Pradosham is an important Hindu Saivite pooja ritual (way of worship) observed on ‘Thiriyodasi tithi’ (thirteenth lunar (moon) day of the waxing as well as waning moon phases) in all Shiva temples about 48 minutes during sun set. We call the specific 48 minutes i.e, 24 minutes before sun set (end of a particular day) and 24 minutes after sun set (the commencement of the particular night) as ‘Sandhya kalam’ and this period is also referred as ‘Asura Velai’ (Demons timings). Saints and yogis will not advice us either to drink or eat any food. Lord Narasimha (Incarnation of Lord Vishnu) also killed the King Hiranya during this period. Instead they advice us to us to light a lamp and chant mantras, slokas and offer prayers. It is an auspicious time for performing yoga.
Pradosham worship aims in getting relieved from leading doshas (malefic aspects) found in your horoscope. No one is free from doshas. You will have at least few doshas like marriage obstacles, lack of child, indebtedness and so on. What ever may be the kind or numbers, your Pradosham worship will give the most wanted relief from doshas. Lord Shiva will have grace on His subjects and rectify all faults or sins.
The famous Hindu Puranic story about Devas and Asuras united and teamed together to churn the milky ocean using the celestial serpent Vasugi as rope and mount Mantara as the churn stick. As the churning process progressed the serpent got ferocious and spit deadly poison called ‘Alakala visham.’ The Devas became spell bound and appealed Lord Shiva to save them from dangers of the snake poison. Lord Shiva came to their defence and decided to consume the snake poison by Himself. As the poison was dreadful it affected even Lord Shiva. This event happened on an Ekadasi (eleventh lunar) day. Lord Shiva even fainted for a day and that was ‘Dwadasi’.(twelveth lunar) day. As Lord Shiva lives in every living being, the entire universe came to a standstill. There could be no birth. Goddess Parvathi felt the dangers of snake poison and checked the poison by holding Lord Shiva’s neck. The poison stayed at the neck of Lord Shiva and the neck color turned blue.
The Devas and Asuras got together to churn the ocean, using Mandramalai & Vaasuki, the snake. As they continued to churn the ocean, Vaasuki the snake began to tire and started spewing its poison. Siva came and consumed all the poison. Goddess Parvati rushed and held his neck so that the poison would not spread to the whole of his body. Thus Siva became blue up to his throat and is also known by the namavali "Neelakandan" ( neela-blue colour from poison, kandam-throat).
Soon Lord Shiva recovered from His fatigue and recovered back to His normal health and was immensely pleased and commenced His Cosmic dance with His drum and trident (trishul). All Devas witnessed this dance through Nandi (Celestial Bull and Vehicle of Lord Shiva). Since the first Pradosham was on a Saturday and Thiriyodasi tithi’ (thirteenth lunar (moon) day, ‘sani-pradosham became Mahapradosham.
The energy level of the universe will be high on 13th lunar day. Lord Saturn is the Lord of Karma and ruler of life. Therefore the subjects learn to uplift their souls by surrendering Lord Shiva and pray Him to release from the bondage of Karma. All your Doshas will not create obstacles.
Nithya Pradosham: To be precise Pradosham is the specific time period of 48 minutes (24 minutes before sunset and 24 minutes after sun set) that occurs every day (Nithya Pradosham).
Monthly (Masam) Pradosham: Pradosham occurring on ‘Thiriyodasi tithi’ (thirteenth lunar (moon) day after new moon (Amavasya) day.
Paksha Pradosham: - - 0430-0600 PM - Pradosham occurring on ‘Thiriyodasi tithi’ (thirteenth lunar (moon) day after full moon (Pournami) day.
Sani Pradosha (also called as) Maha Pradosham: Pradosham occurring on ‘Thiriyodasi tithi’ (thirteenth lunar (moon) on Satur day is termed as Maha Pradosham or Sani Pradosham. According to Puranas Pradosham event occurred only on Saturday.
Pralaya Pradosham (Day of Deluge): It is considered as the day of deluge. All souls in this universe will be uniting with Lord Shiva.
Rishabarudar - Bronze Idol
Rishabarudar (a form of Lord Shiva and His consort Goddess Parvati mounted on the bull) is represented as Pradosha moorthy. The icon will be decorated with garlands and mounted on a palanquin. The priests will perform ablution and pooja to Shiva Linga, and Nandhi. Pradosha moorthy will go around the circumambulatory path of the temple. The harathy worship at the north-east corner of the temple will bring benefits equal to the performance of 1000 Ashwamedha Yaga.
All Saivite devotees take a specific pradakshinam (circumambulating) called Somasukta Pradakshinam. Normal circumambulating in Lord Shiva temples will be clockwise. But in Somasukta Pradakshinam the devotees will pray Nandhi Deva and proceed towards anti-clockwise direction and reach Gomuki (place where the abhishekam water comes out from sanctum sanctorum) and pray Lord Chandikeshwar. After this return back to Nandhi Deva in clockwise direction and pray Him again. View Lord Shiva (Shiva Linga) between the horns of Lord Nandhi Deva. You have completed one Somasukta Pradakshinam and complete two more Somasukta Pradakshinams. You are creating a semi-circular pathway which resembles like a crescent moon. While performing Somasukta Pradakshinam chant the name of Lord Shiva. ‘Thiru Neela Kandam’ (Lord with Blue Throat).
Pallikodeswarar at Suruttapalli:
You must visit this famous Lord Shiva temple located near Uthukottai (Andhra Pradesh - Tamil Nadu border) and offer your Pradosham prayers to Lord Pallikondeswarar. You can find Lord Shiva in a sleeping pose. It is believed that the Lord has consumed serpent poison and lying down. You can also find His Consort Goddess Parvati and Devas.