Why do we celebrate MahaShivratri? What does it symbolize? Isn’t it the celebration of Lord Shiv and Maa Parvati together as one in the form of Ardhnarishwar.
Among the various stories that are popular behind the celebration of Mahashivratri, one that is hugely celebrated is the marriage of Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati. Hence, as a part of Mahashivratri celebration, temples in India perform the ritual of a wedding ceremony of the Lord and The Goddess Parvati.
Now for most who are wondering what Ardhnarishwar has to do in all this, here it goes. Ardhnarishwar is the half male-half female deity that represents Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati. It is the symbolism of equality, that men and women are equal, and one cannot do without the other. They need each other to complete themselves and human beings should take this as a lesson.
There lived a Munni (priest) named Bhringi, who was a great devotee of Lord Shiva and did not give Parvati the importance she deserved. This angered The Goddess who cursed him to lose all his body parts that came from the mother, ie, the Shakti part, being flesh and blood etc. But was later blessed by Lord Shiva with a third leg.
Long story short, to attain equality, Devi Parvati worshipped Lord Shiva who to shed importance on Shakti took the form of Ardhnarishwar. Adh meaning Half, Nari meaning Female or woman and Ishwar meaning Shiv, hence, ARDHNARISHWAR.
Here are few of the many Ardhnarishwar temples in India that deserve your visit at least once in your lifetime.
#1. Ardhnarishwar Temple, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh
The Ardhnarishwar temple in Mandi is located on the bank of river Vyas and is believed to be built in the 16th century. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are in their Ardhnareshwar form and are accompanied by Nandi (Bull) and Singha (Tiger), their vahanas (mythological vehicles).
The Temple has beautiful archaeological designs engraved inside the structure and on the stones lying outside the temple door. It is of historical importance but slowly getting damaged too. It does not have a
#2. Arthanareeswara temple, Tiruchengode, Tamil Nadu
The Arthanareeswara temple in Tiruchengode is an ancient Hindu temple, where the half man and half woman form of Shiva and Parvati
The devotees have to climb up the Nagagiri hills situated at a height of 650 ft. Also, they need to climb the 1156 steps before they can worship the deity. Although there are shelters on the way up the temple, people with health issues should keep this into consideration before visiting this
#3. Shree Ardhnarishwar Jyotirlinga Mandir, Mohgaon, MP
Located on the
It is believed that Lord Shiva granted the wish of Guru Shukracharya who wanted to see goddess Parvati with Lord Shiva. Since that day, Ardhnareshwar is worshipped in the form of Lord jyotirling in the temple.
Hope you now know which one to visit next. Happy Mahashivratri!