Assam is a state in northeast India known for its cultural and religious diversity. Since the ancient times, different tribes with varying heritage and religious faiths have inhabited here. The number of Hindus in Assam is significant and so it is natural Hindu religious festivals are celebrated with much pomp and enthusiasm. Sibsagar is a place of historic importance in Assam where the Maha Shivratri is celebrated each year with much grandeur.
Nuances of Maha Shivaratri in Sivasagar
Sivasagar, a historic city is known for heritage of the dynastic rule in Assam. It is also home to some important and popular religious shrines. The festival of Maha Shivaratri is held every year in month of Fagun. Devotees from various parts of the country gather at the city to pay homage to the deity. A big fair is set up during the event here. The Shiva dol temple in the city is where most of the activities and rituals take place.
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The Maha Shivaratri festival is held for a period of three days at Sivasagar. The district Administration declares local holiday to handle the rush of devotees and let the residents soak in the festive spirit. The popular Shiva dol temple located in center of the city, is decorated lavishly during these days.
The Rituals of Maha Shivaratri in Sivasagar
While a huge crowd gathers at the city during Maha Shivaratri festival, witnessing its rituals and the ambiance is an awesome experience even for regular visitors. A huge queue forms outside the three-century old temple to pay homage to the deity at midnight. The devotee resort to fasting before offering prayers and they usually offer milk, fruits and flowers to the god.
The fair set up near the temple is a major attraction of the festival at Sivasagar- as it is. Items like enticing handicrafts, cutleries, crockery, decorative are sold here. People from all age groups including the youngsters throng the fair. A lot of monks are also seen at the premises during the festival.
Upcoming developments for 2018
For making the upcoming Shiva ratri at Sibsagar even more enticing for the devotees the administration is arranging for a cultural extravaganza. This will involve artists both in and outside of the state. The festival will be held from February 13th to 15th this year. The artists hailing from Japan, Romania, Italy, France and the USA have been invited to perform at the festival. The district administration has christened it as the 2018 International Shiva Festival.
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A cleanliness drive has been launched to spruce up the temple premises by the administration. Using eco-friendly measures is on agenda as is training local youth to guide the foreign tourists. Efforts are on to enhance road connectivity to the temple and nearby sightseeing places.