Introduction to the festival Maha Shivaratri
Maha Shivaratri is an important Hindu Festival dedicated to Lord Shivacelebrated every year on Falguna Krushna Pakshya Chaturdashi as per Hindu Calender (14th Day of Falguna). As per English Calendar it generally falls either on February or March. The festival is generally celebrated by offering BelaPatra (Leaves of Bael Tree) and Milk on Shiva Linga, fasting for whole day and give-up sleep on that night. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the country by all ages of people.
In Odisha also Maha Shivaratri is celebrated in a broad manner with great enthusiasm. Special arrangements are made in the Shiv Temples for the celebration. Nama Sankritan (Hare Ram Hare Krushna bhajana) , Yagnya, Dramas, Operas, Melody, Dipadana etc. are also organized in some temples. People of all ages use to visit Temples whole night to remain themselves vigil. The festival is celebrated in the Shiv Temples of every part Odisha. Some of them are presented below.
Chandrasekhar Temple of Kapilas, Dhenkanal
It is one of the famous Saiva Pitha of Odisha and also a well-known tourist place . This place is allegedly known as Second Kailash. The Kapilas is situated above 2239 feet above sea level. The way to the temple consists of 1352 steps. The temple was constructed in 1246 AD by King Narasinghdeva-I. Marichi kunda & Payamruta kunda exists on right and left side respectively of the main temple. Apart from the holy shrine linga of Shiva one can found the sculptures of other Gods and Goddess like Ganesha, Kartikeya, Gangadevi etc. Jagannath Temple, Viswanath Temple and Parsva Deva Temple is also situated in Kapilas. A number of festivals are celebrated here at Kapilas. But celebration of Maha Shivaratri is a festival to watch. People of different parts of Odisha as well as India is coming to offer a prayer here on the day Maha Shivaratri.
Kapilas is about 26 km away from Dhenkanal. Regular Bus service is available from Dhenkanal to this place. One can reach here by train also. Panthasala of Tourism Dept., Inspection bungalow of PWD and Dharmasala (Choultry) is there, where one can stay.
Lingaraj Temple of Bhubaneswar
Lingaraj is another famous Shaiva Pitha of Odisha. The 1100 years old temple isalways a favourite place of tourists. As the name suggests, it is the King of Lingam. Shiva is worshipped as Tribhuvaneshwara in Lingaraj, i.e. master of Three Worlds. The temple was built by the Great Somavanshi King Jajati Keshari in 1100 Century AD. It is the largest temple of Bhubaneswar measures about 55 Meters height. 150 small and big holy shrines Lingam found inside the temple. One can found both idols of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu is present as Sila and idols of Lord Shiva is present around it. The deity is worshipped as HariHara, i.e. a combined form of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The festival Maha Shivaratri is worshipped as a grand festival here. Pilgrims come here as a large number to offer prayer here on the day Maha Shivaratri. Special arrangements of Darshan and Prasad is made here on this day.
Lingaraj is situated in the heart of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha. One can reach easily here both by train and bus. Uninterrupted communication facility is available to the place both from main Railway Station and Bus Stand. Special station named as Lingaraj Railway Station is there for the convenience of the visitors.
Akhandalamani Temple ofAaradi, Bhadrak
One of the most famous ancient Saiva Pitha of Odisha is Akhandalamani Temple. It is located in the bank of River Baitarani at Aaradi of Bhadrak District. Earlier there was a temple of Wood. But the present temple was built by King of Konika Shri Harihara Bhanja somewhat between 1830-40 AD. The 50ft height temple was built on the stones brought from Lalitagiri Hills and Concrete. There are a number of festivals are celebrated at this place. But Maha Shivaratri, commonly known as Jagar Mela is celebrated with great enthusiasm. Pilgrims both inside and outside Odisha come here on this auspicious day to get the blessings of Baba Akhandalamani.
Aaradi is about 37 Km away from the district headquarter of Bhadrak. One can reach here by Bus. The place is also linked to Chandabali . And from Chandabali, one can reach here by Boat through the river Baitarani.
More articles: Famous Places of Odisha