Devotees throng Shiva temples to celebrate Maha Shivaratri

Image courtesy: Flickr/Sam valadi/Creative Commons

Devotees thronged Lord Shiva’s temples since early morning on Monday across southern states on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri. Devotees fast and worship Lord Shiva on this day—the exercise lasts until the following morning.

Lord Shiva’s temples in cities like Srikalahasti, Srisailam, Rajahmundry and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh were crowded from early hours of the day. Lakhs of devotees are believed to have taken a holy dip in the river Godavari. Special pujas and rituals marked the occasion across all temples.

Mallikarjunaswamy temple in Srishailam, which is one of the 12 ‘jyotirling’ temples in the country, saw several worshippers queued up since early morning. In Srikalahasti, Lord Shiva is worshipped as Srikalahasteeswara at the temple. The temple administration had facilitated the darshan of the temple deity to numerous devotees who had gathered at the premises since midnight on Sunday.

Special buses plied from Tirupati to Srikalahasti since Sunday. Special pujas and rituals were organised at Kapileswaralayam in Tirupati. In coastal Andhra Pradesh, devotees queued up outside Lord Shiva’s temples in Amaravati, Bheemavaram, Palakollu, Draksharamam, Samarlakota and Kotappakonda.

In Telangana, routine rituals were cancelled at the Rajanna temple in Vemulawada of the Karimnagar district. The administration made ample arrangements to meet the extra rush. Numerous devotees also gathered at the Sriramalingeswaraswamy temple in Keesaragutta of the Rangareddy district. Minister Indrakaran Reddy (of the Telangana state endowment department) also visited the deity.

In Karnataka, devotees from various districts visited the Manjunathaswamy temple in Dharmasthala (one of the well-known pilgrimage spots in India). People usually make the trip by walk, a ritual called padayatra, to visit the deity of Manjunathaswamy. In Bangalore, devotees visited Lord Shiva’s temples such as Kadu Mallewaraswamy in Malleswaram and Kemp Fort Shiva Temple on Old Airport Road. In Mangalore, a large number of devotees thronged the Kadri temple to worship Lord Manjunathaswamy.

Tamil Nadu is believed to have the largest number of Shiva temples in the country and several worshippers visit the Ramanathaswamy temple in Rameswaram on the ocassion of Maha Shivaratri.

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