Har Har Mahadev!
The auspicious month of Shravan or Sawan has commenced and all the Lord Shiva bhakts are immersed in the devotion of the god. According to Hindi calendar, a Shivaratri takes place in every lunisolar month. It falls on the 13th night/14th day of the month. However, ‘Maha Shivaratri’ is different. It is celebrated once a year either in February or March (Magha), before the arrival of Summer.
Maha Shivratri means ‘the Great Night of Shiva’. The Shivratri which occurs in the month of Shravan is called ‘Sawan Shivaratri or Shravan Shivaratri’. Devotees throng Shiva-Parvati temples in huge numbers from early morning and offer water (jal) or Ganga Jal to the god (Shivalinga).
During the month of Shravan or Sawan, devotees observe fasts on Mondays and visit Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati temples. Special pujas are also conducted in some temples during Shravan month. Gangajal Abhishekam is performed by various bhakts during this time.
Sawan Shivaratri is more popular in North Indian states – Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar where Purnimant Lunar Calendar is followed. In Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu where Amavasyant Lunar Calendar is followed Sawan Shivaratri corresponds to Ashadha Shivaratri.