Devotees all across the district have made preparations to celebrate Mahashivratri . Various temples in the city and adjoining areas have also made preparations for the big day. Hundreds of devotees gather at Trimbakeshwar at one of the 12 Jyotirlingas to worship Lord Trimbakeshwar at Nashik. A grand fair is also organised on the occasion. Along with Lord Trimbakeshwar temple, Kapaleshwar, Someshwar, Teelbhandeshwar, Muktidham, Baneshwar and other temples in the city and the district have been decorated for celebrations. Abhisheks and other rituals were performed from early morning today at all these temples. The festival Mahashivratri is celebrated every year in reverence of Lord Shiva. It marks the convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Mahashivratri is celebrated on the Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi of Hindu calendar month Magha which falls in February or March as per the Gregorian calendar.
The festival is principally celebrated by offering Bel leaves to Lord Shiva and observing an all-day fast as well as an all-night vigil (Jagarana). All through the day, devotees chant ‘Om Namah Shivay’, a sacred Panchakshara mantra dedicated to Lord Shiva. In accordance with scriptural and discipleship traditions, penances are performed in order to gain boons.
In Nepal, millions of Hindus from different part of the world attend Shivratri festivities at the famous Pashupatinath Temple. Thousands of devotees also attend Mahashivratri at the famous Shiva Shakti Peetham of Nepal.
On Mahashivratri, Nishita Kala is the ideal time to observe Shiva Pooja. Nishita Kala is the time when Lord Shiva appeared on Earth in the form of Linga. On this day, in all Shiva temples, the most auspicious Lingodbhava puja is performed.
There are many legends associated with Mahashivratri including marriage of Shiva and Shakti, appearance of Shiva on Earth in form of Lingam and Ganga’s descent from heaven to earth.
All these legends signify that this day is the favourite day of Lord Shiva and also throws light on the greatness of the Lord and his supremacy over all other Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Application of Tripundra
Tripundra refers to the three horizontal stripes of holy ash applied to the forehead by worshipers of Lord Shiva. These stripes symbolise spiritual knowledge, purity and penance (spiritual practice of Yoga). They also represent the three eyes of Lord Shiva.