Lord Shiva, one of the deities of the Hindu Trinity, is also also known by other names like Kalyankari, Baba Bholenaath,, Shiv Shankar, Shiv ji, Neel Kanth,Rudra etc .Out of all the Hindu deities, Lord Shiv Shankar is the most popular. Not only is he the king of all Gods, even the demon kings worshipped him—the most common example is of Ravana- the great Demon king of Lanka. Even today, throughout the World, the followers of Hinduism worship Lord Shiva. His popularity among His devotees is because of His simplicity and so He is often called Bhole Baba.The method of worshipping Lord Shiva is considered very simple. It is believed that if one worships Lord Shiva with sincerity, He gets pleased very soon. While worshipping Him, one need not go into intricate details. The simple process of worshipping Him includes, pouring water on the ‘Ling’, placing ‘Bel’ leaves on it and staying awake the whole night singing bhajans in His name. He is happy with just this.
Lord Shiva is worshipped on Mondays every week. Shivratri, the night that is considered auspicious for praying to Him, falls every month on its 13th night/14th day, but the most important Shivratri falls twice in a year—one in the month of Phalgun and the other during the month of Shravan.
The Shivratri that falls in the month of Phalgun is called Maha Shivratri .This is celebrated on the fourth day of the Krishna Paksh.It is believed that this day marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati .Some also believe that Shiva had performed his famous dance of the primal creation ,preservation and destruction-the ‘Tandav Nritya’on this day. Another theory is that Shiva had manifested in the form of a ‘Ling” on this day. On the occasion of Maha Shivratri, devotees from all over, go to a source of the Holy river Ganges (preferably Haridwar) and collect the Holy water from there and walk back barefoot to their village. The water is used to bathe the Shiv Ling is in their village on the auspicious day of Maha Shivratri.
Shivratri is considered to be especially auspicious for women. Unmarried women pray for a husband as ideal as Lord Shiva, while married women pray for the well being of their husbands.