Kolkata: Shivaratri is one of the biggest festivals that is celebrated with much fanfare in West Bengal. The pilgrims go every year to Tarakeshwar to perform the rituals as they worship Lord Shiva on Mahashivaratri that is being celebrated today.
The Tarkeshwar temple, situated in Hooghly district of West Bengal, is 288-year-old. A fair is also organised at Raj Bari- a place adjacent to the Tarakeshwar temple- on the occasion of Mahashivaratri. Mahashivaratri is the only occasion when the temple doors are kept open the whole night.
This is the only temple in West Bengal devoted to Lord Shiva where people from all parts of the country visit to offer prayer. Devotees believe that Lord Shiva visits this temple every year to fulfill the wishes of people.
On Shivaratri day, after finishing morning rituals devotees should take Sankalp to observe full day fast on Shivaratri and to take food next day. During Sankalp devotees pledge for self-determination throughout the fasting period and seek blessing of Lord Shiva to finish the fast without any interference.
On Shivaratri day devotees should take bath in the pond before doing Shiva Puja or visiting temple. The puja begins with the ‘Abhishek’ which means giving bath to Shiva Linga with Gangajal. ‘Abhishek’ is also performed with ‘panchamrit’ – a mixture of milk, ghee, honey, yogurt, and Sugar. Jalabhishek is also performed by offering water on the Shivling drop by drop.