Sila Charhe; the night of Maha Shivaratri

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Maha Shivaratri is primarily a Hindu celebration held each year to honor Lord Shiva, the God of Destruction. Although Shivratri is observed in every month of the lunisolar calendar, according to the Hindu calendar, once a year, in late winter, Maha Shivratri is observed to honor the approaching summer.

Maha Shivratri literally translates as “the great night of Shiva,” and legend has it that Lord Shiva performs his heavenly dance, or “tandav,” on this night. Maha Shivaratri is often called Sila charhe by the newa people of Kathmandu Valley. 

If we go towards the specific meaning of Sila charhe, then it goes like this. Here, Si means Lord Shiva, La devotes to the month and Charhe means the day of Chaturdashi (the 14th day of the waxing phase or waning phase of the moon). 



On the day of Maha Shivaratri

On Maha Shivaratri, married women pray for their husband’s well-being, while unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, who is regarded as the ideal husband.

Hindu devotees across Nepal and other countries like India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Mauritius come and visit the Pashupatinath temple (the greatest temple of Lord Shiva) on this auspicious day.

Pashupatinath temple

Pashupatinath temple

Though every Shiva temple is crammed on that day, many devotees flock to Aashapuri, Dattatreya temple, Doleshwor Temple, Anantalingeshwor, Subarneshwor as well as Kailashnath Mahadeva (Sanga Mahadeva), and Pashupatinath temple of Bhaktapur.

They all assemble at the end of the day and light a campfire, intending to remain up all night. It is believed that staying up that night brings good fortune in life. Besides, Maha Shivaratri is considered the most spiritually significant of the twelve Shivratris that occur in a calendar year.

The northern hemisphere of the planet is said to be positioned in such a way on this night that there exists a natural rush of energy in a human person. This is a day when nature pushes you to reach your spiritual zenith. In order to make use of this, a night-long event is developed in this tradition.

One of the basics of this nightlong celebration, one must stay awake with your spine vertical throughout the night to allow this natural upsurge of energies to find their path to the body.

Why do we celebrate Maha Shivaratri (Sila Charhe)?

According to lore, Shivratri is celebrated on the day when Lord Shiva saved the world by drinking poison that emerged from the ocean during Samudra Manthan. This poison was stored in his throat, turning it blue, which is why Lord Shiva is also known as Neelkanth (blue throat).

Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva

Aside from that, there are various versions of the festival’s inception. It is also thought to originate from the day Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati. It is described somewhere as the day of Lord Shiva and Goddess Satidevi’s marriage (the first wife of Lord Shiva).

Another legend has it that when Goddess Ganga descended from heaven in full force, Lord Shiva captured her in his matted locks and released her as numerous streams on Earth. This averted disaster on Earth. On this auspicious night, the Shivalinga is bathed as a devotion to him.

At midnight, the formless God Sadashiv is said to have emerged in the form of a Lingodhbhav Moorthi. As a result, to get his blessing, devotees stay awake all night praying to God.

Some memoirs of Maha Shivaratri

There used to be a tradition of collecting wood and arranging a bonfire. This is now counted as a rare visual to be seen. However, in a few places, kids still make a barrier on the road, making each vehicle stop and collect money from them. 



Maha Shivaratri is observed on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight in late winter.



The day of Maha Shivaratri or the Sila Charhe is marked as the day of the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Thus, to celebrate this auspicious event, we celebrate Maha Shiva Ratri. However, there are more folklores about the reason behind celebrating Shiva Ratri.



There are different versions of the origin of the festival. But there are no results found regarding the emergence of Lord Shiva, thus it is rather celebrated as the day when Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati.



Most of the devotees spend their time either meditating, worshipping, fasting or going to the nearby Shiva temples.



You can go to the Pashupatinath temple. Despite that, you could go to Doleshwor, Dattatraya temple, Yakshyeshwor temple, Kailashnath Mahadeva, Mahadeva Pokhari, Anantalingeshwor, Subaneshwor or Somnath temple (Pilot Baba Ashram).




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