Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honor of Lord Shiva, and in particular, marks the day of the consummation of marriage of Shiva. There is a Shivaratri in every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar, on the month's 13th night/14th day, but once a year in late winter (February/March, or phalgun) and before the arrival of Summer, marks Maha Shivaratri which means "the Great Night of Shiva".
It is a major festival in Hinduism, and this festival is solemn and marks a remembrance of "overcoming darkness and ignorance" in life and the world. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, and meditating on ethics and virtues such as self-restraint, honesty, non-injury to others, forgiveness, and the discovery of Shiva. The ardent devotees keep awake all night. Others visit one of the Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams. This is an ancient Hindu festival whose origin date is unknown.
Meditating Shiva on Maha-Shivratri
|Also called||মহা শিৱৰাত্রি ( Assamese) |
মহা শিবরাত্রি (Bengali)
महा शिबफुजा ( Bodo )
મહા શિવરાત્રી (Gujarati)
മഹാ ശിവരാത്രി (Malayalam)
महा शिवरात्रि (Marathi)
महा शिवरात्रि (Nepali)
ମହା ଶିବରାତ୍ରି (Odia)
ਮਹਾਂ ਸ਼ਿਵਰਾਤਰੀ (Punjabi)
महा शिवरात्रि (Sanskrit)
மகா சிவராத்திரி (Tamil)
మహా శివరాత్రి (Telugu)
|Significance||self study, Night of married Shiva and Parvati, yoga|
|Observances||Fasting, yoga, all night vigil, worship of Lingam|
|2018 date||13 February (Tuesday)|
|2019 date||4 March (Monday)|
Maha Shivaratri is an annual festival dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, and is particularly important in the Shaivism tradition of Hinduism. Unlike most Hindu festivals which are celebrated during the day, the Maha Shivaratri is celebrated at night. Furthermore, unlike most Hindu festivals which include expression of cultural revelry, the Maha Shivaratri is a solemn event notable for its introspective focus, fasting, meditation on Shiva, self study, social harmony and an all night vigil at Shiva temples.
The celebration includes maintaining a "jaagaran", an all-night vigil and prayers, because Shaiva Hindus mark this night as "overcoming darkness and ignorance" in one's life and the world through Shiva. Offerings of fruits, leaves, sweets and milk to Shiva are made, some perform all-day fasting with vedic or tantric worship of Shiva, and some perform meditative Yoga. In Shiva temples, "Om Namah Shivaya", the sacred mantra of Shiva, is chanted through the day.
Maha Shivaratri is celebrated over three or ten days based on the Hindu luni-solar calendar. Every lunar month, there is a Shivaratri (12 per year). The main festival is called Maha Shivaratri, or great Shivaratri, which is held on 13th night (waning moon) and 14th day of the month Phalguna. In the Gregorian calendar, the day falls in either February or March. 
The Maha Shivaratri is mentioned in several Puranas, particularly the Skanda Purana, Linga Purana and Padma Purana. These medieval era Shaiva texts present different versions associated with this festival, & mention fasting, reverence for icons of Shiva such as the Lingam.
Different legends describe the significance of Maha Shivaratri. According to one legend in the Shaivism tradition, this is the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation, preservation and destruction. The chanting of hymns, the reading of Shiva scriptures and the chorus of devotees joins this cosmic dance and remembers Shiva's presence everywhere. According to another legend, this is the night when Shiva and Parvati got married. A different legend states that the offering to Shiva icons such as the linga is an annual occasion to get over past sins if any, to restart on a virtuous path and thereby reach Mount Kailasha and liberation.
The significance of dance tradition to this festival has historical roots. The Maha Shivaratri has served as a historic confluence of artists for annual dance festivals at major Hindu temples such as at Konark, Khajuraho, Pattadakal, Modhera and Chidambaram. This event is called Natyanjali, literally "worship through dance", at the Chidambaram temple which is famous for its sculpture depicting all dance mudras in the ancient Hindu text of performance arts called Natya Shastra. Similarly, at Khajuraho Shiva temples, a major fair and dance festival on Maha Shivaratri, involving Shaiva pilgrims camped over miles around the temple complex, was documented by Alexander Cunningham in 1864.
Maha Shivaratri is considered the day when adiyogi or the first guru awakened his consciousness at the material level of existence. According to Tantra, at this stage of consciousness, no objective experience takes place and the mind is transcended. The meditator transcends time, space and causation. It is regarded as the brightest night of the soul, when the yogi attains the state of Shoonya or Nirvana, the stage succeeding samadhi or illumination.
Mahasivaratri is observed at night, usually in lighted temples or specially prepared prabha (above).
Maha Shivaratri is celebrated in Tamil Nadu with great pomp and fanfare in the Annamalai temple located in Tiruvannamalai district. The special process of worship on this day is 'Girivalam'/Giri Pradakshina, a 14-kilometer bare foot walk around Lord Shiva's temple on top of the hill. A huge lamp of oil and camphor is lit on the hilltop at sunset - not to be confused with Karthigai Deepam.
In Andhra and Telangana, Shivratri yatras are held at Mallayya gutta near Kambhalapalle, Gundlakamma Kona near Railway Koduru, Penchalakona, Bhairavakona, Uma Maheswaram amongst others. Special pujas are held at Pancharamas - Amararamam of Amaravati, Somaramam of Bhimavaram, Draksharamam, Kumararama of Samarlakota and Ksheerarama of Palakollu. The days immediately after Shivratri are celebrated as Brahmotsavaalu at Srisailam, one of 12 Jyotirlinga sites. Mahashivaratri utsavalu are held at the Rudreshwara Swamy's 1000 pillar temple in Warangal. Devotees throng for the special poojas at Srikalahasti, Mahanandi, Yaganti, Antarvedi, Kattamanchi, Pattiseema, Bhairavakona, Hanmakonda, Keesaragutta, Vemulawada, Panagal, Kolanupaka amongst others.
The Mandi fair is in the town of Mandi is particularly famous as a venue for Maha Shivaratri celebrations. It transforms the town as devotees pour in. It is believed that all gods and goddesses of the area, said to number more than 200, assemble here on the day of Maha Shivaratri. Mandi, located on the banks of Beas, is popularly known as the "Cathedral of Temples" and one of the oldest towns of Himachal Pradesh, with about 81 temples of different Gods and Goddesses on its periphery.
In Kashmir Shaivism, Maha Shivaratri is celebrated by the Brahmins of Kashmir and is called, "Herath" in Kashmiri, a word derived from the Sanskrit word "Hararatri" the "Night of Hara" (another name of Shiva). Shivaratri, regarded as the most important festival of the community, for instance, is celebrated by them on trayodashi or the thirteenth of the dark half of the month of Phalguna (February–March) and not on chaturdashi or the fourteenth as in the rest of the country. The reason for it is that this long drawn festival that is celebrated for one full fortnight as an elaborate ritual is associated with the appearance of Bhairava (Shiva) as a jwala-linga or a linga of flame. It has been described as Bhairavotsava in Tantric texts as on this occasion Bhairava and Bhairavi, His Shakti or cosmic energy, are propitiated through Tantric worship. According to the legend associated with the origin of the worship, the linga appeared at pradoshakala or the dusk of early night as a blazing column of fire and dazzled Vatuka Bhairava and Rama (or Ramana) Bhairava, Mahadevi’s mind-born sons, who approached it to discover its beginning or end but miserably failed. Exasperated and terrified they began to sing its praises and went to Mahadevi, who herself merged with the awe-inspiring jwala-linga. The Goddess blessed both Vatuka and Ramana that they would be worshipped by human beings and would receive their share of sacrificial offerings on that day and those who would worship them would have all their wishes fulfilled. As Vatuka Bhairava emerged from a pitcher full of water after Mahadevi cast a glance into it, fully armed with all his weapons (and so did Rama), he is represented by a pitcher full of water in which walnuts are kept for soaking and worshipped along with Shiva, Parvati, Kumara, Ganesha, their ganas or attendant deities, yoginis and kshetrapalas (guardians of the quarters) - all represented by clay images. The soaked walnuts are later distributed as naivedya. The ceremony is called ’vatuk barun’ in Kashmiri, which means filling the pitcher of water representing the Vatuka Bhairava with walnuts and worshipping it.
Central India has a large number of Shaiva followers. The Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain is one of the most venerated shrines consecrated to Shiva, where a large congregation of devotees gathers to offer prayers on the day of Maha Shivaratri. Tilwara Ghat in the city of Jabalpur and the Math Temple in the village of Jeonara, Seoni are two other places where the festival is celebrated with much religious fervour.
In Punjab, Shobha Yatras would be organised by various Hindu organisations in different cities. It is a grand festival for Punjabi Hindus.
In Gujarat, Maha Shivaratri mela is held at Junagadh where bathing in the Murghi kund is considered holy. According to myth, Lord Shiva himself comes to bath in theMurghi kund.
In West Bengal, Maha Shivaratri is observed devoutly by unmarried girls seeking a suitable husband, often visiting Tarakeswar.
There are several stories and beliefs associated with this auspicious event.
It is believed that on this particular day Lord Shiva gulped the Halahala produced during Samudra manthan and beheld it in his neck which bruised and turned blue, after which he was named as Neel Kanth. It is also believed that the famous Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is the place where this incident took place or where Lord Shiva consumed the poison as Dark matter and saved the universe.
Maha Shivaratri is a National Holiday in Nepal and celebrated widely in temples all over the country, but especially in the Pashupatinath temple. Thousands of devotees visit the famous Shiva Shakti Peetham nearby as well. Holy rituals are performed all over the nation. Artists from various classical music and dance forms perform through the night. On Maha Shivaratri, married women pray for the well being of their husbands, while unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, considered as the ideal husband. Shiva is also worshipped as the Adi Guru (first teacher) from whom the divine wisdom originates.
Hindus in pakistan visit Shiva temples during Shivrathri.The most important is the three day Shivrathri festival in the Shiv Mandir, Umerkot.It is one the biggest religious festivals in the country.It is attended by around 250,000 people.All the expenses were borne by the All Hindu Panchayat of Umarkot.Hindus also visit Churrio Jabal Durga Mata temple during Shivrathri.About 200,000 pilgrims visit the temple annually on Shivratri.Hindus cremate the dead and ashes are preserved till Shivratri for immersion in the into holy water. 
Maha Shivaratri is the main Hindu festival among the Shaiva Hindu diaspora from Nepal and India. In Indo-Caribbean communities, thousands of Hindus spend the beautiful night in over four hundred temples across the country, offering special jhalls (an offering of milk and curd, flowers, sugarcane and sweets) to Lord Shiva. In Mauritius, Hindus go on pilgrimage to Ganga Talao, a crater-lake.
The Adiyogi statue is a 34.3-metre-tall (112.4 ft) excluding plinth, 45-metre-long (147 ft) and 7.62-metre-wide (24.99 ft) statue of the Hindu deity Shiva with white Thirunamam at Coimbatore in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which has been recognized by the Guinness World Records as the "Largest Bust Sculpture” in the world. Designed by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, founder of the Isha Foundation, it was built by the foundation and weighs around 500 tonnes (490 long tons; 550 short tons). Sadhguru said that the statue is for inspiring and promoting yoga, and is named Adiyogi, which means "the first yogi", because Shiva is known as the originator of yoga.
Adiyogi was inaugurated on 24 February 2017 by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri – a Hindu festival celebrated annually as marriage of Lord Shiva with Maa Parvati. The Indian Ministry of Tourism has included the statue as a consecration destination in its official Incredible India campaign. The Adiyogi Statue has been recognized as the "Largest Bust Sculpture" by Guinness World Records.Chang dance
Chang dance (Hindi: चंग नृत्य) is a folk dance from Rajasthan, India. It is also referred to Dhamal, dhuff dance,, and as Holi dance as it is performed during the Hindu festival of the same name (Holi) to celebrate the defeat of evil. It is a group dance performed by men, carousing and singing riotously to the rhythmic beat of the chang instrument.It originates from the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. This dance period is starts from the Maha Shivaratri festival and ends on Dhulandi, which is the day after the Holi festival. Folk songs used in this folk dance are called Dhamaal. All men sings, dance and dance. Meanwhile, some represents also plays which is called Sang.Daksheswara Mahadev Temple
Daksheswara Mahadev (Hindi: दक्षेश्वर महादेव मन्दिर) or Daksha Mahadev temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in the town of Kankhal, about 4 km from Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India. It is named after King Daksha Prajapati, the father of Sati. Daksha is one of the fourteen Prajapatis, creator deities, who preside over procreation and are the protector of life in Hindu mythology.
The present temple was built by Queen Dhankaur in 1810 and rebuilt in 1962. It is a place of pilgrimage for Shaivaite devotees on Maha Shivaratri.Dubba Rajeswara Temple
Sri Dubba Rajeshwara Swamy Devasthanam is a Hindu temple in the village of Pembatla, Sarangapur mandal, Karimnagar District, Telangana, India.This temple of Lord Siva in the form of Dubba Rajeshwara Swamy is very famous in this part of the region. This is one of the oldest temples in Karimnagar District. Maha Shivaratri is the biggest festival at this temple. And some festivals like:
Sri Krishna janmastami
Sri Rama Navami
Sri Anjaneya swamy jayanthi.
and many more.
Pembatla Dubba Rajeshwara temple is situated 8 km from Jagtial and 57 km from Karimnagar, Telangana. TSRTC provides special buses on the occasion of the Mahasivarathri jathara from Jagtial to the temple.Festivals of Odisha
This article lists the traditional festivals and other cultural events in the Odisha region of India.Kuruvathi Basaveshwara temple
Shri Kuruvathi Basaveshwara temple at Kuruvathi (Kannada: ಕುರುವತ್ತಿ)
is one of the ancient and historic temples at the extreme south-western corner of Hoovina Hadagali taluk, Bellary District, Karnataka, India. This temple is on the bank of Tungabhadra river, 10 km from Halavagalu and 2 km from Mylara and 36 km from Ranebennur and 326 km from Bangalore.Lingasugur
Lingasugur is a municipal town in Raichur district in the Indian state of Karnataka. There are many Temples, hills and forts (Quila). The festivals of Muharram and Maha Shivaratri are important here. Mudgal in Lingasugur taluk has a very ancient fort. It has often been mentioned in the autobiography of Philip Meadows Taylor. Lingasugur, then known as Chavani was the site of a major British cantonment in the region.Mahabhairav Temple
The ancient Mahabhairav Temple is located at a hillock on the northern part of Tezpur town, Assam. This temple is believed to have been established by king Bana in the pre-historical times. This Shiva temple was originally built of stone but the present one was renovated and built with concrete. During the Ahom rule, the kings especially of the Tungkhungiya dynasty donated large area of Devotee land to the Temple and appointed pujaris ,Paiks to look after the temple. The responsibility of management was in the hands of a Borthakur. The temple is now managed by the Government of Assam through a managing committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner, Sonitpur. Maha Shivaratri the annual festival of Shaivite branch of Hinduism is celebrated in the temple complex with devotees coming from far and wide. Laddu laced with Bhang, an edible preparation of cannabis and also mixed with milk and spices, are offered as prasad to Lord Shiva as per the rituals. Various puja are also conducted at this temple, pigeons are also freed that symbolizes that spirit of ancestors are being liberated.Phagun (Nepali calendar)
Phāgun (Nepali:फागुन) is the eleventh month in the Bikram Samwat, the official Nepali calendar. This month coincides with February 13 to March 13 of the Western calendar and is 29 days long.
Important Events during this month:
February 16: Phāgun 4, Maha Shivaratri
March 3 and 4: Phāgun 19 and 20, Phāgu PurnimaPhalguna
Phalguna (Sanskrit: फाल्गुन Phālguna) is a month of the Hindu calendar. In India's national civil calendar, Phalguna is twelfth month of the year, and corresponds with February/March in the Gregorian calendar.In Luni-Solar calendars, Phalgun may begin on either the new moon or the full moon around the same time of year, and is the twelfth month of the year. However, in Gujarat, Kartika is the first month of the year, and so Phalguna follows as the fifth month for Gujaratis. The holidays of Holi (15 Phalguna) and Maha Shivaratri (14 Phalguna) are observed in this month.
In solar religious calendars, Phalguna begins with the Sun's entry into Pisces, and is the twelfth month of the solar year.
In the Vaishnava calendar, Govinda governs this month. Gaura-purnima celebrating the birth of the saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534) also falls in this month.
Hindu saint Raghavendra Swami was born on Phalgun Sukla Saptami in 1595 AD who advocated Madhvacharya's Dvaita philosophy.Shiv Chalisa
Shiv Chalisa (Hindi: शिव चालीसा, literally Forty chaupais
on Shiva) is a devotional stotra dedicated to Hindu deity, Lord Shiva. Adapted from the Shiva Purana, it consists of 40 (Chalis) chaupais (verses) and recited daily or on special festivals like Maha Shivaratri by Shivaites, and worshippers of Shiva.Silla (month)
Sillā (Nepal Bhasa: सिल्ला) is the fourth month in the Nepal Era calendar, the national lunar calendar of Nepal. The month corresponds to Magha (माघ) in the Hindu lunar calendar and February in the Gregorian calendar.
Sillā begins with the new moon and the full moon falls on the 15th of the lunar month. The month is divided into the bright and dark fortnights which are known as Sillā Thwa (सिल्ला थ्व) and Sillā Gā (सिल्ला गा) respectively.
The most important festivals during the month are Shree Panchami which falls on the fifth day of the bright fortnight and Maha Shivaratri (Nepal Bhasa: सिला चह्रे Silā Charhe) on the 14th day of the dark fortnight. Shree Panchami is the first day of spring while Shivaratri honors the Hindu deity Shiva. On the full moon day, the month-long Swasthani sacred story reciting festival ends.Sitakunda massacre
Sitakunda massacre (Bengali: সীতাকুন্ড হত্যাকান্ড) refers to the massacre of Hindu pilgrims on 15 February 1950. The Hindu pilgrims from all over East Bengal, Tripura and Assam were on their way to Sitakunda on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri at the Chandranath temple. The pilgrims were attacked by the Ansars and armed Muslim mobs and massacred at the Sitakunda railway station.Tadkeshwar Mahadev Temple
Tadkeshwar Mahadev temple is a Hindu temple. It is located near Abrama town in Valsad district of the Indian state of Gujarat. The temple is on the bank of the Wanki river.The temple is more than 800 years old, one of the oldest in Valsad District. It was designed to allow the sun to shine on the Shivlinga inside and has no ceiling. Therefore, it is known as "Tadkeshwar". The length of the Shivlinga is approximately 6 to 8 ft.On the occasions of the Maha Shivaratri festival and Shravan Month, a fair take place nearby.Thandai
Thandai, or shardai, is an Indian cold drink prepared with a mixture of almonds, fennel seeds, watermelon kernels, rose petals, pepper, vetiver seeds, cardamom, saffron, milk and sugar. It is native to India and is often associated with the Maha Shivaratri and Holi or Holla mahalla festival. It is most commonly consumed in northwestern India. There are variants of thandai and the most common are badam (almond) thandai and bhaang (cannabis) thandai.Ubbalamadugu Falls
Ubbalamudugu Falls (also called Tada Falls) is a waterfall located near Oneness Temple and Sricity in the Chittoor district of India. It's a crystal clear waterfalls falling from a height of 100-odd meters making it a glorious sight. Coming under the Buchinaidu kandriga and Varadaiahpalem mandals the falls are located 80 kilometres (50 mi) from Chennai and 35 kilometres (22 mi) from Srikalahasti.
The falls are located in a forest called the Siddulaiah Kona. The relation to Lord Shiva ensures that the festival of Maha Shivaratri is a common time for people to visit.Vadakkunnathan Temple
Vadakkunnathan Temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva at city of Thrissur, of Kerala state in India. This temple is a classic example of the architectural style of Kerala and has monumental towers on all four sides and also a kuttambalam. Mural paintings depicting various episodes from Mahabharata can be seen inside the temple. The shrines and the Kuttambalam display vignettes carved in wood. The temple, along with the mural paintings, has been declared as a National Monument by India under the AMASR Act. According to popular local lore, this is the first temple built by Parasurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu. Thekkinkadu maidan, encircling the Vadakkunnathan Temple, is the main venue of the Thrissur Pooram.In the year 2012 the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has recommended 14 sites, including Vadakkumnathan Temple and palaces, from Kerala to include in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.Velal
Velal is a village in Jaipur mandal, Mancherial district, Telangana state, India. It is the location of the Sri Gattu Mallanna Swamy Temple that is notable for the Maha Shivaratri festival.Yediyur Siddhalingeshwara Swamy Temple
Yediyuru Siddhalingeshwara Temple is a very famous pilgrimage centre situated in Yedeyuru Village, Kunigal Town of Karnataka State in India.
Though called as a temple, it contains Nirvikalpa Shivayoga Samadhi of Tontada Siddalinga, a Great revered Lingayata Saint who flourished during the end of 15th century.
The temple holds annual festivals during Maha Shivaratri and Ugadi.
On the 7th Day of the commencement of the Hindu calendar (Ugadi)Chaitra bahula saptami, jathre is performed to mark the attaining of the Samadhi of Sri Siddhalingeshwara. Every year on Maha Shivarathri Sahasra Rudrabhisheka is performed. The Sahasra Kamala Pooja, Laksha Bilvarchane pooje is performed in the month of Shravana and Kumbhabhisheka is performed on each new moon day. During the annual festival of Deepavali (festival of lights) Laksha Deepotsava is performed by illuminating the temple with oil lamps as per Hindu tradition. The temple has a large wooden Chariot (Ratha). The car festival is held on the 7th lunar day of the bright fortnight of Chaitra Masa (March–April).
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