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A great day and night of Lord Shiva

Mysore, like many other places, is known for its Maha Shivaratri celebrations. People throng at Siva temples, mainly the chief temple within the Palace fort during the day and the night to worship the Universal Destroyer, with reverence and respect.

The Palace courtyard within the fort has many temples and one of the chiefs among them is the Trineswaraswamy Temple or the temple of the three-eyed Ishwara. After the disappearance of the royalty, these temples have been taken over by the State Government. Though these temples have lost their glitter and glamour after the Government takeover, with meager funds for worship and maintenance, they still attract a large number of devotees during sacred occasions.

On the auspicious Maha Shivaratri day, which fell on March 12 this year, Trineswara was decorated with a gold cover. The beautiful big gold cover was brought out from the State Treasury in Mysore, which is under the custody of the Deputy Commissioner. It is only on this day that this valuable cover is taken out and used for worship, covering the sacred Siva Linga. Hundreds of people stood in queue before the temple from the evening of February 12 till early hours of February 13, with flowers, leaves of sacred Bilwa tree, coconuts and plantains to worship Lord Siva. It is only on this great day that this temple witnesses a huge crowd and an elaborate day and night-long worship. The Palace was also illuminated with hundreds of bulbs for one hour from 7 to 8 p.m., surcharging the religious atmosphere with the beautiful illumination.

Besides Trineswara Temple, people visit other Ishwara temples in their localities, which arrange special worship and prayers throughout the day and night on Shivaratri Day. In these temples, special worship during every four hours of one 'Yamas' will be conducted. One such temple is Sri Chandramouliswara Swamy Temple in V.V.Mohalla, where special poojas were arranged from
6-30 a.m. on February 12 continuously upto 1-30 p.m. and again from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. of next day (Feb.13). A 24-hour music performance was also being arranged. Similarly, the Ganapathi Sachchidananda Ashram on Mysore-Nanjangud Road was another major attraction for devotees, with the Swamiji himself performing the Poojas. The famous Shaivite Centre of Nanjangud, about 25 kms. from Mysore, attracted huge crowds.

Besides worshipping at their homes and temples, people observe the sacred day as a 'Vrata' in honour of Siva. The night is considered the most sacred for worshipping Lord Shiva, one of the trinities, and people keep awake fasting and foregoing sleep till the next day morning.

Day is as sure as night and night is as sure as day. So is also birth and death. The cosmic cycle of creation and destruction goes on. Shivaratri is a reminder of this cosmic act of Iswara, the destroyer. Shivaratri is his day and it is a great day.

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