IN PHOTOS | Devotees celebrate Mahashivaratri, throng temples to offer prayers in honour of Lord Shiva

Published: 13th February 2018 12:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2018 03:49 AM  

Maha Shivaratri
On Mahashivratri, the whole nation fervently celebrates 'the great night' of Lord Shiva, who is also called 'The Destroyer'. Because it is believed that when Lord Brahma created the world, the job to protect it was given to Lord Vishnu and Shiva's was to destroy it so that it can be created again. Take a look at the celebrations across the country. IN PIC: Devotees offering puja to Lord Shiva's idol at a water channel near Srirangapatna town in Karnataka. (Express Photo | Udayashankar S)
The festival, which is celebrated at night, occurs once a year during the Hindu lunar month of Phagun. IN PIC: A special 'Aarthi' is shown to Lord Shiva at a temple in Tamil Nadu (Express Photo | KK Sundar)
There are various legends associated with the holy day. Some believe today was the day when Shiva and Parvati got married and marks the day of their union. IN PIC: Maha shivaratri celebrations in front of the famed 34-metre-tall Adiyogi Shiva statue at Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev's Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore. (Express Photo | Senbagapandiyan)
Another legend claims that Lord Shiva performs the heavenly dance ('the shiv tandav') of creation, preservation and destruction on this night. An idol of Lord Shiva at Rameshwara temple at Harakere in Shivamogga, Karnataka. (Express Photo | Shimoga Nandan P)
Another legend associated with the day is that when Samudra Manthan (Mythical churning) was done and a pot of poison emerged instead of elixir, both the demons and the gods refused to take it. The poison was so potent that nobody was prepared to even touch it. That's when Mahadev agreed to drink the poison as he was only one in the world to be not affected by that. He held it in his throat, which then turned dark blue as the poison took effect, and became to be known as Neelkanth. IN PIC: Devotees float lamps on water as part of Mahashivaratri celebrations at Kempefort in Bengaluru. (Express Photo | Nagaraja Gadekal)
Mahashivaratri is a day when Hindus acknowledge their thanks to Lord Shiva for protecting the world from the poison. IN PIC: Devotees perform a special pooja on Siva Rathiri at Agilandeswari Sametha Jambukeswar Temple in Thiruvanaikovil, Tiruchy. (Express Photo | M K Ashok Kumar)
It is traditional to fast during Mahashivaratri, some people go on a diet of fruits and milk, while others don’t take in anything for the entire festival. IN PIC: 'Prabhalu' procession (‘Prabhalu' or specially decorated arches with Lord Siva's replicas with bamboo sticks and new clothes) on the occasion of Maha Sivaratri in Vijayawada.(Express Photos | P Ravindra Babu)
While some head to Shiva temples, many others observe stillness, keep a fast, practise yoga and meditate. Many devotees keep awake all night on Shivaratri, called 'jaagaran' in Northern India. IN PIC: An artiste dances with a python during the 'Prabhalu' procession on Maha Sivaratri in Vijayawada. (Express Photo| P Ravindra Babu)
In Shiva temples, 'Om Namah Shivaya', the sacred mantra of Lord Shiva, is chanted through the day. There exists a strong belief that chanting the healing mantra 108 times a day will help ward off negative energy. IN PIC: Devotees at Sreekandeswaram Mahadeva temple in Thiruvananthapuram on the Maha Shivaratri 'vrutha' (fast) writing the mantra 'Om Namah Shivaya' 108 times. (Express Photo | BP Deepu)
Married women pray for their husbands’ well-being, and unmarried women pray they will have a husband like Shiva on Mahashivaratri. IN PIC: Lord Shiva's idol at Rameshwara temple at Harakere in Shivamogga. (Express Photo | ShimogaNandan P)
Workers install shivalingas ahead of the Mahashivaratri at RK Beach in Visakhapatnam. (Express Photo)
Siva Kshetram temple being readied on the eve of Maha Sivaratri at Tallayapalem village near Vijayawada. (Express Photo | P Ravindra Babu)
A priest offering prayers ahead of the Balidarppan which will be held on Mahashivaratri day at Aluva Manappuram in Kerala. (Express Photo | Albin Mathew)
Officials of the Department of Treasury handover golden mask of the Lord Shiva which will be used in Sri Thrineshwara temple in Mysuru palace premises for Mahashivarathri festival in Mysuru. (Express Photo | Udayshankar SP)
Preparations for Shivaratri celebrations underway at Kapaleshwar temple in Mylapore, Chennai. (Express Photo | Sunish P Surendran)
One day prior to the Mahashivaratri festival, priests seen washing the Shivalingas at Gurukula in Mysuru. (Express Photo | Udayshankar SP)
A beautifully-lit Shiva temple in Yenamalakuduru on the eve of Shivaratri celebrations in Vijayawada on Monday. (Express Photo)
The Siva Kshetram temple being readied on the eve of Maha Sivaratri at Tallayapalem village near Vijayawada on Monday. (Express Photo | P Ravindra Babu)
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Devotees at the Durgha ghat taking a holy dip in river Krishna on Mahashivaratri in Vijayawada on Tuesday. (Express Photo | RVK Rao)
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Heavy rush of pilgrims at Srisailam temple in Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool district during Mahashivaratri celebrations on Tuesday. Devotees took holy bath in Patalaganga at Srisailam. (Express Photo)
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A Hindu holy man smokes marijuana at the courtyard of the Pashupatinath temple on the eve of Shivaratri festival in Kathmandu, Nepal. (Photo | AP)
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Nepalese Hindu devotees roll on the ground on the banks of Hanumante River on the last day of Madhav Narayan festival in Bhaktapur, Nepal. During the festival, devotees recite holy scriptures dedicated to Hindu goddess Swasthani and Lord Shiva. (Photo | AP)
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