Sawan Shivratri is a day dedicated to Lord Shiva. There is a Shivratri in every lunar-solar month of the Hindu calendar. The Shivratri which falls in Sawan month is called Sawan Shivratri, while the Shivratri that falls in Phalguna month is called Mahashivratri which means “The Great Night of Shiva“.
The entire Sawan month is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Shivratri in Sawan month is regarded as highly auspicious. In Sawan month, thousands of Shiva devotee visit temples and in North India people have annual pilgrimage journey to carry holy water of river Ganga in small pots called Kanwar Yatra.
Sawan Shivratri marks the last day of Kanwariya Yatra. It is believed that by bathing Lord Shiva with the holy water of river Ganga, one can attain salvation and it helps a person to get rid of the bad deeds.
Sawan Shivratri is more popular in North Indian states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar where Purnimant Lunar Calendar is followed.
In South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu where Amavasyant Lunar Calendar is followed Sawan Shivaratri corresponds to Ashadha Shivaratri.
It is believed that performing special puja on Sawan Shivratri will fulfill all your wishes. The main ritual includes Shivling Abhishek with milk, curds, ghee, sugar, honey, and water.
Legends of Sawan Shivratri
During the churning of the ocean ”Samudra Manthan” plenty of things emerged out, which were circulated among the Gods and Demons. One poison also emerged which could have a bad effect on the living being, the whole world could have been affected and ended by this poison.
Nobody was ready to accept this poison when Lord Shiva accepted it by drinking the whole poison and accumulating it in his throat. Due to which Lord Shiva neck turned blue, hence he also named as Neelkhantha.
But after inhaling the poison lord start suffering from the negative energy of poison. Ravana, a Shiv devotee brought the holy water of river Ganga by using Kanwar and poured it on Shiva, releasing Shiva from the negative energy of the poison.
This iconic episode of Samudra Manthan took place during the Sharavan Month so Lord Shiva is considered as the ruler of Shravan month. So it is a trend every year for millions of pilgrims to carry the auspicious Ganga water “Ganga Jal” to bath Shivlingam on Shivratri called Gangajal Abhishekam.