Sila Charhe; the night of Maha Shivaratri

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Outlines

  • The newa people celebrate Maha Shivaratri as Sila Charhe.

  • Sila Charhe or the Shivaratri literally means the night of Lord Shiva.

  • At few places, kids still make a barrier on the road, making each vehicle stop and collect money from them. 

  • Besides Pasupatinath temple, many devotees visit the Dattatreya temple and Doleshwor Temple of Bhaktapur on the day of Maha Shivaratri.

  • On Maha Shivaratri, married women pray for the well-being of their husbands, while unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, considered as the ideal husband.

  • This is an ancient Hindu festival that's why there is no origin date of this festival.

Sila charhe

The inhabitants of Kathmandu Valley, especially the newa people celebrate Maha Shivaratri as Sila charhe. Sila charhe or the Shivaratri literally means the night of Lord Shiva.

If we go towards the specific meaning of Sila charhe, then it goes like this. Here, Si means Lord Shiva, La devotes to month and Charhe means the day of Chaturdashi. 

Hence, Sila Charhe means a day of Chaturdashi devoted to Lord Shiva.

However, among the 12 Shivaratri(considering Chaturdashi) of the year, people consider this Shivaratri(Sila Charhe) as Maha Shivaratri and take a holy bath plus fast to worship Lord Shiva. 

On Maha Shivaratri, married women pray for the well-being of their husbands, while unmarried women pray for a husband like Shiva, considered as the ideal husband.

Hindu devotees across from 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.

Though every Shiva temple on that day permeates with devotees, many devotees specifically go to the Dattatreya temple and Doleshwor Temple, Aashapuri, plus Kailashnath Mahadev of Bhaktapur, besides Pasupatinath temple. At the end of the day, they all gather and lit a bonfire, aiming to stay up all night.

It is believed that staying up that night brings good fortune in lives. And it is one specialty of celebrating Shivaratri. Unlike other festivals, it doesn’t end as the day ends.

In spite of that, it starts when the night starts to rise.

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

Anecdotes related to Shila 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 got stored in his throat thus making it blue which is the reason that Lord Shiva is also known as Neelkanth (blue throat).

Besides that, there are different versions of the origin of the festival. It is also believed to be of the day when Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati. Somewhere it is mentioned as the day of the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Satidevi (the first wife of Lord Shiva). 

One more legend is that as Goddess Ganga descended from heaven in full force, Lord Shiva caught her in his matted locks, and released her onto Earth as several streams. This prevented destruction on Earth. As a tribute to Him, the Shivalinga is bathed on this auspicious night.

Also, it is believed that the formless God Sadashiv appeared in the form of a Lingodhbhav Moorthi at midnight. Hence, people stay awake all night, offering prayers to God.

Reference:

https://www.artofliving.org/mahashivratri/what-to-do-on-mahashivratri

FAQs

Maha Shivaratri is observed on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of Magha, according to the lunar calendar.

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. Among which, few darns say that it is the birth date of Lord shiva yet most of the devotees believe, it is the day when Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati.

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