Mahashivaratri is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva, one of the deities of Hindu Trinity. Shivaratri falls on the moonless night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Fagun.
According to a popular legend, Shivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Some believe that it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction. Hence the day is considered to be extremely auspicious by Shiva devotees and celebrated as Mahashivaratri – the grand night of Shiva.
Hindus consider it extremely auspicious to worship Lord Shiva on a Shivaratri as it is believed that worship of Lord Shiva on this day absolves a devotee of past sins. The devotee is liberated from the cycle of birth and death and attains moksha or salvation. Shivaratri is considered especially auspicious for women. While married women pray for the well being of their husbands, unmarried women pray for a husband like Lord Shiva, who is regarded as the ideal husband.
[Photo Credit – Rajesh Hada]
At Pashupatinath, the shrine of Lord Shiva, devotees from far and near come to worship Lord Shiva. The ascetics and sadhus become the centre of attention, as they throng to the temple in their unique garb.