Shiva being one of the 3 gods of the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh, Mahashivratri is a big festival in India. Shiva with a crescent on his head, the holy Ganga flowing out of his hair, snake around his neck, a Trishul in one hand and a Damru in the other, flying hair and dancing as ‘Natraja’ is a symbolic representation of the Universe or the 5 elements of Nature. In Shiva temples, it is depicted as a ‘ Shivalinga’ which is the ‘Shiva Tattva’ or the God particle.
Jaipur with its 3500 old temples (over at least 100 years old) is endearingly called ‘Choti Kashi’ & undoubtedly has its own tradition of celebrating Mahashivratri in the city.
Though the whole city would be celebrating the festival, If you happen to be in Jaipur on the 24th of February, we have a list of temples for you to visit on Mahashivratri and celebrate the day with Jaipur.
1. Eklingeshwar Temple, Moti Doongri:
Atop the ‘Moti Dungri’ temple, it forms a beautiful skyline to the new Jaipur city. This beautiful temple located inside the Moti dungri hill is accessible to the public only once a year on Mahashivaratri. Be there early morning as the queue to reach the temple gets really long, really fast. The devotees will flock temples to bathe the Shivlinga with water, milk, and honey; offer bel-leaves, and take a vow for purification of the soul.
2. Gaiteshwar Temple, Bramhapuri near Gaitore ki Chattriyan–
image courtesy- google
Located in Gaitore ki Chattriyan, Gaiteshwar Mahadev is a popular Shiva Temple in Jaipur. During Mahashivratri a large crowd of devotees comes here to worship Lord Shiva. Also, a big classical Bhajan evening would be organized here by the Gaiteshwar Kala Sansthan on Mahashivartri, invoking lord Shiva.
3. Ambikeshwar Mahadev Temple, Amer, Jaipur–
This temple situated in the Amer Fort of Jaipur holds great religious importance in Jaipur. To reach the temple one has to climb down steps as this is one of the few temples situated below the ground level. It is believed that the Shivling here is a natural one which was founded buried 22ft under the earth.
The legend has it the King Kankil Dev had a cow that gave milk only at this particular spot on the hill. The King then decided to get the place excavated. During the excavation a Shivling was found, the temple was thus constructed & the Shivling lies at the same place, devotees have to peek inside to see the Shivlinga which is now encased by a circular hole. It is believed during the monsoon season, the Shivlinga submerges in 10ft water.
4. Tarkeshwar Mahadev, Temple, Chaura Rasta –
One of the oldest temples in the pink city is Tarkeshwar Ji Temple Chora Rasta which was built in 1784 A.D with a Black stone of 9” diameter.
One of the main attractions here includes an imposing statue of Shiva Lingam and golden pictographs along with huge bull statue made of brass, large bronze gongs and beautiful bells.
5. Pracheen Bhavya Dwadash Jyotirling Temple, Amer, Jaipur –
One of the old temples of Jaipur, it is located ahead of Ambikeshwar temple in Amer, near the Jagat Shiromani Temple. As you walk up the ramp and then the steps to the temple, you enter a beautiful courtyard which houses a small marble shiva linga guarded by a copper snake, marble Nandi, and a Trishul-damru. A small dried tree almost fans over it in the shape of a snake.
As you move inside the inner sanctum of the Temple, idols of goddess Parvati, lord Ganesha, and a beautiful marble Shivaling with chaturmukh Shiva is seen in the temple. A very peaceful temple to visit.
6. Kala Mahadev Temple, Jaipur – Surrounded by Aravalli Hills, Kala Mahadev Temple is unlike any other Shiva Temple in Jaipur, It is believed that Maharaja Man Singh ordered the construction of this temple following all the Tantric rituals. Open from all four sides, this holy shrine is known for offers a beautiful view of the Jaipur city. The Shivlinga is the presiding idol here along with a statue of Nandi, Goddess Parvati, God Ganesha and Kartikeya. The nearby Kanak Valley and Kanak Vrindavan make the temple extremely peaceful & blissful to visit.
A large number of devotees observe a strict fast on the day sans food and water to absolve them of all the sins by penance. This festival is celebrated by both men & women of the Hindu community. After fasting for the whole day, they devotedly pray to the God. Married women perform the rituals for the well-being of their husbands. Unmarried girls perform these rituals to get a good husband like Lord Shiva. Few people fast without food or water, while others fast eating only bananas & milk.
Some of the Lord Shiva temples observe Jaagaran during the whole night of Mahashivaratri. Only after daybreak, the various foods offered to the Lord are eaten by the devotees as ‘Prasad’.
Here is hoping you all have a blissful Mahashivratri.