Maha Shivaratri is one of the 12 Shivaratris that occur in a year. Every month features a Shivaratri and Shiva devotees observe vrat, meditate, chant Shiva mantras and keep a night-long vigil to receive Shiva’s blessings.
During Maha Shivaratri, due to planetary impact on the earth’s northern hemisphere, there is a surge of energy in the human body, which makes it possible for us to connect with the divine and become more spiritual.
Hence, for Shiva devotees, this is a very significant day to experience divinity and receive the blessings of Shiva. Maha Shivaratri is celebrated at many places in India. Here are ten places that you should make it a point to visit during Maha Shivaratri.
#1.Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Varanasi is called the spiritual capital of India. One of the most important Lord Shiva temples in India is located here, and Maha Shivaratri is celebrated grandly at the temple.
Hindus from all over India come and perform rituals; many observe fast. Many temples in Varanasi also hold a wedding baaraat with people playing the roles of Gods and Goddesses. The program begins early in the morning after the committee chooses the right character for the parade.
The parade ends at the Tilbhandeshwar temple in southern Varanasi. The procession lasts 5 hours, and it is accompanied by loud music. People consume Bhaang (a form of marijuana) and dance in abandon.
Haridwar is known as the land of Yogis. It is renowned for its temples and ghats. Pilgrims have a holy dip in the Har ki Pauri here to wash away their sins.
Also read Why We Celebrate Mahashivratri?
Rishikesh lies along the confluence of Ganga and Chandrabhaga, Located on the foothills of the Himalayas, it has many ancient temples and yoga ashrams. Most devotees flock to the Neelkanth Mahadev temple for Maha Shivaratri.
#4.Mandi, Himachal Pradesh
Bhoothnath Temple at Mandi in Himachal Pradesh hosts the biggest Shivaratri celebrations in the country. It is a royal tradition that began 500 years ago. A week-long International Mandi Shivaratri Fair is also held here annually. It draws thousands of devotees and tourists from all over the world.
#5.Srikalahasti, Andhra Pradesh
Maha Shivaratri is observed with great enthusiasm in Andhra Pradesh. Devotees flock to the important Shiva temples here, like Sri Kalahasteshwara Temple at Srikalahasti and the Bharamarambha Malikarjunaswamy Temple at Srisailam. They observe fast and chant Shiva mantras during the auspicious festival.
Srisailam is a famous hill town set located in a natural setting on the banks of the Krishna river, in Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh.
It has many ancient temples and a Jyotirlinga. Srisailam temple conducts the Kalyanotsavam (wedding ceremony) of Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy and Goddess Bhramaramba Devi on Maha Shivaratri.
Kalyanotsavam is organized at midnight on a grand note as per the tradition, Lakhs of devotees visit the Srisailam shrine to do Shivaratri Jagarana (vigil).
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In Assam, grand Shivaratri celebrations take place at the Umananda Temple, located on the Peacock Island in the Brahmaputra river in Guwahati, the state capital.
Shiva devotees from all over India visit the temple on Shivaratri. Sivasagar, which used to be the capital of the Ahom kings, is another major center for Maha Shivaratri celebrations in Assam.
Going back to the Ahom dynasty, this historic town is rich in culture and has many historical tourist attractions that include many ancient temples.
Many people come to celebrate Maha Shivaratri and the iconic International Shiva festival, a cultural extravaganza, held at Sivadol, an 18th-century Ahom-era shrine.
Cultural performances by many communities in the north-eastern state and its neighbors are part of this festival.
Maha Shivaratri is celebrated with great fervor in Madhya Pradesh. Devotees take a holy dip in Sagar tank on Maha Shivaratri in Khajuraho. Bundelkhand Region, which has many Shaivites, hosts the biggest Shivaratri celebrations in MP.
Shiva devotees visit the Matangeshwar Temple and worship all through the night. There is also a 10-day-long fair that draws traders, gypsies, and peddlers from other parts of the state featuring traditional handicrafts, a circus show, magic shows, folk theatre, etc.
The Maha Shivaratri festival at the Khajuraho temple is quite elaborate. The Lingam at the Kandariya Mahadeo temple is decorated like a bridegroom.
There is an all-night Pooja followed by a grand festival. The 7-day Khajuraho dance festival is held at this time at the Chitragupta and Viswanatha temples.
Ujjain, one of the holiest cities in the country, is situated on the eastern bank of the Shipra River in the Malwa region. It is one of the four Kumbh Mela sites.
Thousands visit the Mahakaleshwar temple during Maha Shivaratri. The wedding anniversary of Shiva and Parvati is celebrated at the temple on this day.