Sivarathri is believed to be one of the oldest festivals of
Andhra Pradesh. The traditional myth of the place says that
Lord Shiva was appeared as a lingam on this day. Celebrated
on the night of Krishna chaturdashi, Maha Sivarathri speaks
of the divine charisma and eternal bliss of Lord Shiva.
Some of the religious texts of Andhra Pradesh indicate the
origin of Maha Sivarathri to the tandava nritya of Lord
Shiva. Whereas some others attach the festival with the
marriage ceremony of the Lord with Goddess Parvati.
On the very day of Maha Sivarathri, devotees come from all
over the state to
temples of Lord Shiva to offer their prayers. The priest of
the temple sanctifies the Shiva lingam with a special leaf -
bel- which is used in all sacred activities of Hindu
religion. The devotees then start offering their prayers to
the Lord. Throughout the entire day, devotees sit in the
premises of the temples chanting the name of Shiva. A fast
is maintained by the followers on this occasion which is
broken only on the following day of the festival.
The kalahasteshwara temple and bharamarambha
malikarjunaswamy temple are the two famous places of worship
where Maha Sivarathri is celebrated with mirth and gaiety.
Often, people come to the temples from other sates of India
to gather the blessings of Lord Shiva. The popularity of the
festival has taken such dimensions that today tourists who
come to explore the splendors of India, make it a point to
visit the various Shiva shrines on the holy occasion of Maha
Regarded as a national festival, the auspicious occasion of
Maha Sivarathri is performed with religious dedication and
utmost enthusiasm across the length and breadth of Andhra