Namo Namo ji Shankara, Bholenath Shankara
Hey Triloknath Shambhu, Hey Shivay Shankara.!
Maha Shivratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honor of the most charismatic, influential, and fascinating deity of the Hindu Trinity – Lord Shiva or Mahadev. “Maha” means “great” and “Shivratri” means “Night of Shiva”, so the festival is known as “the great night of Shiva”. Lord Shiva is known and honored by a number of different names, including Mahadev, Bholenath, Shambhu, and Shankar. Let us look at the importance of Maha Shivratri 2023.
Hindus celebrate Maha Shivratri as a highly auspicious day, and it is observed with great devotion and passion. On this day, Lord Shiva is said to have performed the holy trinity dance of creation, preservation, and destruction. It is often celebrated on the 13th night and 14th day of the Hindu month of Phalguna, which, according to the Gregorian calendar, occurs in February or March. Maha Shivratri 2023 falls on February 18.
The festival is celebrated with great pomp and zeal. Worshippers pay homage to Lord Shiva by fasting, chanting religious songs and prayers, and executing rituals. Many devotees also visit temples dedicated to Lord Shiva especially the 12 Jyotirlinga Temples which are considered to be the holiest places of worship for Lord Shiva. People offer prayers and perform rituals such as showering the Shiva Lingam, with milk and honey and lighting oil lamps.
The festival is also associated with many mythological stories and legends related to Lord Shiva. It is believed that on this day, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married, and therefore the festival is seen as a celebration of their union. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva is the destroyer of evil and the embodiment of calmness and wisdom. He saved the world from destruction by drinking the poison that emerged from the churning of the ocean, which turned his throat blue and earned him the name “Neelkanth”.
Maha Shivratri is an important festival in the Hindu calendar, and it is celebrated by millions of people across India and other parts of the world with great enthusiasm and devotion.
Check out some of the best places to celebrate Maha Shivaratri 2023 in India with the utmost zeal and excitement.
1. Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
Located close to the Nar-Narayan mountain ranges and surrounded by dense forest and stunning valleys, the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple in Rishikesh is the place where Lord Shiva consumed the poison that emerged as a result of Gods and Demons churning the ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality. It is due to this reason he came to be known as “Neelkanth” – blue throat – as the poison turned his throat blue. Devotees offer special prayers at the Har ki Pauri. Each year 2 fairs are held at the convergence of Rivers Madhumati and Pankaja to celebrate Maha Shivratri (between February and March) and Shivratri (between July and August) wherein worshippers offer bael leaves, coconut, milk, honey, water, flowers, and fruits as an offering to the Neelkanth.
2. Kedarnath Temple, Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand
Kedarnath is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in India and a part of the Chardham Yatra. Constructed by the Pandavas, this Jyotirlinga is located at a height of 12,000 feet in the Himalayan mountain range where many devotees travel on foot from Rishikesh to reach it. You may not be able to visit the Kedarnath Temple during Maha Shviratri, as it remains closed due to extreme climatic conditions in the winter season. The enshrining Jyotirlinga is moved from Kedarnath to the Ukhimath for 6 months from December to March. The temple reopening day is announced on the day of Maha Shivratri.
Wouldn’t it be exciting to celebrate Maha Shivratri 2023 in Rishikesh and Rudraprayag with our Uttarakhand Tour Packages?
3. Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
Our Madhya Pradesh tour packages are incomplete without the inclusion of the ancient city of Ujjain. One of the holiest cities in India, Ujjain is home to the Mahakaleshwar Temple. The temple is located on the banks of River Kshipra in the Mahakal forest from which it derives its name. The main deity of Lord Shiva at Mahakaleshwar Temple is lingam and is said to be Swayambhu, or self-manifested. The priests perform a special ritualistic milk bath of the Shiva Linga after covering it in a paste of sandal – ubtan and turmeric on the day of Maha Shivratri. Devotees from all over India and the world visit the Mahakaleshwar temple to attend the Kumbh Mela – one of the largest peaceful gatherings on the planet.
4. Bhavnath Mahadev Mandir, Junagadh, Gujarat
The Bhavnath Temple situated at the foothills of the Girnar mountain range in Junagadh is considered a prominent pilgrimage destination and draws thousands of followers each year. A grand fair is held here for 5 days which concludes on the Maha Shivratri. Devotees perform a parikrama of the Girnar hills before visiting the fair. Many Naga Sadhus visit the temple hailing Lord Shiva, waving flags and blowing conch shells to be a part of the Maha Puja. A grand procession takes place wherein the Naga Sadhus march towards the temple from late evening till midnight. After reaching the temple’s tank – Mrugikund, they take a bath and then perform the Maha Puja. It is believed that Lord Shiva himself along with 84 Siddhas and 9 Nathas that reside in the Girnar mountain visit the temple on the occasion of Maha Shivratri.
5. Shree Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple, Veraval, Gujarat
The 1st of the 12 Jyotirlingas, the Somnath temple is known for its rich history and cultural significance. The whole temple is decorated with flowers and lights and the atmosphere is charged with chants of “Om Namah Shivay”, and “Bam Bam Bhole”, and the ringing of the temple bells. Prahar Pooja, Maha Aarti, and a special Maha Abhishek of the Shiva Lingam consisting of milk, honey, yogurt, sugar, water, and ghee are performed on Maha Shivratri. Locals gather around and perform many folk dances and folk songs such as Bhavai which attracts a lot of tourists.
If you plan on booking a Gujarat tour package, Maha Shivratri is the best time to do so. Depending upon where you are you in Gujarat, you will get a chance to experience the procession of the Naga Sadhus or the Maha Abhishek of the Shiva Linga which are must to experience at least once in the lifetime.
6. Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Founded by Sadhguru, the Isha Yoga Centre – in our Tamil Nadu tour packages, is famous for the largest bust sculpture in the world which is the iconic 112 feet tall statue of Lord Shiva. A night-long Satsang by the Sadhguru, midnight meditation, and a day full of dancing and music are a part of the Maha Shivratri celebrations here. The celebrations start with a Pancha Bhuta Aradhna, followed by a Linga Bhairavi Maha Yatra, and the Adiyogi Divya Darshanam – a 14 minute long show projected on the bust of the Shiva. Hundreds of volunteers prepare and distribute food to thousands of devotees who visit the foundation on the night of Maha Shivratri.
Excited to celebrate Maha Shivratri? Well, do share your views in the comment section below on how you celebrated Maha Shivratri 2023, and tag us on Instagram to share your happiness by visiting these stunning Shiva temples.
Well, whether you’re a couple, a family, or a group of close friends, Akbar Travels has you covered with its Incredible India tour packages! A land with a rich history and cultural importance and the natural beauty that transcends you and connects you to your soul. Isn’t India one of the most amazing destinations in the world and will surprise you no matter how many times you visit?
So, what are you waiting for book your flight tickets and confirm your hotel accommodation with us now to have a terrific opportunity to meet new people, learn about the actual culture, and have a spiritual time celebrating Maha Shivratri 2023 with your family and friends at all the famous Shiva temples in India and will cherish these memories for many years to come.
Jai Bholenath! May Lord Shiva bless us all with lots of happiness and success throughout the entire year.
Akbar Travels wishes you all a very Happy Maha Shivratri 2023!
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- Celebrating Diwali ‘The Festival Of Lights’ In India
- International Festivals Similar To Holi
- HOLI: Celebrate the Festival of Colours!
- Makar Sankranti 2023: All you need to know
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