Devotees throng Shivalyas across Gujarat on Mahashivratri, Somnath temple to remain open for 42 hoursFebruary 13, 2018
Lakhs of devotees thronged the Shivalayas (shiva temples) across Gujarat including the world-famous Somnath temple, the seat of first among 12 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, on the occasion of Mahashivratri today.
In the second Jyotirlinga temple of Gujarat the holy Nageshwar, situated in the Devbhumi Dwarka district, long queues of the devotees were also seen.
Beelines of devotees were also visible at Bhavnath temple where the five day long Mahashivratri fair will culminate today at midnight with a ritual when naga babas, or naked sages, seated on elephants and decked in ornaments, arrive holding flags and blowing conch shells, tungis, and turis, the sounds of which reverberate through the entire space.
In Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of the state and the largest city, devotees turned out in large numbers since early morning to perform special puja and abhishek in various shiva temples including Chakulia Mahadev Mandir, Neelkhanth and Kameshwar Mahadev Mandir.
Large crowd of Shiva-bhaktas were also seen at other temples across the state including Kashi Vishwanath temple and Nav Nath temples in Vadodara, Panchnath and Omkareshwar temples in Rajkot, Rudranath temples in Surat, Vasaniya Mahadev temple in Gandhinagar and various shiva temples of all the other cities including Jamnagar, Junagadh,Bhavnagar, Patan, Mahesana, Banaskantha, Sabarakantha Bharuch, Tapi, Narmada, Valsad, Navsari, districts and other towns and rural areas.
The Mangalaarti in Somnath temple, which will remain open continuously for 42 hours since 4 am this morning on the occasion of Shivratri, situated on the coast of Indian Ocean in Gir Somnath district was performed early morning amid the chants of Har Har Mahdev and Jai Somnath. The traditional Palkhi yatra of lord someshwar was also taken out. The temple is also organizing a two day cultural festival Somnath Mahashivaratri Mahotsav in the temple premises. The whole temple is decorated beautifully with LED lights and giant LED screens have also been installed. Four special Aartis and pujas are also being held in the temple today.
Meanwhile the largest gathering in the five day Bhavnath temple fair in Junagadh district is also being seen today the final day of the traditional annual mela held on the occasion of Shivratri at the base of Girnar hills in Junagadh district. The fair commences every year on the Hindu calendar date of Magh Vad 11 which coincided with Feb 9 this year. Attended by thousands of devotees and sages the fair culminates on Mahashivratri when it is believed that in the moonless night Lord Shiva performed his Tandava, the cosmic dance of destruction, a mahapuja is performed. This ritual begins at midnight on Mahashivaratri every year, when naga babas, or naked sages, seated on elephants and decked in ornaments, arrive holding flags and blowing conch shells, tungis, and turis, the sounds of which reverberate through the entire space. Devotees believe that Lord Shiva himself visits the shrine on this occasion. Girnar is said to be the abode of the nine immortal nathas, and eighty-four siddhas, all of whom also visit the temple in their invisible spirit forms during Mahashivaratri. Offerings are made to the deities, and the festive energy is expressed through performances of dance, music and traditional bhavai theatre.
Meanwhile elaborate security arrangements have been made at all the important temples and crowded places on the occasion as precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident.
On the other hand a large number of devotees are observing fast (Upvas) today as a mark of reverence for lord Shiva.
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