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People belonging to the Hindu community have utmost faith in Lord Shiva. Also known as Mahadev (the Supreme God), He is believed to fulfill all the wishes of His devotees. People believe that if worshipped with pure intentions and devotion, Lord Shiva blesses that person. Due to this, people often offer various things to please the deity and gain His blessings. Out of all the things that are offered to Lord Shiva, devotees are often seen offering Ganga Jal to His Shivalinga, (the mystic idol of Lord Shiva).
Even if people are short at Ganga Jal, they will mix a little quantity of Ganga Jal into the normal water before offering the same to Lord Shiva. If you have always wondered why Lord Shiva is offered Ganga Jal rather than normal water, then we are here to help you with this. Read on.
The story dates back to the ancient time when Suras and Asuras performed the Samundra Manthan, the Churning of the divine ocean. When the ocean was churned, 14 types of elements were produced. One of those elements was Halahal, the deadly poison. The poison if spilled could harm the entire universe, resulting in the death of every living being. So it was decided that someone has to consume the Halahal. However, none of the Suras and Asuras were ready to do so. This is because consuming even a drop of Halaha would result in death.
Both Asuras and Suras approached Lord Shiva. They appealed to Him to help them from the effect of Halahal. Lord Shiva upon realising the consequences of letting Halahal spill, agreed to consume the poison. He went on to drink the Halahal with Goddess Parvati along His side.
He drank the poison and kept it in His throat. He did so because His stomach represents the universe and the presence of poison in His stomach, would have resulted in destruction.
Since He kept the poison in His throat, it turned blue. Due to this, He was named Neelkanth, the one having a blue throat.
After this, the holy water of the Ganga river was poured on Lord Shiva to reduce the burning effect of the Halahal. This really soothed Lord Shiva and He was pleased. Since then, people offer Ganga Jal to provide the required cooling effect to the deity. Also, Lord Shiva is quite fond of the holy water of Ganga due to its purity, piousness and healing properties.
Now that you have known why people offer Ganga Jal to Lord Shiva, we hope you will be worshipping Him in a more dedicated manner. Happy Maha Shivratri.
Har Har Mahadev!!!