It is said that, in the month of Falgun, on the fortnight when there is the new moon, the divine festival which is known as Maha Shivratri is celebrated. On this day people in India celebrate the union of Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati. It is the day when Lord Shiva devotees keep a fast and visit Shiva temples, offer milk to the Shiva Ling, other offerings includes, Weed leaves, Baelpatri, fruits etc. Hindus in Himachal celebrates Shivratri festival with full devotion and love. There are different religious values related to various parts of Himachal. Here are some of the important and amazing things on how Himachal celebrates Shivratri:
Mandi Shivratri Fair:
Mandi celebrates Shivratri festival in a grand way as an annual international fair is organized in Mandi. The entire Mandi town transforms into a venue where Gods and Goddess from all across the place gather in their beautifully decorated raths. The fair lasts for 7 days and people from in and around Mandi visit this fair.
Nahan Shivji ki Barat:
There is a procession of Lord Shiva devotees starting from Ranitaal temple. This procession takes place a day before Shivratri. A guy dressed up as Shivji with the similar make up and hairstyle on a Nandi pretends to be him sitting on a horse and the devotees around him take the entire round of Nahan town while singing songs and dancing. It is their unique way of celebrating pre-Shivratri. The next day, people keep a fast and visit various Shiva temples like, Ranitaal temple, M.E.S temple, Nauni ka Baag and Paudiwala temple etc.
Bijli Mahadev, Kullu Shivratri:
Shivratri is celebrated with full devotion in Bijlimahadev, Kullu. The grand celebration of the pious day starts with the processions of the Rath of the devta carried around. A small fair is organized here and devotees from in and around the place trek to Bijli Mahadev for darshan and prayers.
Kumarsain, Shimla celebrates Aanchani:
Pahari people of Kumarsain, Shimla, believe that Lord Shiva lives in Himalayas and he is very close to nature. To celebrate this pious day, the Shiva devotees of the place keep a fast on Shivratri and they gather in a common place, and sing bhajans all night and this celebration is known as Aanchani, it is a kind of jagra where Shiva bhajans are sung by the villagers. People cook traditional dishes on this day and then they share their food with friends and family which is called Basi.These are just few places of Himachal Pradesh where Shivratri is celebrated in different way. If want to share any further info, please feel free to write comments. Happy Shivratri! Har Har Mahadev!