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Every year, Mahashivratri is celebrated with a whole lot of pomp and grandeur across the country. Lord Shiva has devotees scattered in the entire world, and they indulge in celebrating Mahashivratri. In the sub city too Shiv ratri is celebrated with a lot of religious fervour. Maha Shivratri, which literally translates to "great night of Shiva" is a Hindu festival. The festival is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of Maagha according to the Hindu calendar. The day is celebrated to venerate Lord Shiva, an important deity in Hindu culture. The solemn festival of Maha Shivratri commemorates "overcoming darkness and ignorance" in one's life and in the world. It is observed by chanting Shiva's name, fasting, and reflecting on ethical principles and virtues like honesty, charity, forgiveness, and the discovery of Shiva.

In a version, devotees believe that Shivratri is auspicious because it marks the marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva and Parvati. However, many believe that Mahashivratri signifies the auspicious night when Lord Shiva performed the dance 'Tandava' that led to the creation, conservation and devastation of the universe. This year Mahashivratri was celebrated on 8th March. The festival was celebrated with devotion all across the sub city. Temples were decorated tastefully and prayers, aartis and bhajans continued throughout the day and into the night. Devout worshippers who fasted for the entire day, visited these temples and worshipped the Shivling and performed abhishek. The celebrations in the various Shiva temples in the sub city began from early morning when devotees visited temples to offer cold water, milk and bael leaves on the Lingam. For women, Mahashivratri is an auspicious festival. They observed fast and offer prayers both to Lord Shiva and Parvati to shower their grace with a peaceful and blissful married life. The devotees also gave a sacred bath to Shiva Linga with honey, milk, water etc. Hindus consider it extremely auspicious to worship Lord Shiva on a Shivaratri as it is believed that worship of Lord Shiva absolves a devotee of past sins. The devotee reaches the abode of Lord Shankar and lives there happily. He is also liberated from the cycle of birth and death and attains moksha or salvation. Bhandaras were organised in many places. Devotees of Lord Shiva performed the ritual wor ship of Shivratri with reverence and devotion.

Here’s how Shivratris is celebrated in Dwarka temples-

Dwarkadheesh Temple, Sector-12-
Celebrations were also held at Dwarkadhish temple sector 12. Jal abhishek and bhajan kirtan was organised. On this day, devotees fasted rigorously and chanted shlokas and hymns praising the god. They traditionally offered milk, water, bel leaves and fruits to the Shiva Lingam. Worshippers began the day with prayers for redemption and yearn to attain moksha. Worshippers carried holy water to offer at the temples. According to Dwarkadheesh Mandir’s pujari, Bhagwan Pandit, the festival was celebrated with Abhishek. In the morning Abhishek was done from 4 am to 6 am. And in the evening abhishek was done from 7 pm to 9 pm. Said the Pandit Balram Shastri, “ Keeping fast during Mahashivratri is considered very auspicious. Refraining from consumption of food and water for a particular time is also healthy for the body and the mind. It is believed that praying to Lord Shiva after keeping fast makes the lord happy. Milk, honey, fruits and bel leaves are offered to the idol of Lord Shiva. Devotees start the day with a bath and then visit the temple. Then they keep fast for the day and offer their prayers to the lord. It is believed that chanting Om Namah Shivaya brings blessings and fulfillment of wishes and desires by the lord.” Anjali from Sector 12 who had come to offer puja in the temple said, “I am fasting today and will wake up at night. Will offer 108 bel leaves at 12 am at midnight.” M. S. Rawat of Dwarkadheesh Apartments said that he is a devout Shiv bakt and it is his fortune that there is a shiv mandir near his apartments. Naresh Kumar had also come to offer jal at Dwarkadheesh temple.

ISKCON Dwarka- According to priest in ISKCON, Vaishnavas however worship Lord Shiva on this day in order to receive His blessings to become a better devotee of Lord Krishna (Vishnu) and not to attain residence in the abode of Shiva. A Vaishnava should always vow to fast on the day fourteenth of the dark fortnight of the month of Phalguna (February–March) for the delight of Lord Shri Krishna. The night of Lord Shiva is known as Shiva Ratri. If someone harbours envy toward Lord Shri Siva, they cannot enter the spiritual realm. Following vaishnavism, one’s devotion to Lord Krishna grows if one observes a fast on Lord Siva’s night (Shiva Ratri day), thanks to Lord Siva, who is diving into the ocean of mellow devotion to Lord Krishna. Lord Shiva is the best of devotees of Lord Krishna. In Vrindavan there is Lord Shiva’s temple called Gopishwara. The gopis used to worship not only Lord Shiva but Katyayani (Durga) as well, but their aim was to attain the favour of Lord Krishna. A devotee of Lord Krishna does not disrespect Lord Shiva, but worships Lord Shiva as the most exalted devotee of Lord Krishna. Consequently, whenever a devotee worships Lord Shiva he prays to Lord Shiva to achieve the favour of Krishna and he does not request material profit.

Sector-22 Temple- Celebrations were also held at Sector-22 temple. Jal abhishek and bhajan kirtan was organised. On this day, devotees fasted rigorously and chanted shlokas and hymns praising the god. They traditionally offered milk, water, bel leaves and fruits to the Shiva Lingam. Worshippers began the day with prayers for redemption and yearn to attain moksha. Worshippers carried holy water to offer at the temples. The festival was celebrated with Abhishek and a bhandara. Yagna was also performed.

Sector-23 Temple- Shivratri was observed with religious fervour. According to Bani, Jal was offered at night. Whole night the devotees chanted Om Namah Shivaya jap and Bhajan Kirtan was organised.

Rainbow Apartments, Sector-12- Shivratri was celebrated with full enthusiasm and religious fervor in Rainbow Apartment temple. Nisha, one of the organisers, informed that from morning devotees offered milk, ghee, honey, curd, flowers, bhel Pata to Lord Shiva and Shiv parivar. Evening ladies did bhajans for 3 hours in mandir premises and every one prayed for wellbeing and sought blessings of Lord Bholanath. The mandir was decorated with flowers.

Today, as we celebrate Maha Shivaratri, let's honour the divine union of Shiva and Shakti, embodying strength and grace. By great coincidence,  today, as we commemorate International Women's Day, let's embrace the spirit of inclusion and equality, recognizing the power of Shiva as Ardhanarishvara, symbolizing the  harmony of masculine and feminine energies. May this day inspire us to celebrate the inherent divinity within all genders and foster a world where everyone is empowered to thrive.       
Ms. Shalini Singh, Principal, Central Academy International School, Sector-10

Kalibari, Sector-19- According to Anupam Mishra Pandit, “Mahshivratri has its own religious and spiritual significance and it is clearly mentioned in various Hindu Scriptures. It is believed that, the energy of Lord Shiva is very high during the night of Mahashivratri and performing any type of spiritual activity such as meditation and chanting of mantras, recitation of holy scriptures or hymns during the night time, provides spiritual upliftment.”

Ram Mandir, Sector-7- Ram Mandir celebrated Shivratri with religious devotion. Jal abhishek and hawan was performed. The puja was held in the morning and evening. All rituals and rudrabhishek were done. Ishwar at Ram Mandir says, “Mahashivratri is the day to honour Lord Shiva and several cosmic and spiritual events are associated with this festival. This festival commemorates the wedding of Shiva and Parvati, Lord Shiva performed the Tandava (the cosmic dance) and this was the day when Lord Shiva consumed the poison in order to save the world from destruction during the churning of the ocean (Samudra Manthan) and removed darkness and ignorance from the universe. Devotees engage in prayers, fasting, meditation on virtues, and visit Shiva temples or Jyotirlingas. In India and many other countries, people celebrate Mahashivratri with great zeal and passion. There are cultural activities, bhajans, spiritual sessions, and vibrant processions. Devotees engage in a variety of rites and ceremonies in temples that are decked out with lights and decorations.”

Sidhivinayak Mandir- The temple situated in Sector 12 had day-long festivities. There is Shiv parivar, Hanuman Murti and Ma Sherawali Murti in the temple. The temple is open from morning to 12 noon and from 4.30 pm to 10 pm daily. Mahesh Goyal of Sector-13 stated that on Shivratri, it was open from 4 am till 11 pm and a lot of devotees came for the pooja, abhishek. Ujwal Goyal had also come to offer Jal at Siddhi Vinayak temple. He said, “Mahashivratri represents the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, and wisdom over ignorance. It represents the achievement of spiritual enlightenment, the destruction of the ego, and the awakening of inner consciousness.”


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