Mahashivratri is one of the most significant festivals celebrated in our country. Maha Shivratri, literally means ‘the great night of Lord Shiva’. And a great night of Lord Shiva is obviously a great night for his followers. The great night is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm in every part of the country. But, few celebrations will always stand out. Let us explore the places where you can experience an extraordinary Maha Shivratri celebration.
Khajurao, Madhya Pradesh – To Experience The Great Fair Of Maha Shivratri
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Khajurao celebrates Mahashivratri with great splendor and devotion. As a tradition, people in Madhya Pradesh take a holy dip in Sagar tank on the occasion of Mahashivratri. But, the best moment of the Shivratri celebrations at the Matangeshwar Temple is the 10-day-long fair that a large number of people from all age-groups visit to witness the traditional events, magic shows, folk theatre, diverse handicrafts, rural circus, and exciting swings. The atmosphere is full of excitement and devotion.
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh – The Spiritual Capital Of India
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If the list has something to do with spirituality, how can one leave the spiritual capital of India, Varanasi out of it? Varanasi has one of the most important Shiva temples in the country and thus, the day is celebrated here with extraordinary fervor and enthusiasm. Lakhs of Hindus from all over India and world visit Varanasi to seek Lord Shiva’s blessings. The highpoint of Mahashivratri at Varanasi is the wedding procession of Shiva. Several temples organize a wedding baaraat wherein people dress up as different Gods and Goddesses. The magnificent parade generally starts and ends at the Tilbhandeshwar temple. Loud music, crazy dancing, bhang consumption, colorful atmosphere are just few evident characteristics of the parade!
Mandi – A Week-Long International Mandi Shivratri Fair
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Mandi is also known as Kashi of Himachal and Varanasi of Himalayas. There are about 300 temples here dedicated to Lord Shiva and Kali. In fact, the Temple of Bhootnath is said to host the biggest Shivaratri Celebration in the country. A week-long International Mandi Shivratri Fair is held here every year and it draws a lot of tourists from India and all over the world. Lakes like Rewalsar Lake and Prashar Lake, and temples like Mamleshwar Temple, Mahunag Temple, Kamaksha Devi Temple, etc are worth visiting. You can find several buses to take you all the way to Mandi as it is well connected with many prominent cities.
Puri, Orissa – A Centre Of Shiva Worship
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We have all heard of the myth that Puri used to be the centre of Lord Shiva’s worship. As per the tradition, the shivling at the Loknath temple is kept submerged in a vat of water throughout the year. It is only visible for ‘darshan’ on Pankodhar Ekadasi, before Shivaratri, when the water is removed from the vat. Which is why thousands of devotees visit the temple around Shivratri for the auspicious darshan! The celebration of Maha Shivratri at the Loknath temple is widely popular.
Haridwar And Rishikesh – The Hub For Spiritual Awakening
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Haridwar and Rishikesh are the quintessential places for the Hindu devotees as Haridwar is popular for its auspicious ghats and Rishikesh for its renowned temples. Lakhs of devotes visit the two places located in Uttarakhand during Mahashivratri.
Neelkanth Mahadev temple at Rishikesh is particularly popular for its Maha Shivratri celebrations. At Rishikesh, you can also enjoy several adventure sports. At Haridwar, Prajapati Daksha Mahadev Temple witnesses huge celebrations as swarm of devotees visit and seek Lord Shiva’s blessings.
If you are up for some devotional adventure, the Neel Kanth Mahadev Temple of Rishikesh perched atop the forested mountains is the best place to experience the festive euphoria of Mahashivratri.
Go on then, let your travel plan go ‘Har Har Mahadev!’ What are you waiting for?