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Updated March 8th, 2024 at 08:19 IST

How Different Indian States Celebrate Maha Shivratri?

On Maha Shivratri, devotees observe fast and perform puja by offering water, milk, and Dhatura at the Shiva temples.

Maha Shivratri
Maha Shivratri | Image:X
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Maha Shivratri is considered one of the most auspicious festivals for Hindus. On this day, devotees all across the country worship Lord Shiva. Different cultures and regions from North to South, celebrate the festival in various ways. On this day, devotees observe fast and perform puja by offering water, milk, and Dhatura at Shiva temples. People observing fast are only allowed to consume foods that are Sattvic, like buckwheat, Ragi, Sabu dana and fruits. 

How different states celebrate Maha Shivratri?

West Bengal: Devotees follow the custom of making the four idols of the Lord with sand bought from the devout Ganga River. The Shivlings are then worshipped four times. On the first occasion, one of the Shivlings is bathed with milk. It is then immersed with curd. Then the third lingam is bathed with ghee and finally the fourth is with honey.

Jammu & Kashmir: Here Maha Shivratri celebrations go on for 21 days or three weeks. People start the celebration in a kind way. Two pots connoting Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva are loaded up with water and pecans. On the third day, the pecans are taken out from the pot and distributed among members of the family as “Prasada”. On the last day of Maha Shivratri, there is a tradition of exchanging gifts among family members.

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Karnataka: In this Southern state, Sri Shidlingappa's Mela takes place to mark the event. Lord Siva is taken to the river in a palanquin joined by drummers from a few neighbouring states and is then worshipped. Following a convention, married women wear a linga made of gold or silver on their bodies.

There are several rules that people follow for their fasting ritual. 

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Dos

  • For the fast, it is essential that you wake up early in the morning during Brahma muhurat.
  • Fast starts with a bath while chanting the shiva hymn ‘Om Namah Shivay’ and wearing clean clothes.
  • Chanting the name of Lord Shiva or just taking his name is considered auspicious and enough to please the ‘God of the common man.’
  • The main ritual of Maha Shivratri is performed at midnight or early next morning.
  • Devotees should break their fasts the next morning after the rituals and bathe.
  • Pooja offerings for Shiva are easily accessible and affordable for a layman and these include milk, holy water, prasad made of sweets, belpatra, and dhatura leaves.

Don’ts

  • Food items made of wheat, rice, salt, pulses and other cereals must be avoided during the fast and to end the fast.
  • Onions, garlic, meat and eggs and other tamasic foods are also to be avoided.
  • Ganga Jal should not be mixed with coconut water or any other item apart from pure Jal and milk.
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Published March 5th, 2024 at 13:30 IST

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