Lord Shiva is considered the ultimate of all Hindu Gods, who has unlimited powers, and he is also called ‘The Destroyer’ as per Hindu mythology. The lord is worshipped by Hindus throughout the world, and on the day of Maha Shivratri, prayers are held across the length and breadth of the country. The most prominent of all Shiva temples in India are at Varanasi, Kedarnath and Ujjain that celebrates in a big way. Day long prayers and chants of religious mantras are performed by priests of temples, and the offering of milk, fruit, leaves and honey is made to the God, during the evening and night. Long queues can be seen in all major Shiva temples in the villages and in cities, as it is mostly the women folk who come out in numbers to offer their prayers to the God almighty. It is night long celebrations, as the chants of hymns are heard and the ringing of temple bells fills the air across India and Nepal. The Pashupatinath temple in Nepal which is dedicated to Lord Shiva, organizes huge celebrations, and Hindus from all over the world visit here, during the day of Maha Shivratri. Some legends say, that this is the day when Lord Shiva drank poison to save the world, whereas some say that Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati during this auspicious day.
Festive Fashion Wear
All Hindu women and girls on this auspicious day, wear sarees and salwar kameez respectively, and kick-start early morning preparations at home, collecting and assembling ritualistic offerings, that are to be taken to the temple, at night. The day starts with an early morning bath and fasting till the evening. Once the milk is poured at the temple, the fasting ends, and the person eats something that was offered to the Lord. Indian women folk are dressed in colorful attires, and the temples are filled with devotees that bring in with them, their offerings to the lord. The young girls in salwar kameez and the elderly women in silk and printed sarees, make the ambiance even more colorful. It is a show of pure devotion to Lord Shiva, who is the almighty God, and it is he who takes people out from the dark world of ignorance and poverty. Worshiping Shiva, brings you out from the world of extreme sorrow and misery, by taking you to a religiously higher ground, and thus ensuring a refined mental state. The feeling is divine and religious as every individual associated with this festival feels the intense religious passion and fervor that is associated with it. This is what India is all about.