Shiv Khori Festival 2017
Once every year, a three-day Maha Shivratri festival is organized at the famous Shiv Khori Cave Shrine of Lord Shiva nestled in Shivilik Hills with exuberance and enthusiasm.
Also known as Shivratri, meaning ‘the Great Night of Lord Shiva’ the festival signifies the convergence of Shiva and Shakti as it marks the marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati.
According to the Hindu calendar this festival of Maha Shivratri comes in the month of Phalguna which falls in Februrary or March every year.
The festive celebrations witness a huge rush of pilgrims visiting the Holy Shrine of Shri Shiv Khori from all across India to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
During the Shivratri Mela (festival) the pilgrims perform the traditional Shivalinga worship. Devotees bathe in the river Devak (the elder sister of Ganga) to purify themselves before starting the rituals. Wearing clean and new clothing for worship after the Holy bath, pilgrims carry water or milk to the temple as an offering to bathe Shivalinga.
The whole atmosphere in and around the temple vibrates with the sound of bells and chants of ‘Jai Shiv Shankar’ meaning ‘hail Lord Shiva’. The celebrations during the festival include worshiping Shivalinga by offering bael leaves and fruits. Devotees observe fasting and an all night jagran is performed by offering prayers and singing chants.
On the sidelines of the festival, Jammu Kashmir Government organizes a fair cum exhibition for the people visiting the Shri Shiv Khori Shrine with various stalls of food items and clothing. The 3-day Mela is usually inaugurated by a dignitary from the Jammu & Kashmir Government and is open to people from all walks of life. Some of the attractions of this Mela include the dances and other performances given the artists who are invited as part of the celebrations. Even the pilgrims dance and sing to express their delight on the occasion.
Shri Shiv Khori Shrine Board is making many efforts to make this festival even more popular and also to provide the devotees with maximum facilities. Many projects are being taken up by the Board keeping in view the comfort, entertainment and security of visiting pilgrims.
The Historic three-day Shiv Khori Festival (Mela) at the famous Holy Cave Shrine of Lord Shiva is expected this year on February 28, 2017.