The MahaShivratri festival of Himachal Pradesh is held for 7 days starting on Krishna Paksha. It is believed that more than 200 deities assemble in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh making the site to be a must visit. The festival is centred on the protector deity of Mandi “MadoRai” (Lord Vishnu) and Lord Shiva of the Bhootnath temple. People visit MadhoRai temple first to pay obeisance to Lord Vishnu and then proceed to the palace in a colourful procession called the ShobaYatra, known locally as ‘Zareb’.
The significance of Mahashivratri to this date with complete surety is unknown, According to one legend in the Shaivismtradition, this is the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance of creation, preservation and destruction. The chanting of hymns, the reading of Shiva scriptures and the chorus of devotees joins this cosmic dance and remembers Shiva’s presence everywhere. According to another legend, this is the night when Shiva and Parvati got married.A different legend states that the offering to Shiva icons such as the linga is an annual occasion to get over past sins if any, to restart on a virtuous path and thereby reach Mount Kailasha and liberation.
The fair is also an occasion when local traders carry out trade in local produce like wool, opium, honey, walnutetc from the regions of Kangra, Kullu, Shimla and from the neighboring states, However, during the entire MandiShivaratri Fair, religiosity is the main theme .