Mandi, Himachal Pradesh
Mandi is a small establishment in the Eastern Himalayas. The beautiful Shiv temple here known as the Bhootnath temple observes Mahashivratri very pompously. This ritual of organizing the huge Maha Shivratri here was started 5 centuries back by the royal family of Mandi. It is a week long set of rituals which witnesses a huge number of visitors not only from India but also internationally.
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Varanasi is said to be a very traditional and spiritual place. A very famous Shiva temple ‘Kashi Vishwanath Temple’, is known to be an extremely sacred Shiva temple. Maha Shivratri here is celebrated in a grand manner and millions of people from all over the world attend it. Fasting is considered to be a very important necessity on behalf of the devotees. Mahashivratri is actually believed to be the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati according to legends hence, a wedding baaraat is arranged where a lot of people play the role of different Gods and Goddesses. The baaraati starts early in the morning and ends at the Tilbhandeshwar temple. This marriage is conducted exactly the way the Indians do theirs. People dance in the procession and also consume marijuana as a religious ritual. After the procession, everyone returns back to the temple, offers their prayers and perform rituals.
Haridwar and Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
This place is considered to be the most religious place in Northern India. Lakhs of devotees visit here on Mahashivratri. The Neelkanth Mahadev Temple observes strong rituals for the marriage of Mahadev. People offer prayers at Har ki Pauri and Rishikesh ghats.
Srikalahasti and Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh
Sri Kalahasteshwara Temple at Srikalahasti and the Bharamarambha Malikarjunaswamy Temple at Srisailam are very famous for celebrating Maha Shivratri. Festival of Shivratri is observed with extreme enthusiasm in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Devotees throng the various important Shiva temples in the state mainly Devotees also observe fast and chant mantras in honor of Lord Shiva to mark the auspicious festival.
Khajuraho and Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh is yet another state which worships Lord Shiva to the core. The rituals they follow during Mahashivratri are quite unique and interesting. As a tradition, people in Madhya Pradesh take a holy dip in Sagar tank on the occasion of Mahashivratri in Khajuraho. The biggest and most grand Shivratri celebration is held in the Bundelkhand Region. Many devotees also visit the Matangeshwar Temple and worship throughout the night. The highpoint of the Shivratri celebrations at the Matangeshwar Temple is the 10-day-long fair that witness the participation of traders, peddlers, and gypsies from other parts of the state. Display of traditional fare and a variety of handicrafts besides the rural circus show, magic shows, folk theater, and merry-go-rounds add to the excitement. The Mahakaleshwar temple and also witnesses a lot of devotees from all over the country for the Shivratri festival.
Lingaraj Temple, Bhubaneswar
The Lingaraj Temple is located in the temple city of the country i.e. Bhubaneswar. It is said to be the tallest among all and the Shivlinga worshiped here is believed to be self-arose. It is a very auspicious place and devotees come here in large numbers. During Mahashivaratri the temple is decorated and huge marriage arrangements are made for Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Beautiful fair is elongated in the entire premises of the temple. Devotees carry holy water from the sacred rivers and come all the way down to the temple with naked foot and drop this water on the Shivalinga.