee day at some of the lovely cafes in Rishikesh,
Apart from this, tourists can also go to various other temples, enjoy a café in Rishikesh, also enjoy walking on the Lakshman Jhula. Many adventure activities have gained popularity in Rishikesh including Bungee Jumping.
3. Mandi, Himachal Pradesh
Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, famous as the Temple of Bhootnath is recognized as the host of the biggest Shivratri Celebration in India.
About 500 years ago, the royal family started the tradition and presently a week-long International Mandi Shivratri Fair is held annually and it attracts a lot of tourists from India and even Internationally.
Every year on MahaShivratri, the State Governor leads Shobha Yatra at a function inaugurated by the Chief Minister.
4. Srikalahasti and Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh
Mahashivratri is celebrated with utmost warmth in Andhra Pradesh. Devotees visit different Shiva temples in the state mainly Sri Kalahasteshwara Temple at Srikalahasti and the Bharamarambha Malikarjunaswamy Temple at Srisailam.
In order to mark the auspicious festival, devotees chant mantras and observe fast in the honor of Lord Shiva.
5. Guwahati and Sibsagar, Assam
In the North-Eastern state of Assam, the centre of attraction of the Shivratri festival is in the Umananda temple situated on the Peacock Island right in the middle of Brahmaputra river in Guwahati, the capital of Assam.
Thousands of devotees from all over India visit this temple on the occasion of Shivratri.
Sibsagar, the capital of the former Ahom kings, is the second major center of the Mahashivratri festival in Assam.
6. Khajuraho and Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
In the state of Madhya Pradesh, Shivratri is celebrated with religious enthusiasm. As a tradition, people in Madhya Pradesh take holy bath in Sagar tank on the sacred occasion of Mahashivratri in Khajuraho.
The Bundelkhand area, which is the stronghold of Shaivites, organizes the huge Shivratri celebrations in the state.
A large number of devotees of Lord Shiva reaches Matangeshwar temple and worshiped all night.
What attracts the most at the Matangeshwar Temple in Mahashivratri celebrations is the 10-day-long fair that sees the participation of traders, peddlers, and wanderers from other parts of the state.
A complete celebration of traditional fare and a handful of handicrafts besides the rural circus show, magic shows, folk theatre, and merry-go-rounds adds the excitement add level way higher.
In Ujjain, Mahashivratri is centered around Mahakaleshwar temple and it also sees many devotees from all over the country for the Shivratri festival.
7. Puri, Orissa
Shivratri festival is also very popular at Loknath temple, Puri. According to a mythological legend prevalent in Orissa, a long time ago, Puri was the center of Shiva worship.
The story says that Lord Ramchandra had established Lingam in Loknath temple. This lingam was immersed in a vessel of water. This unique custom can only be seen on the Pankodhar Ekadasi before Shivratri when water is removed from the vat (vessel).
On that day, thousands of devotees come for taking the blessing of Lord Shiva.
Nashik is famous for having one of the Jyotirlingas in Trimbakeshwar, the Someshwara temple dedicated to Shiva and Kalpeshwar temple dedicated to the Nandi, Lord Shiva’s bull.
In addition to being one of the four places for the Kumbh Mela, Nasaka becomes the center of religious activities during Mahashivratri.
9. Kashmir Valley
Hindu Kashmiri Pandits celebrates Mahashivratri as the marriage day of Shiva and Parvati. Celebrations begin two days ago before and end two days after Shivratri. The festival is popularly known as Herath in Kashmir.
Amongst Kashmiri brahmins, the festival is one of the important traditions which involves married women go to their maternal homes and return with money and a pot which is considered auspicious.