Mahashivratri, the big religious Hindu festival is being celebrated today on March 4 with celebrations extended till March 5th across the country to worship Lord Shiva. The day is believed as a remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in life and the world Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the day holds much significance among devotees. Shiva temples in the country today receive lakhs of devotees with prayers being held throughout the night. Jyotirlinga/Jyotirlingam a highly devotional object that holds much spiritual importance in representing Lord Shiva is worshipped on this day.
There are 12 Jyotirlinga temples in India, located at the length and breadth of the country. Ardent followers of Lord Shiva, try to visit all these temples in their lifetime. Mahashivratri is observed on the 14th night of the new moon in the month of Phalguna. Every year, the festival is celebrated in late winter before the arrival of the summer season.
Maha Shivaratri literally translates to ‘the Great Night of Shiva’ and is observed by fasting, chanting of the sacred mantra ‘Om Namah Shivaya’.
People also worship deities of Lord Shiva at home and prepare various delicacies as offerings. The largest celebration is held in Ujjain where Lord Shiva is believed to have lived. There are various legends and mythologies attached to the Shiv Ratri celebrations. According to one of the beliefs, Shiva performed the heavenly dance of creation, preservation, and destruction on Maha Shivratri. It is also said that Shiva saved the world from destruction by drinking poison which could have been otherwise destructive
Shivaratri Puja Muhurat:
Maha Shivratri is celebrated as a solemn event and observed during the night. The Nishita Kaal Puja time is from 12:14 am to 1:03 am lasting for 49 minutes. Maha Shivaratri Parana will be from 6:49 am to 3:33 pm.
Below are Puja timings:
Ratri First Prahar Puja Time – 6:28 pm to 9:33 pm
Ratri Second Prahar Puja Time – 9:33 pm to 12:38 am
Ratri Third Prahar Puja Time – 12:38 am to 3:44 am
Ratri Fourth Prahar Puja Time – 3:44 am to 6:49 am.
Shivaratri Puja Vidhi:
For Maha Shiv Ratri Puja, a shivling is decorated with flowers and bilva leaves. An earthen lamp is lightened and incense sticks are lightened. Devotees go to Shiva temples after taking a bath to offer prayers. The Shiva Linga is bathed with various items including milk, sandalwood paste, yogurt, honey, ghee, and rose water. While some devotees fast for the entire day without consuming food or water, some have one meal or just fruits before the puja in the midnight.
Both married and unmarried women pray to Lord Shiva for marital bliss on this day. They observe fast and pray for prosperity. Unmarried women pray to Lord Shiva for a suitable and ideal husband.