Another long weekend is coming up and the occasion this time is Maha Shivaratri.

According to Wikipedia, Maha Shivratri (the ‘Great Night of Shiva’) is a Hindu festival celebrated every year in reverence of Lord Shiva. This festival is celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day of the Maagha month of the Hindu calendar. This year, it is falling on 8th of March which is a Tuesday. If you skip the Monday it follows- there, you have your long weekend. Here are some ideas with which you can make the most of the same as well as of the festivity of Mahashivaratri.

#1 Haridwar, Uttarakhand

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple

Visited by many devotees during Mahashivratri this place is known for its ghats which are obviously visited by individuals who offer prayers at Har ki Pauri. Most disciples are seen at the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple and several others will perhaps discover some place to exercise yoga or relish specific adventure sports. This religious tour to Haridwar can also give you added advantage where you can go for river rafting in Rishikesh and can also explore the amazing places around.

2. Mandi

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Even though Mandi is a hamlet in Himachal Pradesh, the Mahashivratri celebration here will blow your mind away! Mandi’s Bhootnath Temple hosts the festival celebrations and legend has it that around 5 centuries back, the royal family of Mandi started the week-long tradition of organizing a Mandi Shivratri Fair. This fair has now been looked forward to not only by Indian devotees, but by international travelers too.

3. Varanasi

Photograph: Shutterstock

Photograph: Shutterstock

Thogh the whole of Varanasi comes together to participate in re-enacting the wedding ceremony of Shiva and Parvati, the most important place for offering prayers is the Tilbhandeshwar temple in southern  Varanasi. This is one of the few places in India where pweople dance in processions after drinking bhaang– a cannabis and sweetened milk preparation.

4 Junagadh – Bhavnath Taleti

Junagadh is not just famous for Gir national park but it is the home to Sadhus who stay across the Gir forest and bhavnath taleti. During Maha Shivaratri, Junagadh attract thousands of people from all around India to “Shivratri Mela”. The fair start prior to 5 days and ends on the day of Maha shivratri. If you are in Gujarat, this place is must visit during the Maha Shivratri to experience the culture and sadhutva. Apart from Maha Shivratri Mela, you can also enjoy Girnar mountain climbing, Gujarat’s highest peak.

Gir Forest View from the Top of Girnar Parvat
Gir Forest View from the Top of Girnar Parvat – Image by – Mayank Batavia

5. Khajurao, Madhya Pradesh

Khajuraho Temple

Here Maha Shivratri is celebrated with great splendor and dedication. People take a dip in the Sagar tank along with a large number of people visiting the Matangeshwar Temple for the 10 day long fair. This fair is been visited by people from all age-groups, who come to offer prayers and strive for blessings from Shiva for prosperity.

6. Ujjain

Photograph courtesy: Sree Mahakaleshwar Ujjain/Facebook

Photograph courtesy: Sree Mahakaleshwar Ujjain/Facebook

Mahashivaratri in celebrated largely in Ujjain’s  Mahakaleshwar Temple which is one of the 12 jyortirlingas. The festival is celebrated on the banks of river Kshipranear the Mahakal forest in Madhya Pradesh. The temple gets it’s name from the forest which has been of religious importance to the locals due to its mention in the puranas

7. Srikalahasti

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Andhra Pradesh is also home to the Srikalahasteeswara temple in Srikalahasti, one of the most famous Shiva temples in south India. Each year, hundreds of thousands of devotees visit the temple for the pompous celebration of Shiva and Parvati’s union. The festivities for Mahashivratri go on for 13 days here and the idols of Shiva and Parvati are  taken out on processions in elaborately decorated chariots through the town.

8. Nashik

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Nashik is home to one of the jyortirlingas in Trimbakeshwar, the Someshwar Temple dedicated to Shiva and the Kalpeshwar temple dedicated to Nandi, Shiva’s bull. Apart from being one of the four destinations for the Kumbhamela, Nashik becomes a centre opf religious activities during Mahashivratri.

9 Guwahati, Assam

umananda-temple-guwahati

The Umananda Temple here observes one of the leading Mahashivratri celebrations in India. The temple is situated on the peacock island in the Brahmaputra River. Many devotees across the nation travel to Guwahati only to observe the outstanding fiesta held here.

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