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Mahashivarathiri Celebrated with Fervor at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago
LEMONT, IL- The festival of Maha Shivratri was celebrated with great devotion and fervour at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, located in Lemont, IL. Several hundreds of devotees made a beeline to offer prayers, keeping night vigil and many observing fast on the night of Mahashivarathiri. Braving the cold weather and and dipped temperatures, devotees of all ages queued up from the morning for darshan at the temple.
The week-long celebrations started on February 17th at the temple with daily poojas, homams and sacred rituals that were offered everyday culminating in the grand celestial marriage between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi on February 22nd. Periodic abhishekams (bathing the deity with milk, sandal, honey and several sacred material), along with continuous chanting of sacred rudram and chamakam were performed throughout the day and night of Mahashivarathiri.
Devotees had the opportunity to personally perform milk-abhishekam to the jyothirlingas – symbolizing the 12 major jyothirlingas spread across the Indian subcontinent. The night also saw several chicago-area groups perform bhajans, devotional chants and make dance offerings to Lord Shiva. An added attraction at the temple was the special Shivalinga in ice sculpture form that drew huge crowds of devotees. The temple had also organized a special cultural program in the weekend that saw many chicago area dance and music schools presenting a variety of performances in the theme of Shivarathiri.