Maha Shivratri, which falls on the intervening night of February 20-21, is a festival celebrated annually to honour Lord Shiva, and also marks the day of his marriage to Goddess Parvati. While the festivities see massive participation by devotees across the globe, it is the politico love for Lord Shiva that we’ve seen blossom recently.
15 hour meditation at Kedarnath
In May 2019, a day after campaigning for the Lok Sabha Elections came to a close, PM Modi offered prayers at the Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath. He also spent 15 hours in solitude at an isolated cave as well, where he had gone for meditation.
This was his second visit. In October 2017, he visited Kedarnath temple a day after Diwali. This popular shrine of Lord Shiva was struck by floods in 2013, but miraculously it stood still, while its surrounding was ruptured due to large amount of debris.
In December 2019, PM Modi unveiled a 112-foot tall bust of Adiyogi Shiva at the Isha Foundation at the foothills of Velliangiri Mountains, at Coimbatore. The bust, made of steel, weighs 500 tonnes and took 2.5 years to design and eight months to build. This is the tallest bust in the planet, recognising the first yogi's unparalleled contribution to humanity. The iconic bust symbolises liberation, representing the 112 ways in which one can attain to one's ultimate through the science of yoga.
In a first, seat number 64 of coach B5 in the Kashi-Mahakal Express, that connects three Jyotirlingas in two states, had been turned into a mini-temple devoted to Lord Shiva. The train connects Omkareshwar (near Indore), Mahakaleshwar (Ujjain) and Kashi Vishwanath (Varanasi) Jyotirlingas.It was flagged off by PM Modi on February 16 from the Varanasi junction and will ply regularly from February 20.
Bam Bam Bhole for opposition too
It’s not just the PM who is an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, but his extreme opposition also bows in front of the same deity. In October 2018, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi went on a two-day tour of politically significant Malwa-Nimar region in the poll-bound Madhya Pradesh by offering prayers at the famous Mahakaleshwar Temple, devoted to Lord Shiva.
Clad in a ‘dhoti’, he performed ‘puja’ at the ancient temple, which is one of the 12 ‘Jyotirlingas’ (special shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva) in the country. According to reports, Gandhi’s grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, his father Rajiv Gandhi and mother Sonia Gandhi too had visited the temple in 1979, 1987 and 2008, respectively to pay their obeisance to Lord Shiva.