What is Shravan Month?
The Shravan month is the fifth month of the Hindu calendar which begins in late July and is considered a highly blessed month. This month is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This period has a lot of significance in the lives of the people of the Shaiva sect (the followers of Lord Shiva). So as to seek the blessings of their Lord, devotees keep special fasts throughout the month.
Importance of Shravan Month
The month of Shravan is especially significant to worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Therefore 3 major types of fasts are observed during this period which is as follows:
- Mondays: The weekday that is most favorite to Lord Shiva is Monday. It is known that offering Pooja to Lord Shiva on a Monday gets you great results.
- Soulah Somvar or 16 Mondays: People offer Pooja to Lord Shiva and keep fast till 16 Mondays starting from the first Monday of Shravan month. This fast is known to be especially beneficial for single women who are seeking a groom.
- Som Pradosh (Shravan + Monday + Pradosh): This is the combination of three durations that are most favorite of Lord Shiva. The month of Shravan, Monday and the thirteenth day of the Hindu month (Trayodashi or Pradosh). Thus the combination of these three is known to be an extremely important event to worship the Lord and gain unlimited results through the Pooja.
All these fasts follow the same guidelines and are generally auspicious if begun during Shravan.
How to Observe the Fast?
The guidelines of this fast are simple and similar for almost all the above mentioned fasts.
It starts with getting up with sunrise. Though the Pooja can be done till anytime before noon.
To keep the fast and perform the Pooja, the house is cleaned first and then a bath is taken. Gangajal (the water of the Holy River Ganges) is spread in the house to purify it. Then the idol of Lord Shiva is duly cleaned and readied for the Pooja.
The Pooja consists of offering the favorite ingredients of Lord Shiva (Milk, Water, Ghee, Gangajal, Rose Water, Itra etc.) in the ceremony known as the Rudra Abhishek to the Lord and chanting the holy mantra of ‘Om Namah Shivay’ while meditating upon him followed by listening to the story and performing the Aarti.
This fast is known to please Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It brings all the good fortune and luck helping the devotee gets rid of all bad effects of his natal chart.
On this day, only Falahaar (fruit diet) is taken. People sing songs in Lord Shiva’s praise throughout the day. Many Bhajan gatherings are observed at various temples during this time. This also marks the occasion of some other prominent Hindu festivals including the Naga Panchmi.
Spiritual Activities during Shravan Month
Each day of the week during Shravan carries special significance and their importance is described as follows:
- Monday: Dedication to Lord Shiva.
- Tuesday: Dedication to Goddess Gauri.
- Wednesday: Dedicated to Lord Vithala who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
- Thursday: Dedicated to Lord Budh and Guru.
- Friday: Dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi/ Goddess Tulsi.
- Saturday: Dedicated to Shani Dev and these days are also known as Sampat Shanivara.
- Sunday: Dedicated to the Sun God.
Other Fasts: The Tuesdays during Shravan are also significant as they are dedicated to Goddess Parvati. Many other fasts like the Mangal Gauri Vrat, Hariyali Amavasya and Sawan Shivaratri are also observed during the period.
When is the Shravan Month?
The calculation of the Shravan month varies in North Indian and the South Indian calendar. The South Indian calendar follows the Amavasyant Lunar Calendar and is followed in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The North Indian calendar is followed in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan.
The Sun entering the Zodiac Leo marks the onset of Shravan month according to Vedic Astrology and it starts in a New Moon Day.
2017 Shravan Dates
Shravan Somwar Vrat Dates
|24||July||(Monday)||First day of Shravan Month|
|24||July||(Monday)||Shravan Somwar Vrat|
|31||July||(Monday)||Shravan Somwar Vrat|
|07||August||(Monday)||Shravan Somwar Vrat|
|14||August||(Monday)||Shravan Somwar Vrat|
|21||August||(Monday)||Last day of Shravan Month|
This is an annual pilgrimage that is undertaken by devotees of Lord Shiva on foot and these devotees are also known as Kanvaris in the Hindu mythology. These devotees travel to the four important pilgrimage places of Gaumukh, Haridwar, Gangotri and Sultanganj to fetch the holy waters of the River Ganges. This holy water is then offered to Baba Baidyanath in Devgarh by the Kanvaris.
The Kanvaris throughout the country also visit the special rivers based on their accessibility like the River Narmada, River Kshipra and other holy rivers of Southern India and offer the water to the special Jyotir Lingas of the country.
The Beginning and End of the Kanwad Yatra
The Kanvaris wear saffron clothes during the Yatra and they start travelling from the source of the river like the Gangotri or Gaumukh in Uttarakhand and move throughout the course of the River and offer their water at Baidyanath. Similar Abhisheks are also conducted at places like Allahabad and Varanasi. Shravani Melas or fairs are conducted in Deogarh in Jharkhand where thousands of devotees bring the holy water.
The total distance is about 110 kms and after reaching their hometown, the Kanvaris also perform a special Abhishek at their home after bathing in the Ganges water.
Thus, it is no surprise that Hindus hold the month of Shravan with utmost respect and devotion given the massive amount of blessings and good fortune this brings in to their lives and gives them a chance to appease their most favorite Lord Shiva.