Maha Shivratri is one of the most important among the all sacred festival nights of India. Night corresponding to the fourteenth day of every lunar month is known as Shivratri. Among all these 12 Shivratri, Magh month Shivratri is known as Maha Shivratri and having most spiritual significance. This is the darkest night of the year and celebrates to worship Lord Shiva, the Adi Guru and initiator of yogic tradition.

Due to northern hemisphere planetary positions on this night, it generates great natural upsurge of energy in the human. Stay awake in vertical position throughout the night, chanting Mantras, Meditation is very beneficial for devotee’s spiritual, physical wellness, experience immense emptiness inside. Thus devotee can move closer to the Divine on Maha Shivratri.

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् | उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात्॥

Maha Shivratri is very significant for people who are on the spiritual way or follow yogic tradition. Every human want peace and happiness in life, for this Indian culture has arranged 365 festivals in a year. In other words just celebrate every day of the year with great joy. These 365 festivals were recognized as different reasons and different purposes of life.

Every religion and every culture believes in omnipresent, all-pervading nature of the divine. If we look at it deeply then only darkness and emptiness is everywhere.

Maha Shivaratri is festival to celebrate for peace inside and bliss. It is a ideal marriage between the material and the spiritual aspects. Maha Shivaratri is the best time for one to take protection in Lord Shiva which brings peace and solace to all layers of consciousness.

Stories of Maha Shivratri

There are many interesting stories and information behind the Maha Shivaratri in our various holy Text like Scand Puran, Linga Puran, Padma Puran etc. The most popular one is, it marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Ma Devi Parvati - Shakti. So this is the night to meet of Shiv and Shakti.

As per the holy text Linga Purana, on Maha Shivaratri that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of Linga. So this is considered as extremely auspicious for devotees.

Some other faith behind the Maha Shivaratri is, Lord Shiva performed the “Tandava”, the divine dance of the original cycle of creation, preservation and destruction.

Another faith is, Lord Shiva consumed the deadly poison came out during Samudra manthan and held it in his throat. So it turned blue, after this Lord Shiva was named as Neel Kanth.

Another popular legend is related to Ma Devi Ganga and Shivratri. Ganga’s fall from heaven to earth, Lord Shiva held out flow on thick hair to catch Ganga and make the journey of Ganga softer to earth. So Lord Shiva is given bath from Ganga Jal on Maha shivratri.

Another story of a hunter who climbed a Bel tree to get away from hungry lion. Scared hunter waited on tree and started to break leaves to stay awake whole night. The leaves fell down on the Shivalinga, which was on the foot of tree. Lord Shiva pleased with the offering as Bilva leaves and saved hunter from lion. So devotees of Lord Shiva stay awake all night and offer Bilva leaves the most holy leaves which Lord Shiva likes most.

Ritual of Maha Shivratri

There are lots of rituals to be followed on Maha Shivaratri. Devotees keeps fast during the day and worship the Lord Shiva throughout the night. As per Hindu Mythology, observing fast on the day of Maha Shivratri is considered to be the most powerful among all other fasts.

Key time of night for Lord Shiva Worship

During Nishita Kala Lord Shiva manifested as Shivlingam on earth, so this time is most important time of the night for Puja of Lord Shiva. First step is bathing of Shivalinga with milk, honey, sugar, butter, Ganga Jal etc. Then sandalwood paste and rice are applied on Shivalinga and offered the fresh fruits, bilva leaves and flowers. Devotees keeps fast during the day and worship the Lord Shiva throughout the night.

The brightest night for Soul

As per holy scriptures, Maha Shivaratri is considered as day when Adiyogi awakened his consciousness at the material level of existence. No objective experience takes place and the mind is transcended at this stage of consciousness. The meditator go beyond time and space. It is considered as the brightest night for Soul, when the yogi attains the state of Shoonya, the stage following Samadhi.

Celebration of Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri is celebrated across the globe with great joy, passion and spirituality as this the grand night of the Adi Guru. Fascinating tradition associated with Maha Shivratri is consuming bhang as Prasad which is also known as “Thandai”.

Mandi Maha Shivratri Fair in Himachal Pradesh

Mandi is located on the banks of Beas River and popularly known as the "Cathedral of Temples" and “Varanasi of Hill”. Mandi is one of the oldest towns of Himachal Pradesh, with around 81 temples of different Gods and Goddesses on its periphery. The Mandi Shivratri fair is most famous venue for Maha Shivaratri celebrations across the nation. It transforms the town as devotees flow in. Seven days of fair celebration start from the Maha Shivaratri and lots and lots of Devotees and tourist visit Mandi across the world.

Maha Shivaratri celebration in Kashmir

Maha Shivaratri is celebrated by the Hindus of Kashmir and knows as "Herath" in Kashmiri, derived from the Sanskrit word "Hararatri" the "Night of Hara" name of Lord Shiva. Maha Shivaratri is the most famous festival in Kashmiri Shaivism and celebrated on thirteenth of the dark half of the month of Phalguna not on the fourteenth as in the rest of the country.

Maha Shivaratri celebration in Nepal

In Nepal, Maha Shivaratri is a National Holiday and celebrated widely in temples across the country. The most flow of devotees towards the Pashupatinath temple on this day. Devotees visit the famous Shiva Shakti Peetham nearby and perform rituals. Various classical music and dance performance are arranged throughout the night

नमस्ते नमस्ते विभो विश्वमूर्ते | नमस्ते नमस्ते चिदानन्दमूर्ते || नमस्ते नमस्ते तपोयोगगम्य | नमस्ते नमस्ते श्रुतिज्ञानगम्य ||

Bhavnath Fair on Maha Shivaratri in Junagadh Gujarat.

Bhavnath Mahadev Temple is at the foot of glorious mountain Girnar and near to Damodar Kunda in Junagadh ,Gujarat. Bhavnath Fair is begins on Maha Shivratri and continue for five days. Thousands of Naga Sadhus across the nation visit here in fair and they are the main attraction here and which make fair unique. March of Naga Sadhu at around 9 PM on Maha Shivratri is another attraction of fair. Then around 12 PM they take holy bath in Bhavnath Temple’s Mrugi Kund.

Maha Shivaratri at Jyotirling

Millions of people visit the 12 Jyotirlinga, Somnath - Gujarat, Mallikarjuna – Andhra Pradesh, Nageswaram – Dwarka, Gujarat , Mahakaleswar - Ujjain,Madhyapradesh, Omkaleshwar – Madhya Pradesh, Vaidhyanath- Deogarh, Jharkhand, Bhimashankar – Maharashtra, Rameshwaram- Tamilnadu, Kashi Vishvnath – Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Trambkeshwar –Nasik, Maharashtra, Kedarnath – Uttarakhand, Ghrishneswar - Maharashtra and other Shiva temples to offer prayers and witness the Rudra Abhisekham of Lord Shiva on this night.

Significance of Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri gives message to entire universe about the “Shiv Tatva”. Human can achieve Shiv Tatva on Maha Shivratir if he worships Lord Shiva with pure contemplation and continuous awareness. The Trishul of Lord Shiva is always protector of Dharma and destroyer for Adharma. Any devotees want to see the Lord Shree Shiva

Union of Shiva and Shakti

The union of Shiva and Shakti, the two greatest forces of the Universe are behind the celebration of Maha Shivratri. It is believed that Maha Shivratri is the most favored night of Lord Shiva. Worship of Lord Shiva on this night helps devotees to achieve victory and drives away evil spirits.

Maha Shivratri Dates for 2019 to 2024

Year Date
2019 Monday, 4th of March
2020 Friday, 21st of February
2021 Thursday, 11th of March
2022 Tuesday, 1st of March
2023 Saturday, 18th of February
2024 Friday, 8th of March