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Maha Shivaratri

Time: lunar fortnight in the Phalguna month ( February or March )
Description : Maha Shivaratri is celebrated on the 13th night or 14th day on the waning lunar fortnight in the Phalguna month. It usually falls in February or March. It is considered the night on which Shiva perform the Tandava dance. It is observed by fasting by adherents, especially. Married women pray for the well-being of their spouses. Unmarried women may pray for an ideal husband. Shiva temples are visited on this day and night. Bael fruit and leaves are offered to the god, who is worshiped in the form of a lingam. Worshipers may hold an all-night jagarana and break their fast the next morning.

Festival of Maha Shivaratri is celebrated with devotion and enthusiasm in the state of Orissa. Major centres of Shivaratri celebrations in the state are Lingaraj Temple and Hakateswar Temple Atri. Shiva temples located at Mahendragiri, Gupteswar, Kapilas, Bhubaneswar and Khiching also draw a large of pilgrims from across the state.

Shivaratri celebration at Lokanath Temple, Puri is also quite popular. According to a legend popular in Orissa, long ago, Puri was a center of Shiva worship. The story goes, Lord Ramachandra himself installed the Lingam in the Lokanath Temple. This lingam is kept submerged, in a vat of water. It can only be seen on Pankodhar Ekadasi, before Shivaratri, when the water is removed from the vat. On that day, thousands of devotees come for a darshan.

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