Mahashivratri is a festival which honours Lord Shiva. The devotees start preparing a few days before the festival. Most people keep fasting throughout the day and visit the shrine of Shiva and Parvati. According to the Hindu calendar, Mahashivratri generally falls on the month of ‘Phalguna’ or ‘Maagh’ (February or March). It is a yearly festival and this year the festival falls on 21st February 2020. The festival opens the travel scopes for those you want to a new place and likes to take part in the unique celebration that it has to offer. So, if you’re an avid traveller and a Shiva devotee as well, here are the popular places you can visit this year.
1. Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
In Khajuraho, the Mahashivratri is celebrated with great splendour and dedication. On the occasion, a large number of people take a holy dip at Sagar Lake and visit Matangeshwar Temple to worship Lord Shiva. The highlights of the celebrations are the 10 day fair where various participants’ like traders, handcrafters from other states participate. People visit this fair so that they can offer prayers and seek blessings from Lord Shiva.
2. Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
Ujjain is considered as one of India’s holiest towns in India and is also one of the four locations for Kumbh Mela. The famous Shiva temple here is called Omkareshwa. It is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. Since the temple is highly known for its sacredness, the celebration of Mahashivratri at this site is conducted with zeal and brilliance.
3. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Varanasi, known as the spiritual capital of India has some of the famous Shiva temples, therefore the Mahashivratri is celebrated in a grand manner especially celebrations at Tilbhandeshwar temple. On this day people take a holy dip at river Ganga and take part in Lord Shiva’s and a parade is organised throughout the town Godesses Parvati’s wedding procession. A parade is organised throughout the town and people take part in Lord Shiva’s and Goddesses Paravati’s wedding procession. They celebrate the wedding by playing loud music and consume Bhang (a form of marijuana) as Lord Shiva’s prasad. Once the procession is over devotees return to the temple and offer their prayers. You can book a certified tour guide from Odigos for the best experience.
4. Puri, Odisha
In Puri, the sacred place to celebrate the occasion of Mahashivratri is Lokanatha Temple. It is that Lord Ram has put the Shiva linga to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. The linga is submerged in the water throughout the year. On an auspicious day, the water is drained and devotees are allowed to see a glimpse of the linga. So if you are in Pune around this time, then make sure that you don’t miss the grand celebrations. The Lingaraj and Hakateshwar temples are also the principal centres of Mahashivratri celebrations in Odisha.
5. Rishikesh and Haridwar, Uttarakhand
Rishikesh and Haridwar are other good places to visit Mahashivratri as both these cities are already popular for its ghats and temples. During this occasion, people visit Neelkanth Mahadev temple which is dedicated to Nilkanth, an aspect of Shiva. According to mythology, it was the same place where Lord Shiva consumes the poison and made his throat blue in colour. During Mahashivratri, a lot of people visit the temple and make an offering of Bael leaves, milk, flowers, etc. The temple observes two fairs that are held annually; one on Maha Shivratri which falls in the month of Feb-Mar and second on Shivratri of Shraavana (Hindu calendar month) occasions.
6. Sri Sailam, Andhra Pradesh
Srisailam is a popular hill town located on the banks of the Krishna River, in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh. The town is also popularly known for Siva Mallikarjuna temple which houses one of the Shiva’s 12 jyotirlingas. History also suggests that the famous tandava was done here by Lord Shiva. To mark this occasion, a grand parade is carried for 13 days. The whole temple premises with mantras and bhajans and devotees chanting Shiva’s name.
7. Guwahati, Assam
Like every other state, Assam celebrates the Mahashivratri with the Great Spirit. The main festivity takes place at Umananda temple which is situated on Peacock Island in the Brahmaputra River. Thousands of devotees gather at the temple to pay a visit to Lord Shiva and offer diverse items as a token of gratitude. Lamps and sticks of incense are also burned along with chants.
8. Mandi, Himachal Pradesh
Mandi in Himachal Pradesh is one of the best places for Mahashivratri celebrations. Baba Bhootnath temple hosts one of the biggest Shivratri festivals which is known as the International Mandi Shivratri Fair. It was started by Mandi’s royal family about some 500 years ago and it’s a week-long fair that attracts a lot of visitors all over the country. This year the fair will take in between February 21st – 28th.
9. Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
Brihadeeswara Temple locally known as Peruvudaiyar kovil or Tanjore Big temple is a prominent UNESCO world heritage site in Thanjavur district. Every year the temple celebrates Mahashivratri in a very grand manner, with the grand Shiva lingam in the sanctum. The temple also hosts the annual dance festivals were big Indian classical dance artists and regional teams showcase their repertoire at this 10-day Brahan Natyanjali festival.
10. Veraval, Gujarat
Somnath temple is counted among the important pilgrimage as well as a tourist spot in Gujarat. The temple is known as the Shrine Eternal. In history, the temple has been to many destructions and reconstructions. Somnath means Lord of Soma, an appellation of Shiva. Here Mahashivratri celebrations are so grand that a visit is a must during that time of the year.
Are you planning a spiritual holiday? Then do checkout the Odigos app. They have tour guides and curated packages for almost all the major cities in India. So download the app today and the best package or tour guide it has to offer.