MAURITIUS, February 23, 2017 (Le Mauricien): Since this morning, with the return of the pilgrims of the sacred lake for Maha Shivaratree, the count grows by the hour. Everything seems to indicate that 300,000 visitors to Ganga Talao will have arrived by this evening. For their part, the authorities are maintaining the security measures on the road to Grand Bassin for tomorrow as well as during the weekend as many Mauritians are preparing to go there to complete the celebrations of Maha Shivaratree.
With the pilgrims taking the way back, the main arteries leading to the capital have experienced traffic congestion since very early this morning. But by the end of the morning, the situation was expected to return to normal. Many devotees, having made their long annual march to the sacred lake of Grand Bassin, are already back and are preparing to participate in the great night of Shiva in the temples all over the country. The water brought back from Ganga Talao will be poured on the Shivalingam during the night from Friday to Saturday to pay tribute to "the one who had swallowed poison to save mankind."
Maha Shivaratree is an occasion for social and collective relations with the participation of Mauritians of different religious denominations. The public will have noticed this year a decrease in the number of pilgrims carrying kanwars and the devotees will have found, along their route, the spirit of fraternity and solidarity of the Mauritians. Oversized kanwars, however, caused a monstrous traffic jam at La Marie. The police will have taken several measures to ensure the smooth flow of traffic. Many improvements were noted this year in Grand Bassin. The temples were repainted while cement structures were installed to facilitate rituals on the shores of the sacred lake.
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Mahashivratri show in Mauritius at Grand Bassin 2017 (2:39)
Mahashivratri 2017 in Mauritius at Goodlands (9:41)
MAURITIUS, May 3, 2016 (CNN): Every year on the tiny island of Mauritius a great pilgrimage occurs. Thousands of Hindus make the rugged journey to a volcanic crater that houses the Ganga Talao, a lake raised up high above the Indian Ocean, for a touch of divinity. There are few similarities between the Ganges and Ganga Talao at first glance. One is a vast river coursing through South Asia, the other a placid lake. For Hindus however, the link that binds the two bodies of water is strong; spiritual and essential.
In 1887 a priest claimed to see the waters of Ganga Talao flowing from the Goddess Ganga in a dream -- the same Goddess who personifies the holy waters of the Ganges. Word of this revelation spread, transforming Ganga Talao. A simple lake no more, it was now the embodiment of a Hindu god, connected directly to the mighty Ganges situated nearly 4,000 miles away.
Ever since worshipers have journeyed to the sacred lake, a cultural touchstone for the island's Indian emigrants and a link to their South Asian past. Today it sits at the heart of the island's most important Hindu festival, Maha Shivaratri.
More at "source" above.
All fear of distress, grief, avarice, delusion and bewilderment exist only as long as one does not take refuge in the satguru. All wanderings in the ocean of births, called samsara, fraught with grief and impurity, last as long as one has no devotion to a holy Sivaguru. As the boon-giving guru gives the mantra in contentment and beatitude, try to please him with devotion, wealth, your very life.
-- Kularvnava Tantra
INDIA, February 24, 2017 (PressKS by Bharath): Maha Shivratri is one of the celebrated festivals in India. On this occasion, devotees pray to Lord Shiva and get His blessings. To get the blessings many of them follow fasting, which is observed in several areas in the country. The fasting procedure will be completed and they will not sleep throughout the night. It is said that if a devotee observes a fast on Maha Shivratri, with sincerity, pure devotion and love, he/she would be blessed with the divine grace of Lord Shiva.
The Upvaas or the fasting starts on Maha Shivratri and ends on the next day which is Amavasya. The major Jyotirlinga Shiva temples of India, such as in Varanasi and Somnatha, are particularly frequented on Maha Shivaratri. They serve also as sites for fairs and special events. Maha Shivratri is observed in all the parts of the country. Maha Shivratri is mostly observed to be celebrated in temples. Most of the devotees once in the day visit Lord Shiva's temples and worship the God for blessings.
People who want to fast on Mahashivaratri should take a bath early in the morning, with warm water and black sesame seeds. Sesame seeds take the impurities away from your body. Wear new clothes which are laundered and visit a Lord Shiva temple nearby. The ritual of bathing the Shiva Linga with milk and honey takes place in temples of the Deity. Some people are very strong in belief and they don't take even a single drop of water. But some people who can't stay without having some water and a little food, may eat certain traditional foods.
For a list of suggested foods associated with Shivaratri see "source" above.
VARANASI, INDIA, February 24, 2017: The annual festival in honor of God Shiva, Maha Shivaratri, is celebrated in the dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha on the 13th day or the 14th night of Phalguna or Maagha month (February or March). This year, Maha Shivaratri 2017 will be celebrated on Friday, February 24. Maha Shivaratri, the most significant festival for millions of Lord Shiva devotees, will be celebrated with grandeur at Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi. One of the 12 Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva temples, Shri Kashi Vishwanath, is visited by a large number of Shiva worshippers from India and across the globe for Shiva Darshan.
The Shiva devotees who cannot visit Kashi in person can watch Maha Shivaratri 2017 Aarti Live online as the official website provides live streaming of Darshan from Varanasi. The Aarti will begin at 3.00 am and continue till 11.00 pm. Go to: http://dic.mp.nic.in/ujjain/mahakal/common_forms/live_darshan.aspx.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple situated on the banks of holy river Ganga is one of the most famous temples in India. The sacred Jyotirlinga shrine is also known as the Golden temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva. The main Deity is known by the name Vishwanatha or Vishweshwara meaning Ruler of the universe. During the occasion of Maha Shivaratri, there is an atmosphere of fervor and joy in the city of Varanasi.
On the auspicious day of Maha Shivaratri, devotees observe fast and keep vigil all night. It marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the Tandava or the dance of creation, preservation and destruction.
On Maha Shivaratri, the Shiva devotees observe fast and offer fruits, flowers and bel leaves on Shiva Linga. They offer prayers, sing shlokas, chant mantras, with the sacred Om Namah Shivaya repeated with the pure heart. The festival marks the great spiritualism among the Shiva Bhakts who seek the greatest of god's blessings.