Pradhosha Vrat is a highly auspicious day devoted to Lord Shiva. Also known as Pradosham or Pradosh Vrata, this day falls on the 13th day (Trayodashi) in a traditional Hindu calendar. Pradosha occurs twice a month - during the waxing moon fortnight and during the waning moon fortnight. On this day, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are worshipped in the evening during the twilight. However, in some places, Pradosha Vrata is dedicated to the Nataraj form of Shiva. Shiva devotees observe a fast on this day on the pretext of achieving success, peace and fulfillment of desires. Any Pradosh falling on a Tuesday is known as Bhauma Pradosh while that occurring on a Monday is referred to as Soma Pradosh. Glance through the following lines to find how to observe the fast of Pradhosha Vrata.
How To Observe Pradosham
The fast of Pradosham is observed in two different ways. First, stern devotees observe a 24-hour fast during which they refrain from sleeping the night as well. Second, devotees observe a partial fast. That is, they keep a fast from sunrise to sunset and break it after offering prayers to Lord Shiva. Pradosham is defined as the twilight period just before sunrise and immediately after sunset. During the entire day of fasting, devotees indulge in offering prayers and pujas to Lord Shiva. Most of the devotees spend their complete time at the temple or listening to the glory of Shiva.
About an hour before sunset, devotees take a holy bath and proceed with another round of prayers to Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, Ganesha, Kartik and Nandi. Next, Lord Shiva is also worshipped in the form of a Kalasha (sacred pot). The Kalasha is prepared by filled it with water and covering darbha grass over it. The pot is completed by drawing a lotus on the pot. Shiva devotees also worship the Shivling. The pujas are conducted by bathing the Shivling with water and offering Bilva leaves to it. While the prayers are offered with a real Shivling, some devotees even use a painting or picture of Shiva for the same.
Offering Bilva leaves on the occasion of Pradosham is regarded as highly auspicious. After the prayers are done, the Pradosh Vrata katha (story) or chapters from Shiva Purana are read out loud. The devotees then recite the Maha Mritunjaya Mantra 108 times. The water consumed in the puja is offered to all the devotees as Prasad. The sacred ash is applied to the forehead as tilak. Lighting a single lamp on Pradosham is a popular belief to satisfy Lord Shiva.