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It is said that Lord Shiva is a deity who gets easily impressed. One does not need to have elaborate functions or follow meticulous rituals to please him. This is the reason why Lord Shiva is also known as 'Ashutosh' meaning the one who can be easily pleased, and Bholenath, the innocent God.
According to the scriptures, Lord Shiva is the only deity who resides on Earth, very near to his devotees. Shiva's abode is Mount Kailash which is situated in the Himalayas. Lord Shiva is also a deity who is an ascetic who wears minimal clothing and is satisfied with minimal offerings.
Shiva is the one who neither craves for being honoured by devotees nor fears any insult. He is free from all the worldly pleasures and hence it is extremely easy to please him. It is said that even if a devotee prays to him with a simple thing like a Bel patra or Bilva leaf with a pure mind, Lord Shiva definitely blesses him/her with whatever he/she wants.
But there are certain items of which Lord Shiva is absolutely fond of. These items are generally offered when the ritual of Abhishekha is performed. Let us take a look at the things needed to worship Lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva is very fond of milk items. Hence curd is an essential ingredient in his worship. Curd is poured over the Linga during the Abhishekham (ritualistic Puja of Shiv Linga).
After pouring curd, milk is poured on the Shiva Linga. It is said that one who worships Lord Shiva with milk are blessed with a son.
Belpatra Or Bilva Leaf
It is one of the most loved items of Lord Shiva. It is believed that Goddess Parvati resides in various forms on a Bel tree. Hence Bel leaves are a favourite of Lord Shiva.
Sandalwood is considered a very holy item in Hinduism. It is used to smear the Linga to keep it cool.
Turmeric is a must have item for any Hindu ritual. Hence it is also an essential item for the worship of Lord Shiva.
Dhatura, which is generally considered to be a poisonous fruit, is an extremely favourite item of Lord Shiva. Dhatura flowers and fruits are offered to Lord Shiva after Abhishekham.
Honey is also offered to Lord Shiva. It is considered an auspicious item and hence is offered without being touched by finger nails.
Bhaang is also known as Cannabis. It is an intoxicating item which is an absolute favourite of Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva keeps himself intoxicated so that the world is safe from his tremendous anger.
It is a curd delicacy which is made with the combination of five items namely - curd, milk, ghee, honey and jaggery. These items are mixed in equal proportions and offered to Lord Shiva.
Bananas are considered an auspicious fruit and hence it is offered to Lord Shiva.
Akanda flowers are offered to Lord Shiva during his puja. These flowers are blue in colour which signify Lord Shiva's blue throat too. Hence these flowers are a must-have in Lord Shiva's worship. However, the flower of Ketaki or Kewra is strictly prohibited in the worship of Shiva.
Ghee or clarified butter is an auspicious item for the Hindus. Since it is made out of milk obtained from the cow, it is a holy item and offered to Lord Shiva.
Vibhuti Or Holy Ash
Ash is an important part of Lord Shiva's worship. Interestingly, if the ashes are taken from the burning ground it is considered more auspicious in the case of Lord Shiva.