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Delhi celebrates Mahashivratri with fasting and prayers

New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) It was an early start to the day Friday for Shiva devotees in the capital, with ritual bathing and prayers to celebrate Mahashivratri. Unmarried women fasted on the occasion while praying for a good husband – just like Shiva himself.

‘Fasting on Mahashivratri is a ritual. Unmarried women fast from dawn to dusk and pray to Lord Shiva to give us a good spouse, just like him,’ Shubhra Das, a student, told IANS.

‘We also pour water and a concoction of milk, rose water and honey on the Shivaling while offering our prayers, four times during the day,’ she added.

Celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva, it is said that on Mahashivratri, Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati.

Aarti Sharma, a home maker, said after bathing the Shivaling, people offer various things – and each has its own meaning.

‘Every offering made to the Shivaling on Shivratri has its own meaning. Smearing a vermilion paste and offering milk, rose water and honey signifies sanitisation of the soul, offering fruits represents a long life and fulfilment of desires while lighting a lamp signifies achievement of knowledge,’ Sharma said.

People also thronged temples during the day – with many waiting in queues since early morning to offer prayers and pour milk on the Shivalingams.

‘Mahashivratri is celebrated through the night with chanting and prayers. I got up at four in the morning and went to the nearby Shiva temple to offer prayers. I also prepared special sweets for the occasion,’ said Radha Misra, a home maker.

‘Despite all the activity, you hardly get tired. The excitement and the fervour simply infuses me with energy and I am enjoying the day,’ she added.

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