Mahashivratri, One of India's holiest holidays, is also one of its biggest and most important. Shiva, who is revered as the Adi Guru or the First Guru and the source of the Yogic tradition, is honoured throughout the festival for his Grace. Because of the planetary alignments on this night—which also happens to be the darkest night of the year—the human body experiences a strong natural increase in energy. Staying awake and attentive in a vertical position throughout the night is extremely good for one's bodily and spiritual welfare.

An annual Hindu event called Maha Shivaratri is dedicated to promoting family unity and fertility. It literally means "The Night of Lord Shiva" and is named after the great Hindu god who creates, safeguards, and alters the cosmos.

History/ Stories about Mahashivratri

The origin of this celebration is described in several myths and traditions found in the Puranas.

According to one, a pot of poison came out of the sea at the Samudra Manthan. The poison's potential to wipe out the entire universe alarmed the Gods and devils, who subsequently fled to Shiva for assistance. Shiva drank the deadly poison, but he did not swallow it, but kept it in his throat to save the universe from its wicked repercussions. His neck became blue as a result, and he was given the nickname Neelakantha, which means "the blue-throated one." Shivaratri commemorates the occasion when Shiva rescued the universe.

Another mythology in the Shiva Purana claims that Brahma and Vishnu, the other two members of the triad of Hindu gods, once engaged in conflict about who was the superior of the two. The other gods begged Shiva to step in because they were horrified by how intense the conflict was. Shiva took on the appearance of a massive column of fire and stood between Brahma and Vishnu in order to make them realise the pointlessness of their battle. They made the decision to each locate an end to claim dominance over the other after being struck by its size. While Vishnu, as Varaha, descended into the ground, Brahma took on the shape of a swan and flew aloft.

However, light has no bounds, thus despite travelling hundreds of kilometres in quest of the end, neither could. Brahma encountered a Ketaki flower floating down gently while ascending. The Ketaki said that she had been placed at the top of the flaming column as an offering when asked where she had come from. Brahma gave up trying to identify the highest limit and opted to accept the flower as a witness instead.

The enraged Shiva then showed his actual self. He condemned Brahma and punished him for lying by forbidding anybody from ever praying to him. She had given false testimony, thus it was prohibited from using the Ketaki flower as a sacrifice for any type of worship. Since Shiva originally appeared as a Linga on the 14th day of the dark half of the month of Phalguna, the day is particularly auspicious and is observed as Mahashivaratri. On this day, Shiva is worshipped because it is said to bring pleasure and wealth to the worshipper.

The all-night adoration of Shiva on Shivratri is explained by a mythology. A tribal man from a destitute background previously had a deep devotion to Shiva. He ventured far into the forest one day to get firewood. He got lost, though, and was unable to find his way back before dark. He heard the howls of savage beasts as night fell. He was so terrified that he went up the nearest tree to find cover till dawn. He was worried he might fall from the tree while perched amid the branches. He made the decision to pick one leaf from the tree at a time and drop it while reciting the name of Shiva in order to stay awake.

The tribe member took one leaf off the tree at a time and put it down, which he had not noticed in the dark, until realising that he had dropped a thousand leaves upon a Linga to keep himself awake. Unexpectedly, the tree was a wood apple or bel tree. Shiva was pleased by the tribal group's unintentional all-night devotion, and by his favour they were granted celestial happiness. Additionally, during Mahashivaratri, fasting devotees recount this tale. Devotees consume the Prasad that was presented to Shiva after keeping an all-night fast.

Another explanation for the start of the all-night worship is plausible. Since there was no moon that night, they worshipped Shiva, a god who wears a crescent moon ornament in his hair. This was presumably done to make sure the moon would rise the following night.

The trees are covered in blossoms just after Mahashivaratri, almost as if to proclaim that after winter, the earth's fertility has been restored. And possibly for this reason, the Linga is revered as a fertility symbol across India. In different regions of India, the holidays are different.

Children are free to engage in any kind of mischief in southern Karnataka, for instance, and asking for punishment is the norm there. These practises are likely derived from the legendary episode in which Shiva punished Brahma for lying. The Shivanatha Temple in Varanasi honours Shiva's appearance as the light of unsurpassed wisdom and the Linga (a symbol for a pillar of light).

Mahashivaratri is a celebration of the Hindu world as well as a rite. It dispels ignorance, emits knowledge's light, awakens one to the cosmos, ushers in spring after a chilly, dry winter, and calls for the highest power to take notice of the creatures he created.


Mahashivratri is very significant for individuals looking for spiritual enlightenment. It is crucial for both people with family responsibilities and those who are ambitious in the world. Mahashivratri is observed by families as the anniversary of Shiva and Parvati's wedding. Those with materialistic goals see that day as the day Shiva defeated all of his adversaries.

However, for ascetics, it is regarded as the day he united with Mount Kailash.. He went completely motionless, like a mountain. Shiva is not worshipped as a deity in the yogic tradition; instead, he is regarded as the Adi Guru, the original Guru from whom the yoga science descended. He spent countless ages in meditation until becoming completely motionless one day.

It is Mahashivratri on that day. Ascetics refer to Mahashivratri as the "night of stillness" because all motion in him ceased and he remained completely still.

All of the traditional prayers practised in Indian culture did not focus on self-salvation, self-defense, or improving one's lot in life. Oh Lord, kill me so that I may become like you has been the theme of all previous petitions. As a result, when we refer to Shivratri, the darkest night of the month, we mean that it is a chance for people to let go of their boundaries and to encounter the limitlessness of the source of creation, which is the seed inside each and every one of us.

Spiritual Signinficance

Despite any legends, this day and night are highly revered in the yogic traditions because of the opportunities they offer a seeker of spirituality. Modern science has gone through many stages and is now trying to convince you that everything you see as life, substance, and existence, as well as the cosmos and galaxies, is actually simply one energy that presents itself in many different ways.

Each and every yogi has firsthand experience with this scientific fact. One who has grasped the concept of the oneness of existence is referred to as a "yogi." I don't want to single out any one specific practise or system when I use the term "yoga." Yoga is the practise of all aspirations to know the limitless and the oneness of life. An individual gets the chance to do this during the night of Mahashivratri.


Mahashivratri is a highly important holiday for everyone, both those who are spiritually inclined and those who have families and jobs. Mahashivratri is revered by those who have families as the anniversary of Shiva's wedding. The aspirational believe it to be the day Shiva vanquished all of his foes. Shiva, however, is not regarded as a deity in the yogic tradition; rather, he is regarded as the Adi Guru, or first guru, who is credited with creating the yoga science. The definition of Shiva is "that which is not." It is possible to develop a fresh perspective on life and see it with complete clarity if you can maintain a condition in which you are not yourself and allow Shiva to be.

What to Do on Mahashivratri
  • Keep a vigil on Shivratri if you can. Don't sleep all night; instead, spend it thinking about spiritual matters.
  • Chant mantras, sing songs, listen to Lord Shiva tales, and meditate.
  • Seek out Shiva temples. The majority of Shiva temples offer prayers all night long. Take part in the evening prayers.
  • You should try to offer prayers and pujas at home as well. On Shivratri, begin the pooja after dusk and do it till dawn.
  • Offering to Shiva Bilva leaves, white flowers, Ganges water, holy ash, sandalwood paste, and milk. It is seen as lucky.
  • Donate Prasad, food, clothing, and other supplies to the needy and underprivileged after the Shivratri ceremony.
What Not to Do on Mahashivratri
  • Shivratri, in contrast to certain other holidays, is not a time for revelry and merriment. Think on the Lord, go to the temple, perform Shiv puja at home, and spend time engaging in spiritual pursuits.
  • If you're on a strict fast during Shivratri, avoid sleeping. Keep watch all night long, shout praises to the gods, and recite the Lord's mantras.
  • Avoid viewing movies or wasting time playing video games during Shivratri. Avoid any indulgences of any kind. Spend the time solely in focused, sincere worship of the Lord.
  • Never engage in disputes or spread lies. Eat just vegetarian cuisine. Avoid alcohol and any other addictive substances.
Explanation behind Mahashivratri

Maha Shivratri is directly related to conception and fertility. Married women follow the fast to express gratitude and preserve the peace in their marriages, while single women fast in the hopes of finding a companion during the festival.

Rituals associated with Mahashivratri

The celebration combines a 24-hour vigil with a daylong fast. Devotees rise early and take a ceremonial wash in the morning. After performing these ritual cleansings, they would proceed to the Shiva temple nearby to give offerings of milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar, and water. Om Namah Shivaya, Shiva's sacred mantra, is said in homes and temples all throughout India. During special pujas, streams of pilgrims continue to arrive throughout the day and into the night as incense is burned, lamps are lighted, and other rituals are performed. Devotees observe a serious fast the entire time till the next morning.

Common activities associated with Mahashivratri

Maha Shivaratri is not just a big deal in India; it's also a big deal among Indo-Caribbean cultures, where the night of devotion is solemnly honoured in more than 400 temples and unique concoctions called jhalls (milk and curd, flowers, sugarcane, and sweets) are offered up to Lord Shiva. Hindu pilgrims go from Mauritius for the famous crater-lake known as Ganga Talao; in Nepal, where the festival is a national holiday, devotees swarm sacred locations including the Shiva Shakti Peetham and the Pashupatinath temple. Maha Shivaratri has a variety of significance for various people. The concept of "overcoming darkness and ignorance" is one of the main themes that appeals to believers the most.

Mahashivratri in India
  • Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh : Shiva's wedding procession In Varanasi, several temples have wedding ceremonies called baaraats, in which many people dress up as various deities. The planning process begins early in the morning when the committee selects the ideal parade character. Following the preparation, a procession begins and travels across the southern portion of the city until arriving back at the Tilbhandeshwar temple, where it usually starts. The procession lasts for around 5 hours and is marked by loud music, dancing, and the consumption of bhaang, a kind of marijuana that is legal and widespread in Varanasi. Many individuals use marijuana in this country for religious reasons since it is thought to be Lord Shiva's blessing. Everyone goes back to the temple after the parade to worship and carry out ceremonies.
  • Haridwar& Rishikesh : Another great location for Mahashivaratri is Haridwar, the home of yogis, which is known for its temples and ghats, where pilgrims bathe to atone for their sins. A large number of pilgrims travel to Haridwar to bathe in the Har Ki Pauri. Many Lord Shiva worshippers travel to Haridwar and Rishikesh, the two holy cities in Uttarakhand. On Maha Shivratri, people go to Haridwar's revered ghats and offer prayers. During Shivratri, several of them visit the Neelkanth Mahadev temple. They locate a location to relax and do yoga in Rishikesh.
  • Mandi, Himachal Pradesh : The largest Shivaratri celebration in the nation is reportedly held at the Temple of Bhootnath in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. Around 500 years ago, the Mandi royal family began the custom, and now, a week-long international Mandi Shivratri fair is held here every year, drawing large numbers of visitors from around the nation and even from outside. The state's governor conducts a Shobha Yatra during Shivratri Festival at a gathering that is officially opened by the chief minister.
  • Srilakahasti, Andhra Pradesh : The state of Andhra Pradesh celebrates the Shivaratri festival with great fervour. The Sri Kalahasteshwara Temple in Srikalahasti and the Bharamarambha Malikarjunaswamy Temple in Srisailam are two of the state's most popular Shiva temples. To commemorate the joyous event, devotees also conduct fasts and sing mantras in Lord Shiva's honour.
  • Srisailam : In the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, Srisailam is a renowned hill town situated in a magnificent natural environment on the banks of the River Krishna. Many old temples, including a Jyotirlinga, a wildlife preserve, and a dam, make Srisailam famous. The real Indian culture is evident in the Mahashivratri celebrations at the historic temples Srikalahasti and Srisailam.
  • Guwahati : The Umananda Temple, which is located on Peacock Island in the midst of the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati, the state capital of Assam, is the focal point of the Shivratri celebrations in the northeastern state of Assam. On the festival of Shivaratri, thousands of Shiva worshippers from around the nation attend the temple. The other important location for Mahashivaratri festivities in Assam is Sibsagar, the former capital of the Ahom monarchs.
  • Sivasagar : This ancient tourist destination, which dates to the Ahom empire, is rich of historical tourist attractions such forts with subterranean construction and countless temples. Assamese state of Sibsagar offers a variety of tourist sites that are connected to amazing architectural feats, history, and culture. Participate in the beautiful Mahashivratri puja held at Sivasagar and Guwahati.
  • Khajuraho : The Hindu holiday of Shivaratri is fervently observed in Madhya Pradesh. On the festival of Mahashivaratri, people from Madhya Pradesh often bathe in the sacred water of Khajuraho's Sagar pond. The largest Shivaratri celebrations in the state are held in the Bundelkhand Region, which is home to a significant Shaivite population. Numerous followers of Lord Shiva gather at the Matangeshwar Temple and offer prayers all night long. The 10-day bazaar at the Matangeshwar Temple, where shopkeepers, peddlers, and gipsies from various areas of the state participate, is the highlight of the Shivaratri celebrations there.
  • Ujjain : The ancient city of Ujjain, one of India's holiest locations, is located on the Malwa region's eastern bank of the Shipra River. The Kumbh Mela, the world's biggest peace gathering with four locations, includes Ujjain as one of its four locations. Being a part of the tranquil Mahashivratri festivities is indeed a blessing.
  • Puri : The Lokanath Temple's Shivaratri event in Puri is likewise quite well-liked. An Orissan mythology claims that Puri was formerly a major Shiva worship location. According to legend, Lord Ramachandra himself put the Lingam in the Lokanath Temple. This lingam is preserved in a water-filled tank. The water is only visible on Pankodhar Ekadasi, the day before Shivaratri, when the vat is drained of its contents. On that day, thousands of worshippers come.
Mahashivratri all atround the globe
  • Mauritius : On Maha Shivratri each year, Ganga Talao comes to life with vivacious processions and events that lavishly honour Shiva, the island's most beloved deity. According to Mauritian legend, the Grand Bassin, also known as Ganga Talao, receives its water from the River Jahnvi, making it a portion of the Ganga and one of the most sacred locations in this island nation. Hindus in Mauritius go out on foot each year to travel to the Talao, which is hidden away in the Savanne district's dense jungle. A 108-foot-tall monument of Shiva is located in the Ganga Talao and is the largest statue on the island of Mauritius. Even outside of India, there is such devotion for the God.
  • Bangladesh : On the night of Maha Shivratri, the nation's Hindu populace congregates in Chandranath Dham in Chittagong to worship to Lord Shiva. Hindus invoke the powerful God and give sacrifices to him out of love and appreciation in order to pray for a nice spouse in their life.
  • Nepal : Nepal features some of the most beautiful temples and shrines in the world and has a sizable Hindu population. Nepal, which forms a natural extension of the Indian Himalayas, is another nation where Mahesh is revered in all of his majesty and grandeur. Shiva is honoured as one of the founding fathers of Yoga Vidya in the Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal, one of his holiest sanctuaries. According to popular belief, being awake on Maha Shivratri alters one's perspective of the world. It is thought that the night of Maha Shivratri causes a change in the energy of the human body. Women pray to the Mahadev for marital love and happiness through a number of song and dance ceremonies that are performed on the grounds of the Pashupatinath Temple.

Copyright 2012-2024 Indiamap Digital Private Limited. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Use