Begining July 9, Rachana Mishra plans to fasts all eight successive Mondays this Shravan season. Considered auspicious by devotees, today is the first of the eight Mondays of the Holy Shravan (also called Sawan) that is associated with Lord Shiva and Parvati. During this period, devotees observe abstinence in many ways by fasting, not shaving and even doing penance. They believe that by praying and doing penance, problems and obstacles of life will be removed.
"I do it for the health and wellbeing of my family. It is for their safety and security," said Mishra who has been doing it for past few years along with her family members.
Shravan Month: Timelines and Regional Variations
The Shravan (Sawan) month, which started from July 4 ( mainly for people from the north) will end on August 30. For those from Maharashtra, it starts from August 17. "This time it is Adhik Maas means and extra month. For those from Maharashtra, the first day of Shravan will be from August 18, which is when we expect most crowd at our temple," said Mukesh Kanojia, manager, Babulnath Temple, Chowpatty, that sees scores of people visiting it during the Shravan month.
Adhik Maas: An Extra Month and the Associated Spiritual Practices
"This time it is Adhik Maas (extra month) that comes once in three years. From July 18 to August 17 it is Adhik maas which is marked as Purshottam maas. During this intervening period, Lord Vishnu is also prayed along with Lord Shiva. This Shravan will have a total of eight Mondays in which people will fast and observe other kinds of authorities. Shravan month is identified with Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati. People do all kinds of penance to impress the Lord and go to Temples to offer water and do Abhishek, Rudra Abhishek. Different kinds of offerings are made to fulfil different kinds of wishes," said Acharya Sanjay, a priest.
Offering Water: The First Monday Ritual at Babulnath Temple
At Babulnath, July 10 being the first Monday, people will offer water from 6 am onwards till 11.30 am. "We are allowing only water in liquid offering. This is the first Monday of Shravan and mainly for people of the north, there will not be as much crowd. For those from Maharashtra August 21 will be the first Monday, and we will have police also to help us with order" added Kanojia.