STORY: Devout Hindus flocked to the famous Ramanathaswamy temple in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state on Tuesday (February 06) to mark the beginning of 11-day-long celebrations of ‘Maha Shivaratri’ – the day of Lord Shiva’s marriage to his consort goddess Parvati.
The celebrations began with the annual flag hoisting ceremony at the temple and prayers being offered to Shiva – the Hindu lord of destruction. According to popular belief, offering prayers at Ramanathaswamy temple washes away sins of a lifetime.
It is a very important festival and hundreds of people are expected to visit everyday till February 17, said a devotee, K. Muralidharan.
On the occasion of ‘Maha Shivaratri’, devotees bathe in holy river Ganges and its tributaries, offer fruits, flowers and milk to ‘Shiv Linga’ – a phallus representation of Shiva. Lord Shiva is a part of the trinity of Gods in the Hindu mythology which includes Brahma, lord of creation and Vishnu, lord of preservation. ‘Maha Shivaratri’ will be celebrated on February 13 this year.