The month of Saawan or Shraavan is considered very auspicious for worshiping Lord Shiva. This month is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Ardent devotees of Lord Shiva dedicate whole month for worshiping the Mahadev and perform Rudra Abhishek. Temples of Lord Shiva see a huge footfall in the number of devotees during this month.
The Shivaratri which comes in the month of Saawan is known as Saawan Shivaratri and the celebration and devotion reaches its peak on this day . This year Saawan Shivaratri will be celebrated on 21st July.
Devotees keep a fast on Saawan Shivaratri to mark their devotion and pay reverence for Lord Shiva. They offer Milk , Honey , Gangajal , Bel leaves , Fruits , Milk Curd and Sweets etc to the Shivalinga and pray for protection against all evil and seek Bholenath’s blessings. Fasting on Saawan Shivaratri is believed to bring health and financial prosperity for Lord Shiva devotees. From an astrological perspective, special poojas and prayers are performed on this day reduces the malefic effects of Moon or any of the nine Planets.
Alongwith Gangajal Abhishekam , many devotees also perform the Maha Rudrabhishek pooja which helps nullify all negative karma from a person’s life and helps him achieve Moksha. Taking dip in the Holy River, Ganges, on Saawan Shivaratri, is considered very auspicious.
Fasting on Monday’s of Saawan month is also considered very good for all. It is believed that the fasts on Saawan Mondays earns special blessings of Lord Shiva for his devotees. This fast is beneficial for all who have most faith in Lord Shiva.
There are many legends behind the origin of Saawan Shivaratri , One is the marriage of Lord Shiva & Maa Parvati. Second as per stories , two greatest forces in the universe , Lord Shiva and Shakti were united on Saawan Shivaratri and third is when Lord Shiva consumed the deadly poison which came out of Samundra Manthan as King Raavana who was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva offered his deity gangajal to assuage the effect of poison on Lord Shiva.
The practice of offering gangajal to shivalinga is specially seen in north india, when devotees (Kanvariyas) carry the holy water from Gangotri on Kaavad and walk to their destinations many miles away.
Har Har Mahadev