Maha Shivratri or Maha Shivaratri (Night of Shiva) is a Hindu festival, celebrated all over the country with much pump and enthusiasm. The festival usually falls every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha of the month of Maagha (as per Shalivahana) or Phalguna (as per Vikrama) in the Hindu calendar. The festival is exclusively dedicated to Lord Shiva which is known by hundreds of names.Maha Shivratri is the day to rejoice…to pray to the almighty for wellness. Almost all Hindus throughout the world offer prayers in the morning/evening and some observe fasting throughout the day. Most people visit the nearby temples of Shiva and offer prayers in large crowds.  

The prayers and worship continue throughout the night and the devotees offer coconut, Bilva leaves, fruits and specially prepared sacred food to Shiva and his divine consort Parvati. As this is a dark fortnight, Devotees light candles and diyas (a lamp made usually of clay, with wick made of cotton and dipped in ghee) throughout the night – this is a symbol of spiritual manifestation.  

On this day, devotees stay awake throughout the night offering prayers to Lord Shiva. They offer special food made from the fruits of the season, root vegetables and coconut to the Lord. Special celebrations are held in some of the major Shiva temples.Shivaratri worship leads to fulfillment of a devotee’s wishes. There are certain days and time frames in a year that enhance one’s mental and spiritual faculties. In such times, whatever one wishes, materializes. Shivaratri is one such day. All this is very scientific.

Going to temples on this day is ok but you should remember that Shiva is everywhere. The meaning of Kailasa (legendary abode of Shiva in Himalayas) is celebration. So where there is happiness and celebration, Shiva is present. Whether in Sanyasa or Sansara, you can’t escape Shiva. Feeling his presence all the time is the essence of Shivaratri. That is the real Sanyasa.
Time(indian calendar Tithi):
Best time to visit: Hindu calender of a Krishna Paksh in the month of Falgun.
Bihar climate in general is tropical with hot summers and cold winters. There are regional variations. Some parts of the state like Ranchi,Netarhat, and Parasnath have pleasant climate even during the summers. Maximum rainfall takes place during the months from July to September accounting for more than 90% of total rainfall in the state.
According to one, during the samudra manthan, a pot of poison emerged from the ocean. This terrified the Gods and demons as the poison was capable of destroying the entire world, and they ran to Shiva for help. To protect the world from its evil effects, Shiva drank the deathly poison but held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. This made his throat turn blue, and he was given the name Neelakantha, the blue-throated one. Shivaratri is the celebration of this event by which Shiva saved the world.  

According to another legend in the Shiva Purana, once the other two of the triads of Hindu Gods, Brahma and Vishnu, were fighting over who was the superior of the two. Horrified at the intensity of the battle, the other gods asked Shiva to intervene. To make them realize the futility of their fight, Shiva assumed the form of a huge column of fire in between Brahma and Vishnu. Awestruck by its magnitude, they decided to find one end each to establish supremacy over the other.

Brahma assumed the form of a swan and went upwards and Vishnu as Varaha went into the earth. But light has no limit and though they searched for thousands of miles, neither could find the end. On his journey upwards, Brahma came across a Ketaki flower wafting down slowly. When asked where she had come from, the Ketaki replied that she had been placed at the top of the fiery column as an offering. Unable to find the uppermost limit, Brahma decided to end his search and take the flower as a witness
Importance of festival:
Shivaratri is an important festival in Jharkhand, celebrated elegantly in almost all the temples of the state. This Jharkhand temple festival has an adjacent Kunda Mela, especially held in Pratappur. This mela is held at the time of falgun Shivratri and is marked by a big trade of cattle. Kolhua mela in Hunterganj is another traditional festivity of Jharkhand, held twice in a year during Magh Basant panchami and chaitra Ramnaumi respectively. There is a beautiful lake and ancient temple of Goddess Kali on the top of the hill. This religious fair in Jharkhand is a vital celebration in the state.
Method of Celebration:
Puja: Panchamrut made of un-boiled milk, curds, ghee, honey and powdered sugar.Roll, moli, chawal, sandalwood powder/paste, dhoop, deepak, agarbathi, karpoor, matchsticks, janeu and kacha soot (raw white thread), Gangajal Bhaang, bhasm (ash).Flowers, durva (tender grass), belpatr (if possible write ’Ram’ with sandalwood paste on every leaf).Aakde ke flowers (wild white and purple flowers), dhatura leaves and flowers, lotus flowers.Green bel fruit, betel leaves, betel nut, cloves, cardamom.Five kinds of dry fruits: almonds, cashew nuts, raisins, taalmakhana and dry coconut. Slice dry coconut finely halve the cashew and taalmakhana and mix it with almonds and raisins.Sweets for prasad: this has to be non-cereal like peda, coconut barfi, laddoo, etc.Thandai (a drink made from milk, almonds, elaichi).Money for dakshina, Book of aartis.

Puja is performed to the Shiv Parivar Shivji, Parvati Mata, Ganeshji, Karthikeyan and NandiA fast is observed the whole day and one eats after the puja in the nightSome people have Pundit read the Rudra PaathAbhishek for Shivji is performed with panchamrutSweets and thandai are offered as bhogRatrl laagran (staying awake at night). People stay awake through the night singing Shivji bhajans either at home or at the templeAarti is sung after the pujaMany people fast on this day and eat only falahaar i.e. no grains and creals. Wheat, rice, lentils, peas, beans, rajma, corn, chana should not be eaten. Turmeric, sesame seeds and ground red chillies are not used in cooking. Full red and green chillies, rock salt, pepper, lime and mango powder can be used.
Mahashivratri fast:
Roti made of kuttu flour or singhada (water chestnut) flour. 
(Buttermilk) kadhi with singhada flour.

Potato curry, sweet potato chaat, paneer and aloo chaat, sago vacla, potato & kuttu atta pakodi in cords, raw banana vadaas.Almond halwa.
Porridge made out of saamak with vegetables like lauki and paneer. Recipe – Sabudana / Sago Kheer
100 gms sabudaana/sago, 300 gms sugar.
1 litre milk, litre water.
Wash and soak sabudana for 4-5 minutes, mix sabudana in milk, add water and boil. Add sugar just before the kheer is well cooked and simmer for 5 minutes.

Taalmakhana Kheer:
Cut and roast taalmakhana and keep aside. Boil milk on a slew flame till it thickens. Add sugar to the boiling milk, simmer for a few minutes and add the roasted taalmakhana.

Sago Khichidi Ingredients:
Large sago seeds, green chilies, salt, mango powder, pepper, lemon, cashewn uts, peanuts, ghee, potatoes and paneer. Soak sabudana/sago in water for an hour. Chop cashew nuts and peanuts, fry them and keep aside, chop paneer & aloo, fry and keep aside.
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Culture of festivities:
In all major centers of Shiva worship, Shivratri, also called Maha Shivratri, is a grand occasion. From the very early morning, Shiva temples are filled with devotees, mostly women, who come to perform the traditional worship of the Shivalinga.

All throughout the day, devotees abstain from eating food and break their fast only the next morning after which the nightlong worship takes place. This day is considered especially auspicious for women. As on this very day, married women pray for the well being of their husbands and sons, while unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to fit the bill of ideal husband because ‘He’ more or less have each and every quality that women want in her future husband.

Hymns in praise of Lord Shiva are sung with great fervor and devotion. People repeat the Panchakshara Mantra: “Om Namah Shivaya”. It is believed that one who utters the name of Shiva during Shivratri with proper devotion is freed from all sins, he/she reaches the abode of Shiva and lives happily there and it is also believed that he/she is liberated from the cycle of birth and death.
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