Sawan Shivratri is an important festival celebrated in devotion to Lord Shiva during the month of Sawan (July-August) in the Hindu calendar. Varanasi, also known as the spiritual capital of India, holds immense significance for devotees of Lord Shiva and is believed to be his abode. The connection between Sawan Shivratri and Varanasi comes from the belief that praying and doing sacred rituals in this holy city during the month of Sawan brings great blessings and spiritual fulfilment. During Sawan Shivratri, thousands of pilgrims flock to Varanasi to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva by taking part in various religious rituals and ceremonies. The city’s ghats, particularly the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, become the epicenter of vibrant celebrations and devotees come together in a collective spirit of devotion and reverence.
Sawan Shivratri 2024 Date
In 2024 We will celebrate Sawan Shivratri on 2 August 2024.
The Sacred Month of Sawan: A Time for Spiritual Reflection
Sawan (Shravan) is the holiest months of Hindu calendar. During this time, people engage in spiritual activities, perform selfless acts of service, and spend time in meditation, enhancing their connection with the divine. Sawan Shivratri, also known as Mahashivratri, is an auspicious Hindu festival. Devotees of Lord Shiva mark this occasion with fervor and devotion, engaging in various customs and rituals that hold deep significance in their faith. With its roots deeply embedded in the ancient Hindu scriptures, this night is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the deity of destruction and transformation. The states of Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh celebrate this holy day with more excitement than others.
Mythological Tales: Understanding the story behind Sawan Shivratri
Hindu tradition says that the Samudra Manthan took place in the month of Sawan. When the demons and gods stirred up the ocean, a dangerous poison and fourteen divine items came out of it. The poison had the power to kill and destroy everyone and everything on Earth. Lord Shiva save the Earth and ate the poison. Lord Shiva couldn’t swallow the poison, so he let it get into his throat. This caused Shiva’s throat to turn blue. From here he gets the name Neelkanth! Due to the poison, his body temperature began to rise. Both the Devas and the Asuras started pouring water on him to help him cool down. Since then, it has become a custom to pour river water on Shiva during the month of Sawan.
The Significance of Sawan Shivratri: Exploring the Holy Festival
Sawan Shivratri holds tremendous importance for Hindus. Devotees observe fasts, visit temples, engage in prayer, and seek blessings from Lord Shiva. On this day, girls who aren’t married do a fast to get a husband like Lord Shiva. In the month of Sawan, Lord Shiva is honored on Mondays, but Goddess Parvati is honored on every Tuesday, or Mangalwar. People think that the Lord will reward those who fast and do all of the rituals in the right way and with full dedication. Lord Shiva’s followers celebrate Sawan Shivratri to pray for good health, wealth, and a good life from the Lord.
Preparations and Festivities: How People Celebrate Sawan Shivratri
Days prior to Sawan Shivratri, devotees engage in thorough preparations. They clean their homes; make elaborate arrangements for worship, and purchase flowers and fruits as offerings. Temples, too, undergo extensive decorations, with devotees queuing up to offer their prayers. On Sawan Shivratri, devotees observe a strict fast throughout the day. The fast is broken the next morning after offering prayers to Lord Shiva. Devotees also take a sacred bath in the morning and wear clean clothes before proceeding for worship. Chanting of mantras, reading sacred texts, and performing abhishek (ritualistic bath) on Shiva Linga are essential rituals practiced on this day. Devotees travel long distances to visit ancient Shiva temples, seeking blessings and participating in the grand celebrations. Renowned temples like the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi and the Somnath Temple in Gujarat witness extreme rush of pilgrims during this time.
Fasting and Devotion: Observing Vrat and its significance on Sawan Shivratri
Shravan Shivratri is a celebration of the union of Shakti and Lord Shiv, the two most revered deities in Hinduism. According to the tale, Indian women who aren’t married are told to fast on all Mondays of Sawan to get a good husband like Lord Shiva. Shiva or Mahadeva is known for giving his followers moksha, or the ultimate happiness. Because of this, Sawan Shivratri is very important to his followers. Thousands of people who worship Shiva go to Shiva shrines and do Rudrabhishek, Maha Mrityunjaya Puja, or another kind of puja to ask Lord Shiva to protect them from all dangers, diseases, and bad luck and to give them good health.
Sawan Shivratri and Mahashivratri
Many people think Shivratri and Sawan Shivratri are same but both are different and also celebrated on different months. Shivratri falls on the 14th day of every lunar month, or the day before the new moon, according to the Hindu calendar. Therefore there are total 12 Shivratri in a year. Since this kind of day also happens in the month of Sawan, or Shravan, it is called Sawan Shivratri. On Sawan Shivratri, people who worship Lord Shiva fast and do prayers to respect him. But Maha Shivratri is the most spiritually important day. It falls on February or March. It is thought to be the day that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married. There are a lot of other tales and stories connected to Maha Shivratri. They stay awake all night and pray in the name of Lord Shiva. The biggest difference between Shivratri and Mahashivratri is that Shivratri is a religious observance and Mahashivratri is a grand festival.
Rituals and Customs during Sawan Shivratri
During Sawan Shivratri, devotees of Lord Shiva perform different rituals in order to make their lord happy and seek his blessings. Some of them are:
1. Fasting: Fasting is a prevalent practice during Sawan Shivratri, it makes body and mind pure. Devotees observe a strict fast throughout the day and break it on another day. Some individuals opt for a complete waterless fast, while others consume fruits and dairy products.
2. Rudrabhishek (Holy Bath): Devotees take part in the holy bath of Lord Shiva’s idol or Shiva Lingam. They pour sacred water, honey, milk, curd, and other substances on the Lingam as a mark of reverence. The ritual symbolizes purification and removal of negativity from one’s life.
3. Prayers and Chants: Devotees often spend the entire day of Sawan Shivratri chanting the sacred mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” and singing devotional hymns in praise of Lord Shiva. This practice is believed to protect against evil forces and bring peace and prosperity.
4. Visiting Shiva Temples: People flock to Shiva temples on Sawan Shivratri to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. Temples are decorated with flowers, lights, and intricate artworks, creating a divine ambiance. Devotees offer flowers, bel leaves (Bilva Patra), and sweets to Lord Shiva as a token of their devotion.
5. Kanwar Yatra: Kanwar Yatra is a pilgrimage undertaken by devotees, often barefoot, to collect holy water from the Ganges to offer to Lord Shiva. In Kanwar Yatra, devotees go to holy rivers to get water and carry Kanwars on their shoulders to give it to the Shivlinga in the shrines closest to them. These devotees, known as Kanwariyas, travel long distances while chanting devotional songs. Every year, lakhs of sincere devotees go on this journey. Also, it is said that the holy water shouldn’t be put on the floor or anywhere else until it is given to Lord Shiva.
Sawan Shivratri in Varanasi
The month of Sawan is all about Lord Shiva. Since this city is Lord Shiva’s home, the spirituality of this holy month will mesmerize you. Sawan Shivratri is a significant Hindu festival celebrated with great fervor in Varanasi. Considered one of the most sacred cities in India, Varanasi attracts thousands of devotees during this auspicious occasion. The city comes alive with vibrant decorations and religious rituals. Devotees from all walks of life gather at the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple, to offer special prayers and seek blessings. All the temples dedicated to Shiva and the route to that temple witness heavy crowd. Most of the schools and colleges remain closed on Sawan Somwar due to excessive crowd. The streets of Varanasi are adorned with colorful flowers and traditional music, creating a lively and festive atmosphere. It is believed that observing fasts, reciting prayers, and performing holy rituals on this day can bring prosperity and spiritual enlightenment. In many places fairs are organised as “Sawan Mela”. The celebration of Sawan Shivratri in Varanasi is an unforgettable experience that truly showcases the devotion and religious zeal of the people towards Lord Shiva.