Photograph courtesy: Kalyan Kumar/Wikimedia Commons

Photograph courtesy: Kalyan Kumar/Wikimedia Commons

Come March 7th and the whole of India will be chanting the name of Lord Shiva all night long to celebrate one of the most awaited festivals of the year. Mahashivratri falls on the 14th night of the lunar month of Phalgun in the Hindu calendar. There are several reasons behind the celebration of this festival. It is said to be the day Lord Shiva married goddess Parvati. Some believe it to be the day Lord Shiva attained the title Neelkanth as he turned blue after holding poison in his throat. No matter what legend people believe in, Shiva devotees celebrate the day and night with great religious fervor. Rituals range from singing and chanting, to smearing bodies with ash to drinking thandai. Also Read - 'Extend Lockdown Period Till April 30 to Contain COVID-19,' CAIT Writes to Centre

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12 best places to celebrate Mahashivratri in India

One of the states where Mahashivratri is celebrated with unparalleled pomp is Andhra Pradesh. Srikalahasti and Srisailam are known for their Shiva temples and attract a huge number of devotees from all around the country every year during Mahashivratri. The Srikalahasteeswara temple, which is one of the most popular Shiva temples in south India, witnesses long queues of devotees for the rudra pooja and Shivratri celebration. Renowned as the place where a devotee Kanappa offered to sacrifice his eyes to save the Shiva linga, the temple hosts grand rituals during Mahashivratri. It is also known as the Rahu Kethu Kshetra where people with Rahu Kethu Doshas and Sarpa Doshas come to heal their doshas. Another great temple to witness Mahashivratri celebrations is Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple in Sraisailam. Located on the Nallamalai Hills, the temple is reputed as it is home to one of the twelve jyotirlingas. It is one of the most ancient kshetras in the country. You can book your accommodation online and plan a trip to these temples along with a Tirupati visit.

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A visit to these temples during Mahashivratri is the best way to experience Hindu culture and Shiva devotion which is predominant all across India.

Srikalahasteeswara Temple details:

Address: Srikalahasti, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh 517644

Phone: 085782 22240

Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple details:

Address: Srisaila Devasthanam, Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh 518101

Phone: 085242 88881

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So where will you be celebrating Mahashivratri?