Maha Shivaratri – the great night of Lord Shiva
Maha Shivaratri “the great night with Almighty” is one of the holiest days of the Hindu calendar. The fourteenth day of every lunar month is known to be Shivaratri. Among all the twelve Shivarathiris that occur in a year, Mahashivaratri, which falls in February-March is greatly revered and is loaded with high spiritual significance. For those who wonder why? The reason is that on this particular day, the northern hemisphere of the planet is positioned in such a way that there is a natural upsurge of energy in a human being. This incredible energy that holds the whole universe together is called the Shiva Tattva. On this night this energy level reaches the peak and pervades the entire universe and within the soul of every living being. This night is the celebration of the oneness with the almighty and the time for Meditation, deep rest for the mind, body and ego.
“Every Mahashivratri is meant to wake up every particle of your body. The festival is a wake-up call to move away from conflicts and move towards truth, beauty, peace, and benevolence – the ethereal qualities of Shiva.”
– Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Benefits of meditating on Shivarathiri:
Lord Shiva is always known as the Adhi Yogi (the first Guru of Yoga), who defined the science of Yoga and attained the state of divineness through his millennia in meditation. Through meditating or chanting the “OM Mantra” all night of Maha Shiva Rathiri, a person gets an opportunity to experience a spiritual revelation. It is scientifically proved fact that on the night of Shivarathi, there occurs a special planetary movement which meets with the earth surface and creates a special energy. Ergo by meditating on this auspicious day, one can experience the unboundedness of the source of creation and inherit all the positive energy from above.
The Six procedures of Shivarathiri:
Siva Purana quotes the procedure of the Sivarathiri ceremony, which includes six items. First and foremost offering Bilva ( Vilvam) leaves after the sacred bath, which represents the purification of Soul. Next, applying the Vermilion paste, which represents virtue; followed by Annadhanam (offering food) which represents the fulfilment of desires; then lighting of the lamp, which signifies the enlightenment of knowledge; and finally offering betel leaves, which marks satisfaction with worldly pleasures. These six items are the essential properties of Maha Shivarathiri, be it a simple ceremony at home or mob prayer.
Shivarathiri at Tamilnadu:
Shiva Rathiri is an inevitable celebration in India, commemorated throughout the country with great fervour and reverence. Tamilnadu is one among the places which celebrate the great night of Shiva in a grand way. On the night of Shivarathiri all the Shiva temples at Tamilnadu functions throughout the night and conducts special prayers and Homams. Devotees throng at the temples and sing in praise of Lord Shiva all night. The four time-lapse pooja takes places on the night of Maha Shivarathiri.
First Kala Puja – 7:30 pm;
Second Kala Puja – 10:30 pm;
Third Kala Puja – 12:00 am (Midnight);
Forth Kala Puja – 4:30 am.
Devotees sing the scriptures of Siva Puranam, Thiruvasagam, Thevaram and chant Thirumanthiram. It is a wide belief among Tamilnadu people is that taking part in all four Kala poojas, will restore our soul with all goodness and fulfil our wishes. As we all know Tamilnadu is blessed with lots of incredibly world-famous temples; here is the note down of the best temples at Tamilnadu to celebrate Shivaratri. This year Maha Shiva Rathiri is been celebrated on 21st of February 2020. Be a part of this holy ritual and get Enlighted.
Here is the list of Top Temples in Tamilnadu for Maha Shivratri:-
Isha Yoga Centre, Coimbatore:
Isha Yoga centre is one of the world-famous spiritual centres that nestles on the foothills of Velliangiri hills at Coimbatore. Isha Yoga centre is inevitable when we talk of Siva Rathiri celebration at Tamilnadu. It hits first in the list of huge grand celebrations on the eve of Shivaratri. Hailed for setting a world Guinness record for having the largest bust statue in the world; it is a sight to behold the enormous mob gathered at the open space before Adhi Yogi statue on the night of Shiva Rathiri, all awake and vigilant.
Nightlong Satsang with the founder of Isha centre “ Sadhguru” is the highlight of the celebration. The whole night seems to be mystical as one may never get enough of it. The grand celebration of Sivarathiri at Isha Yoga centre includes Exclusive guided meditation accompanied by dance and music, Nightlong Satsang with Sadhguru, Linga Bhairavi Yatra, Musical performances by eminent artists, finding the purpose of life.
To take part in the grand celebration registration is a must. Every year thousands of devotees and tourists from across the world throng at the Isha yoga centre to spend the “night with the Almighty”.
Peruvudaiyar Kovil or Brahadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur:
Peruvudaiyar kovil, fondly known as the Brahadeeswarar temple or Tanjore Big temple, is a prominent UNESCO world heritage site in Thanjavur district of Tamilnadu. The colossal temple is just not a spiritual abode, it is a great testimony of the peerless architectural skill of Cholas. With the grand Shiva lingam in the sanctum, every year Tanjore Big temple celebrates Maha Shivarathiri in a very grand manner.
The adding credits to the Shivarathiri festival of this year is that, after about 23 years, the grand consecration (kudamuluku) is about to take place on Feb 5. 2020. So the upcoming Shivarathiri festival is the first grand celebration to take place after the holy consecration. Witnessing this awesome wonder is nothing short of architectural bonanza accompanied with spiritual extravagance.
Arunachaleswarar Temple, Thiruvannamalai:
Regarded as one of the oldest temples in India, Arunachaleeswarar temple at Thiruvannamalai is one of the five temples of Lord Shiva (Pancha Bootha Sthalas). Among the five prime elements of nature, this temple represents fire. Having Lord Shiva as the prime deity, Arunachaleeswraar temple is known for its divinity and superstructures.
Been mention in several ancient scriptures including Sivapuranan, Thevaram and many more, this temple receives thousands of devotees and tourists every day. Holy Mount of Arunachala is nothing but the incarnation of Lord Shiva is revered greatly by the devotees. On the eve of Shivarathi, the temple is lit with lamps and thronged with devotees chanting all the Holy Scriptures. Miss not to be a part of this divine drive.
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Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval:
Hailed by the Saivite saints, Jambukeswarar temple at Trichy is not only an ancient temple of its kind but also one of the five temples of Lord Shiva (Pancha Bootha Sthalas), that represents element “Water”, Pancha indicates “five,” Bhoota means “elements,” and Sthala means “place”, representing a manifestation of the five prime elements of nature: earth, water, fire, air, and space. This incredible temple is also one of the 275 Padal Petra Sthalams. Shivarathir here is marked with festivity, devotion and special poojas for the four-time lapse. Visit this temple on Maha Shivarathiri and attain the benevolence of Lord Jambukeshwarar.
Thillai Natarajar Temple, Chidambaram
Many and many believe that the world’s centre point lies just right in the spot where Thillai Natarajar graces in his cosmic dance posture. The place where Lord Natarajar flaunted his dance performance is at Chidambaram Thillai Natarajar Temple, one of the wonderful temples in the world. Be it worship, architecture, sculpture or dance, this temple has driven an endless quest for about two millennium.
As the word Chidambaram suggests “ air of wisdom”, this temple is one among the five Bootha Sthalas that represents element air. All the 108 postures of Bharathanatyam is been carved intricately on the walls adding more essence to the ambiance. Thillai Natarajar temple is just not a temple to visit, it is a temple never to miss. The annual Natyanjali festival takes place in the temple premise with great fervour and colour at here. Being a major Shiva Shrine, Sivarathiri celebrations at Chidambaram temple are marked with the air of festivity and spirituality. Miss not to be a part of this spiritual gathering while your visit to Tamilnadu.
Ekambareswarar Temple, Kanchipuram
Ekambareshwarar temple at Kanchipuram is more famous than the silk of the city. Hailed as one of the ancient Shiva Shrines in India, this temple blows our mind with its brilliant architecture and sculptural extravagance.
Shiva Rathiri is a vital celebration here with devotees from across the country thronged over here all through the night. Hailed as one of the Pancha Bootha sthalas, that represents one of the five prime elements “Earth“, the Ekambareshwarar temple casts a brilliance example of Dravidian architecture. Witness it for yourself during your visit to Tamilnadu.
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Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram
“The Kasi of South” Shri Ramanatha Swamy temple at Rameshwaram is a predominant pilgrim site in India. Ranked among one of the most visited places in the world, Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy temple is a piece of marvellous architecture. It is a place of salvation and revelation.
Housing one of the 12Jothir Lingas in India, Shiva Rathiri at Ramanathaswamy temple is much more fascinating and captivating. Amazingly, the temple has the world’s longest corridor and immaculate and beautifully carved pillars. Take a dip in the holy waters of Rameswaram sea and rejoice the darshan of Lord Shiva on the eve of Shiva Rathiri, In the endeavour of obtaining Moksha, it is a ritual to take a holy dip in all the 22 theerthas ( Holy waters) encased in the temple.
Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai
The world-famous Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai stands majestically flaunting its mind-blowing beauty and grandiose sculptures. The prime deities Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar grace divinely and blesses benevolently to the beholders. Each and every part of this temple speaks of the immaculately impeccable craftsmanship and brilliant engineering. Though this temple hoists thousands of festival every year, the Maha Shivarathiri eve is something special, as the “night of Lord Shiva” is enriched with utmost spirituality and divineness. Once you step-in here you can relish its in-depth beauty.
Brihadeeswarar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram
As a proof that Rajendra Cholan is no less to the great Tamil king Raja Raja Cholan, this magnificent piece of art stands majestically. More of a replica of Tanjore Big temple, this Brihadeeswarar temple at GangaiKonda Cholapuram is known for its striking beauty. From mammoth Nandhi to colossal Lingam, everything here lures the interest of the spectators. Its radiance has made it one among the UNESCO world heritage sites.
The Shivarathiri festival is celebrated in a grand manner at Gangai Konda Cholapuram temple. There would be many special poojas and processions on this night. The Lord Lingeshwar is adorned in various forms and gives dharshan to the devotees. It is a divine feeling to relish the presence of almighty on the night of Shiva Rathiri at Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple.
Nellaiappar Temple, Tirunelveli
Nellaiappar temple at Thirunelveli, is a trademark of the city. It is one of the prominent Shiva temples in Tamilnadu. Sprawling across an area of 14 acre, this temple is very unique among the other Shiva shrines, as it houses a separate shrine for Lord Vishnu.
Yet another remarkable feature of the temple is the Hexa face Murugan idol, which devotees can see all the six faces by moving around. Praised by the great saint Thirugnana sambandar, this temple is a must to visit one during the eve of SivaRathiri.
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Kapaleeswarar Temple, Chennai
We all know Chennai as the metropolitan city, this busy town, houses some of the famous shrines in the world. One such remarkable temple is the Kapaleeswarar temple at Chennai. Praised by many saints this ancient temple is one among the Paadal Petra Sthalam.
Famous saints like Thirugnana Sambanthar, Arunagirinathar, and Gunaveera Pandithar has sung in glory of this sacred shrine. Shiva Rathiri at here is very auspicious as thousands of devotees throng in front of the Kapaleeswar shrine and sing Thiruvasagam all night long. All special poojas takes place as per procedure. Be a part of this holy mob and cherish the blessings of the Almighty.
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Thayumanaswami Temple, Rockfort, Trichy
Trichy one of the major cities of Tamilnadu takes pride in having one of the oldest rock formations on earth, “the Rock fort”. This mount is said to be many million years old and this single boulder houses two most prominent shrines; one the Thayumanavar Shrine and the other Ucchi Pillayar temple.
This is the sixth Shiva temple on the southern banks of River Cauvery praised by saints including Thirugnana Sambanthar, Thirunavukkarasar, Sundarar and Saint Arunagirinathar. Just as the name suggests Thayumanavar (like a mother), the almighty Shiva at this shrine is praised as the Mother of everything. Devotees from various places veer here to get the dharshan of the Thayumanavar on the eve of Maha Shivaratri. It is a grand festive to behold.
Kailasanathar Temple, Kanchipuram
Built by the Pallava Dynasty during the period of 680 AD to 705 AD this grandiose temple comprises of about 60 shrines. The major attraction of this temple in Kanchipuram is the interior pathway that encircles the idol of Lord Shiva which symbolises our entry to this world and our exit to the Paradise. The serene environs that envelop this place and the impeccable architecture of Dravidian style are one of the epitomes of divinity and has to be visited once in our lifetime.
Wait no more, make a visit for this Maha Sivarathiri, as you may happen to witness a vibrant commemoration along with special darshan in temples of Tamil Nadu.
The above mentioned places are only the major temples in Tamilnadu to cast a visit during Maha Shivarathiri, apart from this there are millions of Shiva Shrines across the state where this Shiva Rathiri celebration is held grandly. When we take India, there are countless Shiva shrines.
From Kashmir to Kanyakumari every nook and cranny of this holy land is dotted with sacred shrines. Some of the best temples rather than Tamilnadu to visit on Maha Shivarathiri are as follows. Varanasi, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Kedarnath, Mandi, Sri Kailash, Sri Sailam, Srikalahasti (one of the Pancha Pootha Shrines), Guwahati, Murudeeswarar (Second Largest Shiva Statue in the world), Khajuraho, and Puri.
Maha Shivaratri is simply not a night of wakefulness, but it is truly a night of enlightenment. Do not miss to be a part of this spiritual thirst. Pick your desired destination and travel to these divine abodes to find your life’s meaning.
Get ready to spend a night with Almighty.