Thousands join unique Shivratri celebrations

Shiva Lingam in Basma Alankaram
Shiva Lingam adorned with rice, flowers

CHICAGO: This time it was a really unique celebration of Maha Shivaratri at Hindu Mandir of Lake County on February 13 as the temple management, the temple priests and the temple volunteers all worked with great precision to create Kailash Parbat – the abode of Lord Shiva – with snow – and the Shiv Lingam decked with flowers, rice and other Alankaram to give it a special look.
It was unique too since devotees from far and wide came for Shiv Darshan, Abhishekam, Puja and the discourse by learned priests of the temple. The attendance was huge and many were there for the whole night fasting and praying. The floating attendance most of the time was over 1000 devotees.
Shivratri is a festival celebrated annually in the honor of Lord Shiva. The temple remained open from morning of February 13 to the morning of February 14 for devotees to come according their convenience. Thousands of devotees of all age groups from all the Hindu communities thronged the temple to participate in and witness the special Abhishekams and Alankarams.

The main attraction of this year’s Shivaratri was Kailash Parvat/mountain made out of the snow fallen in the parking lot. The temple provided organic milk and Bilva Patras/leaves (specially got from India) to all the devotees to offer to Shiva Lingam to overcome darkness and ignorance in life and also offer thanksgiving to Lord Shiva for protection from annihilation.

Temple priests Pundit Anil Joshi , Yogesh Pandey and throng of devotees

Four priests: Pt. Anil Joshi, Pt. Ganesh, Ramachari and Yogesh Pandey performed four special Abhishekams and prepared very beautiful Alankarams namely Basma Alankaram, Haldi-Kumkum Alankaram and Pushpa Alankaram one by one after the Abhishekam. Special Archanas were performed by the priests after every Alankaram. In between these Alankarams, Rita Patel, Ravi and Vasu Choksi sang devotional songs. Devotees chanted Shiv Stotras, said prayers and sang Bhajans creating positive vibrations all around
Maha Mangal Aarti to Lord Shiva was performed with all the devotees before Maha Prasadam. Temple’s kitchen committee arranged Prasadam for both fasting and non-fasting devotees. One of the devotees said, ‘I liked Shiva Abhishekam and Alankarams performed by the temple priests. Bhajans offered peace to our mind. I would have missed a life time event if I did not make it this time.”

Surendra Ullal & Geeta Patil

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