Mahashivratri celebrated with great religious fervor

Maha Shiva Alankaram as groom

Maha Devotees & RitvikasGeetha Patil

CHICAGO: Hindu Mandir of Lake County, Grayslake, a Chicago suburb, celebrated Maha Shivratri festival, ‘the great night of Shiva’ with great devotion and Rudram chanting on Thursday, March 11, 2021 from evening to midnight with the sponsors of Pujas, Archana, and many devotees.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the temple management put in place several restrictions and followed government guidelines to ensure the safety of the devotees who came to offer prayers and take Dharshan of Lord Shiva on that holy night.

In the evening, temples priests started the Maha Shivaratri celebration by performing Lord Ganapti and Kalash Pujas. The first Shiva Puja followed by Phala (fruits) Alankaram was performed after completing the Sankalpam, long ritualistic Abhishekam, and then Archana by chanting 108 names of Lord Shiva in chorus.

The final Abhishekamof Lord Shiva was performed with all the rituals before the mid night while chanting Rudram by Ritviksand Ashtottarathat released the positive energy all around the shrine. Aftermid-night Abhishekam, the final Alankaram of Lord Shiva presented him as a groom since this night marks the wedding of Shiva with Parvati, the goddess of fertility, love, and beauty. It is also believed that it was on this night that Lord Shiva had performed the heavenly dance of creation, preservation, and destruction. Maha Mangalarati was performed by midnight with much devotion.

Maha Shiva Puja by Pandit Joshi
Maha Shiva Puja by Pandit Joshi

Temple priest, Pandit Anil Joshi led all the Pujas with help of some dedicated devotees. Many devotees, grand sponsors and other sponsors observed these special Pujas and obtained the magnificent Dharshan of Lord Shiva in his special Alankarams.Melodious chanting of Rudram by Ritviks was led by Raj Gopalan and priest Yogesh Pandey. Rita Patel, Kamalesh Desai and Ravi sang devotional Shiva Bhajans all along the program.

Due to pandemic situation, devotees were not allowed to bring any Puja things or the milk for the celebration, but the temple volunteers under the leadership of Shammi Dhall made a special arrangement in the Auditorium for the offering of milk to Lord Shivaby the devotees. Senior Citizens were given a special time slot in the early evening to have the Dharshan of the Lord Shiva in a relaxed manner.