Lord Shiva is a Hindu deity, part of the great holy Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh/Shiva – the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer). Shiv means welfare. Shiva is considered as the prime God in the Panchdev Pujan.
In the Shiv Mahimna stotra, Pushpadant has described Shiva in a wonderful manner by mentioning him as unborn, the reason for the existence of everyone, creator, nurturer and destroyer.
The hermetic God, with his dwelling in Mount Kailash in the Himalayas, is believed to be formless, shapeless and timeless. Linga is the symbol of Lord Shiva’s formless nature. The Shiva Lingam is a mystic symbol of Lord Shiva. People pray both to his idol as well to the Lingam that represents him.
Devotees worship Lord Shiva with great respect and devotion. Shiva is considered to be the easiest of the Gods to please and his blessings are said to possess immense power. People believe one can achieve salvation by worshipping Lord Shiva. The word Om originated from the root of Lord Shiva. Therefore when one chants ‘Om’, one indirectly worships Lord Shiva.
Devotees wake up early in the morning on Mahashivaratri, after taking a bath and wearing fresh clothes, they visit the nearest Shiva temple to give a ritual bath to the Shiva Lingam (with milk, honey, water, etc.). The worship continues the whole day and night. There are many Lord Shiva temples dotted across the nation that are visited by devotees and pilgrims with lot of dedication and devotion. Shivalingam also plays significant role in the religious circuit of Hinduism.