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Shivratri, The Great Night of Lord Shiva, Celebrated at Sanatan Shiv Shakti Mandir

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HOUSTON:

Shivaratri falls on the 13th (or 14th) day of the dark half of Phalgun (February-March). The name means “the night of Shiva”. The ceremonies take place chiefly at night. Shiva was married to Parvati on this day. People observe a strict fast on this day. The Shiva Lingam is worshipped throughout the night by doing Rudrabhishekam and chanting “Om Namah Shivaya” continues. He, who utters the names of Shiva during Shivratri, with perfect devotion and concentration, is freed from all sins. He reaches the abode of Shiva and lives there happily. He is liberated from the wheel of births and deaths.

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Every year, the Maha Shivratri festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm at the Sanatan Shiv Shakti Mandir of Houston located at 6640 Harwin Drive. This year Shivratri took place on Tuesday, February 13. Shiv Shakti temple has the First Jyotir Lingam, a replica of God Somnath and Maa Shri Ambaji in Houston. Thousands of devotee’s started coming early in the morning to the temple for Darshan and Blessings. The head priest of the temple Pandit Virat Mehta as always welcomed all who came to the temple. Celebrating the festival of Shivaratri devotees observe day and night fast and perform ritual worship of Shiva Lingam to appease Lord Shiva.

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There was a cultural program in the evening, an enchanting dance drama performed by the local non-profit Kalakriti Performing Arts (www.kalakritiusa.org), depicting the episode of Lord Shiva’s life where he marries Parvati. The 30 min episode was full of colorful costumes and charming choreography by artistic director Kusum Sharma. The crowd applauded the musical play through out with chant of “Har Har Mahadev”. At the conclusion of the program, Priest Virat Mehta came on the stage to honor the participants and volunteers and thanked Kusum Sharma and Kalakriti Performing Arts for helping the temple at every occasion.

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The Maha Arti was done at 7:00 pm followed by Maha Prasad that was served to couple thousand devotees made by temple volunteers at the temple. Over 5000 people visited the temple during the day. Starting at 8:30 pm and throughout the night Four Prahar Pooja’s were held by temple priest Virat Mehta, Hardik Raval, Prakashbhai Adhavaryu and Pralay Pandya, with full energy, passion and thoughts filled only with the glory of his Lord, and ended the next morning at 6:00 am.

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For details on Shiv Shakti Temple visit www.shivshaktimandir.org

Kalakriti Performing Arts next event is RAAS All Stars X in Dallas, TX on March 31. For more details visit www.kalakritiusa.org

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