Lord Shiva is popularly known as the destroyer in the Hindu mythological texts but the most intriguing thing about God is that he is extremely dear to Hindu Devotees.
People love and worship Lord Shiva across the globe on various occasions, but the most significant among them is considered to be Maha Shivratri. Although Maha Shivratri is celebrated across the country, the celebrations in the Varanasi region of Uttar Pradesh are distinct and hold a lot more importance.
History of Maha Shivaratri
According to ancient Hindu texts, at the time of Samudra Manthan, a pot of poison came out and both the Devas and Asuras got terrified because the poison was powerful enough to destroy the whole world.
So, they went to Lord Shiva for a solution to this and a plea to save the world. Lord Shiva, then drank the entire pot and kept it in his throat as a result of which his throat turned blue. Post this incident, he was referred to as Neelkanth, the one with a blue throat.
Maha Shivratri commemorates this highly prominent incident of Hindu mythology and is an occasion for all the devotees to express their gratitude, love, and respect towards Lord Shiva.
People in North India celebrate this auspicious day also as the wedding anniversary of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Local people carry out Baraat (groom's wedding procession) in the evening which is known as Bhole ki Baraat.
According to another popular story, Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva, which ritual performed by his devotees pleases him the most? To this Lord Shiva replied, the ritual worship that is performed on the 14th day of Phagun month impresses him the most, which we know as Maha Shivaratri now.
Major Attractions of Maha Shivaratri 2023 Celebration in India
1. Shivalinga Abhisheka
The Shivlinga is honored with flowers, honey, milk, and curd which is in itself a magnificent view at all the Shiva temples across the country.
2. Maha Shivratri Fast
People keep fast for the entire day. Everyone eats only sweet dishes made of coconut and other items eligible during fasts. The offerings take place the entire day and night and devotees do it selflessly in order to impress their beloved Lord.
3. Decorated Shiva Temples and Sacred Processions
All the temples of Lord Shiva are beautifully decorated, and a procession is carried out in the city showcasing the story of the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
How To Reach
Maha Shivratri celebration in Varanasi is worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime. The entire city gets decorated and its temples are packed by devotees who indulge in performing prayers, rituals, and ceremonies to impress Lord Shiva and seek his blessings.
You too can witness the mysticism and magnificence of the event by arriving here via airways, railways, or roadways. You can consider the below-mentioned travel modes and routes if planning a visit to Varanasi.
The city has a well-developed road network that connects it with metro cities and other nearby cities and states. You may either get on inter-state tourist buses to reach Varanasi or may drive to the city in your personal vehicle. Listed below is the estimate of distance in kilometers and the best route to take from nearby places.
Delhi - 850 km via Agra-Lucknow Expressway
Lucknow - 320 km via Piro Jagdishpur Road and NH 19
Varanasi Junction is where you must deboard in order to explore the city and witness its festivals. Trains from all parts of the country arrive here hence you can consider rail journey if looking for a comfortable and budget-friendly travel option. Following are some popular trains on which you may reserve seats to reach Varanasi.
Delhi - Swatantra Express, Shiv Ganga Express, Farakka Express
Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport is the nearest airport to reach Varanasi. The airport receives direct and connecting flights from all over the country. You can choose to travel via the following airlines if looking for direct flights to Varanasi from the metro and prominent nearby cities.