The very mention of Mahashivratri conjures up glorious images of the Kashi Corridors enveloped with sparkling lights lighting up the entire city. Amidst the buzzing chants, and the pulse throbbing Vedic mantras that resonate from the heart, the weary traveler that walks through the paths is inspired to a new high. The religious community is all agog with the festivity that breathes festive spirit into the Shivaratri season, whose memories last a lifetime. The significant day of Mahashivaratri is going to be celebrated on March 7th of this year. Known as the day of divine communion between Lord Shiva and Parvati, Mahashivratri is precisely that day of the year, when the devout fast throughout the entire day and pray the entire night. Shiva is the most worshipped god of the divine trinity who is known to be easily appeased with devotion and faith.
Which temples in India host Shivratri?
Here is a list of the 12 best temples that host the holy Shivratri every year.
Mandi, a small village in the Himachal, combines the rusticity of the festival with a popular local fair. Bhootnath Temple of Mandi still retains that mystique appeal that it held centuries back in time., This week-long fair carries the culture, the tradition through its curios that particularly pique the fancy of international travelers. The piquant charm of the artifacts on sale heightens the religious flavor of Mahashivratri.
Haridwar and Rishikesh:
Uttarakhand is the celebrated home of lakhs of devotees and sadhus. While Har ki pauri ghat are meant for cremating the dead, Hrishikesh is the home to Neelkanth Mahadev temple, where yoga enthusiasts are seen immersed in yogic practices.
Tilbhandeshwar Temple in Varanasi is replete with rituals and cultural events. This temple is where the residents, intoxicated with bhaang, dance in ecstasy, in tune with their inner spirits.
Assam’s capital Guwahati is where Shivratri is celebrated on a massive scale in the Umananda Temple. Located in the serene peacock island, engulfed by the gushing streams of the Brahmaputra River, the beauty is to behold to savor. It is a god-sent occasion for people of the northeast who travel to Guwahati only to be a part of it.
Sibsagar is a buzzing hub that houses a complex of temples, one of which is the temple of Shivadol. The Ahom kingdom introduced Mahashivratri to its people, mainly with intention of bringing people together to foster unity. Sivadagar represents the religious side and ritualistic fervor of these people.
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Khajuraho is home to the most famous Matangeshwar Temple. Located in Madhya Pradesh, this temple witnesses an annual rise in the number of people that queue up for a calming dip in the waters of the Sagar tank. The ten-day fair is a well-organized and well-planned event that people from different corners of India attend. Lord Shiva in Khajuraho is known to confer prosperity to those who pray to him in earnest.
Another famous spot is the Mahakaleshwar Temple of Ujjain, which contains one of the 12 jyotirlingas. Festivities are carried out on the calm and meditative banks of river Kshipra near the Mahakal forest.
Linga found in Odisha’s Lokanatha Temple is found submerged in water the whole year and kept open for view only about three days before the event. Devotees are seen lining up in long queues to take a glimpse at the lord.
Sri Sailam is a famous temple that every south Indian is aware of, in Andhra Pradesh. According to locals, this is where the shiva danced the tandava nritya and married Parvathi Mata.
Srikalahasteeswara temple in Srikalahasti is the most famous temple of South India located in Andhra Pradesh. The Shivaratri celebrations go on for 13 days wherein the idols of Parvati and Shiva are taken in procession in well-decorated chariots.
Kashmiris are known to celebrate this Festival in their unique way. Two days before the event and two days after the event or Herath, as they call it, are earmarked for a fulsome celebration.
Nashik is one of the four favorite hotspots for the Kumbh Mela, wherein Naga sadhus gather to offer their worship to Lord Shiva. Triambakeshwar Temple houses one of the famous jyotirlingas, whereas the Kalpeshwar Temple is known for its Nandi idol.
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