Tuesday, 06 October 2009 06:50

Shiv Ratri-Gujarat


A land of fairs and Festivals, Gujarat state in western India is steeped in tradition and rich cultural heritage. Despite the various religious influences in the region, numerous fairs and festivals are celebrated in Gujarat with equal enthusiasm. The extent of celebrations is such that the region remains colorful all through the year, with several religious and regional fairs and festivals in Gujarat being held. Indianholiday offers online information on Mahashivaratri Gujarat.


Celebrating the festival in a customary manner, devotees give a ritual bath to the Lingam with the panchagavya - milk, sour milk, cow urine, butter and cow dung. Celebrations of Shivratri Festival mainly take place at night. Devotees of Lord Shiva throng Shiva temples across the country and spend ‘the Night of Lord Shiva' by chanting verses and hymns in praise of the Lord. The festival holds special meaning for the ladies. They pray to Goddess Parvati also called 'Gauri', the giver of 'suhag' for good husbands, marital bliss and a long and prosperous married life.

Most Hindu festivals are noted for its mirth and color but Shivratri is a night dedicated to prayers and contemplation. Of course, when Lord Shiva is worshipped there is joy all around but it is not just joy but bliss that is achieved through Brahman realization – When Lord Shiva is seen in all animate and inanimate. When we realize that it is his Tandava that creates each cell and it is his Tandava that is responsible for the transformation of each cell – which out ignorance term as destruction.

One of the most religious Hindu festivals, Maha Shivaratri falls on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of Phalguna (February- March), and is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva, one of the principal Hindu deities. Maha Shivratri is the night when he is said to have performed the Tandava Nritya or the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction. The festival is observed for one day and one night only. Maha Shivratri is universally observed by all pious Hindus with fasting, singing of bhajans, recital of Sanskrit shlokas, offering of prayers, flowers, fruits and food that is specially prepared in honor of the deity and his divine consort, goddess Parvati.

At the foot of the tree was a Shiva Linga (an image of Lord Shiva). Without realizing it, the hunter, who was sitting on a vilva tree, threw the leaves down at the Linga. The tiger left in at sunrise. The hunter looked down, and found that the tiger was gone, and in its place stood Lord Shiva. The hunter prostrated in front of Shiva and received mukti-the release from the cycle of birth and death.The popular story of the union of Shiva and his consort, Parvati King Daksha, opposed Sati's marriage with Shiva. At a yagnya (holy sacrifice) the king ignored Shiva’s presence and thereby insulted the latter publicly. Sati was so angered by this that she jumped into the sacrificial fire and ended her life. Lord Shiva unleashed his fury at the death of his wife by performing the violent dance, Taandav. He wiped out Daksha’s kingdom, undertook rigorous penance and retired to the Himalayas. The Gods, who feared that the severity of Shiva’s penance might bring an end to the world, revived Sati in the new avatar of Parvati. Shiva-Parvati married and this reunion is celebrated on Maha Shivratri.

Time(indian calendar Tithi):

The third one is Magha Pratham Adi Shivaratri, which is observed for the first thirteen days starting from the Prathama Tithi in the month of Magha. The fourth one is the most important which is observed on the Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi of Magha month (mid February to mid March)


The land relief in Gujarat is low in most parts of the state, resulting in a great diversity in the climate of Gujarat India. Gujarat experiences mild, pleasant and dry winters, with average daytime temperatures ranging around 83 °F(29 °C) and night temperatures around 53 °F(12 °C). The summers are very hot and dry, with day temperatures rising up to around 105 °F(41 °C) and night temperatures dropping to 85 °F(29 °C).


In another story, during Pralaya or deluge, the whole world was facing destruction. Parvati prayed to Lord Shiva to save the Jivas(the living souls), who were living in space as particles of gold dust in a lump of wax. Lord Shiva granted the prayer of Parvati and the Jivas became active again. Parvati named the night for worshipping Maheshvara or Shiva as the great night for the worship of Iswara or Maha Shiva. After the deluge stopped and creation was complete, Parvati asked Shiva which rituals pleased him most. Lord answered the fourteenth night of new moon in the month of Magha , was his most favorite day. Parvati spreaded the words among her friends and whole creation started observing the Shiva Ratri.


Importance of festival:

Several interesting legends and stories are associated with the festival of Mahashivaratri. One of the popular legends mentions that Mahashivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. According to another legend, it was on the auspicious day of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’ Dance – the dance of primal creation, preservation and destruction. Yet another legend stated in Linga Purana states that Mahashivaratri was the day when the Lord manifested himself in the form of a Linga. Hence, the day came to be considered as one of the most auspicious days for Shiva devotees who celebrate it as Mahashivaratri – the Grand Night of Shiva.The worshippers visit the nearest Shiva Temple to give ritual bath to the Shiva Lingam with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water, etc. Priests perform ritual ‘pooja’ amidst chants of “Om Namah Shivaya” and ringing of temple bells.

Method of Celebration:

According to the Shiva Purana, the Maha Shivaratri worship must incorporate six items: the ceremonial offer of cooling bael leaves to the hot-blooded deity, representing purification of the soul; the vermilion paste applied on the linga after bathing it, representing virtue; food offering which is conducive to longevity and gratification of desires; incense, yielding wealth; the lighting of the lamp which is conducive


During Mahashivaratri Gujarat, devotees wake up early in the morning and take a ritual bath. After getting decked in new clothes, the worshippers visit the nearest Shiva Temple to give ritual bath to the Shiva Lingam with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water, etc. Priests perform ritual ‘pooja’ amidst chants of “Om Namah Shivaya” and ringing of temple bells.

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Culture of festivities:

Mahashivaratri Festival or the ‘Night of Shiva’ is celebrated with great devotion and religious fervor in honor of Lord Shiva – one of the deities of the Hindu Trinity. An important Hindu festival, Mahashivaratri is celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha of the month of Maagh (according to Shalivahana) or Phalgun (according to Vikrama) in the Hindu calendar. This day corresponds to the month of February/March according to English Calendar.


One of the major festivals celebrated in Gujarat, Mahashivaratri Gujarat is marked by devotees observing day and night fast and performing ritual worship of the Shiva Lingam to appease Lord Shiva. Gujarat being dominated by a hefty Hindu population, Mahashivaratri Celebration in Gujarat is accompanied by great fervor and enthusiasm as in the rest of India.


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