Shravan Mahina, or Sawan Mas, in the Hindi calendar is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Special prayers and rituals are performed in Lord Shiva temples and in sacred places associated with Siva. Kanwarias travel to the origin of Ganga River to collect holy water, or Gangajal, to bath the Shivling at their homes or in villages. In 2009, Shravan Mahina is from July 8 to August 6 in traditional Hindu calendar followed in North India. Somvar or Mondays in the month is considered highly auspicious for the worship of Lord Shiva.
In Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Shravan month begins on July 22, 2009 and ends on August 20.
It is believed that Lord Shiva to save the world drank the poison ‘halahala’ that came out during the Samdura Manthan or churning of ocean. It is said that the gods in Hindu pantheon assembled to witness this holy act of Shiva. Water from Ganga is offered to cool Lord Shiva and to alleviate the ill effects of the poison.
The main Shravan Puja is the worship of Shivling with Gangajal, Bilva leaves or pure water. Some people observe fast on Mondays. Many people observe different vows during the month like having only vegetarian food, or reading a particular Holy Scripture on all days of the month.
Shiva temples across North India have special poojas in this month. Deoghar Baidhyanath Dham and Kashi Vishwanath Temple is visited by millions of Hindus in the month of Sawan.
Shravan Mahina is also the first month of Chatur Mas – the four holiest months in Hindu Hindi Calendar.
Another unique feature is the strict observance of Sawan Somwar Vrata. Mondays are dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Mondays in Shravan Mahina are even more auspicious.
Mangala Gouri Puja is performed on Tuesdays in Shravan Month.
Saturdays in Shravan month is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shani.
Millions of devotees visit the Baba Baidyanath Dham in Deoghar and offer Ganga water collected from Sultanganj as Abhishek on the Shivling at the Deoghar Temple. This is the period of the Shravani mela at the temple.