04 March 2019
Bhubaneswar: Shivaratri is celebrated on the 13th or 14th day of the dark half (Krishna Paksha) of Phalgun (February-March), according to the Hindu calendar. Devotees observe a daylong fasting and offer of bael (wood apple) leaves to the God, which are two significant practices on this day. Hymns in praise of Shiva are chanted throughout the night as it is believed that the one who does so with full devotion is freed of all sins.
According to folklore, it is the wedding anniversary of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. According to Puranas, it is the night Lord Shiva consumed a pot of poison during Samudra Manthan-mythical churning of the ocean- and saved the human kind. According to Shaivism, this festival marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the divine dance of creation, preservation and, destruction.
Thousands of devotees thronged Shiva temples in the City to offer prayers on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri on Monday. Devotees offer fruits and milk to the Shivaling, a representation of Shiva. Meanwhile, some perform Puja to pray for moksha or salvation and many women pray to be blessed with a good husband. Maha Shivaratri, otherwise known as 'Jagar', is observed in a ritualistic way with much serenity to appease Lord Shiva. The devotional ambience at Lingaraj Temple is spell-binding.
Most of the devotees observe fast till “mahadeepa” is raised atop Shiva temples at around 10 pm. Adequate security measures have been taken to ensure smooth ‘darshan’ for devotees in the Shiva shrines. The atmosphere rings with powerful chanting of Shiva mantras like Om Namah Shivaay (for eradicating fear), Om Namo Bhagwate Rudraay (to seek Lord Shiva's blessings) and Mahamrityunjay mantra (to increase longevity).