Indore: Celebrating the day of Lord Shiva, people from all religions participated in Mahashivratri celebrations hosted by various yoga centres and families gatherings. This – the darkest night of the year – celebrates the Grace of Shiva, who is considered the Adi Guru or the First Guru, from whom the yogic tradition originates.

People celebrated the night as traditional night of prayers, longings and liberation. On the other hand, unmarried girls concentrated their prayers solely on Shiva hoping to get a groom like him. Most people fasted on the day, chanted Sanskrit verses, practised yoga and meditation.

The celebration includes maintaining a “jaagaran”, an all-night vigil and prayers, because Shaiva devotees mark this night as “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in one’s life and the world through Shiva. People made offerings of fruits, leaves, sweets and milk to Shiva in their homes and ligams in temples. In Shiva temples, “Om Namah Shivaya”, the sacred mantra of Shiva, was chanted through the day.

Talking about the festival, recently married Swati Gupta said, “This is my first Mahashivratri with the love of my life and I hope we stay together like Shiva and Parvati.” She fasted through the day and participated in the prayers at night. “We are sitting together for the first time in a ‘havan’ together after marriage,” she said with excitement.

Praying for liberation and enlightenment, 75-year-old nurse Annapurna Tiwari said, “Mahashivratri is a night when the powers of the universe are at its peak and one can feel those powers by simply staying awake at night and praying.” She elaborated that the night brings a chance for people to understand themselves and life on earth.

“I normally meditate and pray as long as I can stay awake on Mahashivratri now since we live alone now,” Annapurna said. She elaborate that her family normally organised ‘havan’, which is the best way to attract positive energy.

Sharing her wishes for the day, management student Pooja Rajani said, “I just introduced the love of my life to my family, so I am hoping and praying that everything fits in right place.” She explained that as the night determines the union of Shiva with Parvati, she hopes to unite with her love forever.