Millions of Hindu devotees visit Shiva temples in the Hindi month of Shravan in North India and offer Gangajal or holy water from River Ganga, to Lord Shiva. The water is used to bath Shivling at temples, sacred places and in homes. Shrawan Month, also referred as Saawan, is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Mondays, or Somwar, in the month are considered highly auspicious.
The famous Samudra Manthan (churning of ocean) episode in Hinduism took place in the Shravan month and among the things that came out during the churning were 14 types of rubies. Gods (Devas) and demons (Asuras) who were churning the ocean distributed 13 rubies among them. The 14th ruby was the poison called ‘halahal’ and it had the power to destroy all the living beings. Lord Shiva drank ‘halahal’ to save the world and it was stored in his throat and from this day Lord Shiva came to be known as Neelkanth.
To reduce the effect of poison ‘halahal’ on Shiva all the Devas that were witnessing the Samudra Manthan poured Gangajal on Shiva. This tradition is even today continued in most of the major temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. This ritual is widely performed in the Shravan month in North India by Hindu devotees.It is widely believed that Lord Shiva blesses those who bath him in holy water from River Ganga. Kanwarias in large number visit Shiva shrines like Baba Baidyanath Dham in Deoghar and Kashi Vishwanath Temple in the month.
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