Chidambaram is located along the Bay of Bengal, about 75 kilometers from Pondicherry. Known for the beautiful beaches, Chidambaram is a town of temples as well. Fairs and festivals of Chidambaram are popular tourist attractions. Among many Hindu festivals, Maha Shivratri, Chidambaram is the most popular one.
Celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva, Maha Shivratri literally means, ‘Lord Shiva’s Great Night’. According to Hindu mythology, Shiva is the third God of the Trinity. Shiva is one of the most revered deities among the Hindu devotees.
Devotees on Maha Shivratri in Chidambaram fast during the day and keep a vigil during the night. The festival includes enchanting verses from sacred texts, offering fruits and flowers to the deity, ringing bells and praying in the temples and most importantly offering leaves and milk to the Shiv lingam. On this auspicious day, the Shiv lingam is bathed in five different offerings known as the panchagavya. Offering to Lord Shiva also includes the five types of food representing immortality, milk, clarified butter, curd, honey and sugar. Some temples are believed to offer Dhatura as well as Jati.
In Chidambaram devotees visit temples and carry out the rituals of the festival and make offerings to the deity.
Time to celebrate
According to the Hindu calendar, the fourteenth day in the Krishna Paksha of the month of Phalguna is Maha Shivratri. People all across the country celebrate this day as one of the most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar.