Pradosham, the worship of Lord Shiva occurs on the thirteenth day of every fortnight. Pradosham is performed in all Shiva temples when thrayodasi thithi falls between 4-30 PM to 6 PM. Pradosh means early night or sandhyakaala. On the auspicious day of Pradosham, Lord Shiva together with Goddess Parvati feels extremely delighted, pleased and generous. Therefore the followers of Lord Shiva keep a fast and worship their deity on this chosen day to seek divine blessings. The Pradosh vrat can be observed by all irrespective of the age and gender. People in different parts of the country observe this vrat with full devotion and dedication.
On pradosham day evening, a preliminary puja is performed where Lord Shiva is worshipped along with Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesh, Lord Kartik and Nandi. After which there is a ritual where Lord Shiva is worshipped and invoked in a sacred pot or ‘Kalasha’. This Kalasha is kept on the darbha grass with lotus drawn on it and is filled with water. The Shivling is given a bath with sacred substances like milk, curd, tender coconut, honey and ghee. The puja is performed and the devotees offer Bilva leaves on the Shivling. All the abhisheka, puja and alankara formalities are performed to Nandi also.
After this ritual, the devotees listen to the Pradosha vrat katha or read stories from the Shiva Purana. The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is enchanted 108 times.After the puja is over, the water from the Kalasha is partaken and the devotees apply the sacred ash on their forehead.
The Devas, the celestial deities approached Lord Shiva on a thrayodasi day evening, to get relief from Asuras. Shiva aided them with his Vahana Nandi to kill the asuras. So, we celebrate Pradosham to get relief from hurdles and worries in our day-to-day life.
Shani Pradosham, the pradosham falling on a Saturday corresponding to planet saturn is considered important among other pradosham. There is a special legend for Shani pradosham. The Ujjain king Chandrasen was a devotee of Lord Shiva. On a prodosham day(saturday), he was worshipping Lord Shiva. His enemy kings sent demon Dushan(who was blessed by Lord Brahma to be invisible) to attack the Ujjain kingdom. Lord Shiva appeared in the form of light and destroyed the enemies of Chandrasen. It is believed that people worshipping Shiva on a Shani Pradosha would be free from the fear of death and diseases.
Let us offer our sincere prayers to Lord Shiva on this holy pradosham day.