Abhishekam is act of pouring water, milk and flowers constantly on shivlinga while purohit is chanting the mantras. This ritual is done to be blessed with good health and wealth and remove negative energy. The Abhishekam performed in the temple premises of Sri Vishwanath has a special reverence because this temple is considered to be one of the 12 jyotirlingas. The complete sight of the surroundings of the temple fills the heart with a sense of fulfillment and bliss.
In popular Hinduism, Shiva is often represented as a destructive aspect of Brahman and entitled 'The Destroyer.' This is merely one attribute, as there are many different groups and sects who hold Shiva, or any of his different forms and associated Deities, as the Supreme Being and attribute different titles onto him. Popular Puja may take an eclectic or North Indian style, whereas more specific sects or castes may have their own specific forms. General worship of Shiva is quite diverse and can range from worshipping an anthropomorphic murti (Such as the famous Tamil Nataraja statues from the ancient Chola Kingdom), a Lingam (one of Shiva's main symbols), a deified landmark (such as the Ganges or Mount Kailash) or not worshipping a symbol at all (as in the case of the Lingayats).
The Puranas are a collection of texts describing the feats of various Gods and Figures from Hindu Cosmology. The texts are organized by their focus on one of the major Devas, and explore the feats and legends of those Gods. Among the most important attributed to Shiva is the Shiva Purana, which describes in various stories the mythological origins of puja implements and taboos. An example might be the taboo of offering Magnolia champaca and Ketaki flowers to Shiva, each given a justification grounded in an episode from mythology.
Shiva Abhishekam is usually performed to a Lingam representing his manifestation as a creator of good (by destroying evil).
In many temples, one finds a vessel hung over the Lingam called thaara paathra, that continuously drips water or other offerings onto the Lingam in deference to Shiva's desire for Abhisheka.
Some of the common items used for Shiva Abhisheka are
- Tender Coconut water
- Vibhuti (holy ash)
- Panchamruta (Curd based delicacy consisting of Panch(5) items: Milk, Sugar, Ghee (clarified butter), Honey, curd)
- Sandalwood Paste
- Ghee (Clarified butter)
- Fragrant oils
- Bael leaves
Since Shiva is said to wear Nageshwara (Snake God) as an ornament around his neck, it is said that the fragrance of Aloe (which attracts snakes) is also a very holy item to be used for the worship of Shiva.
In contrast, it said that Lord Vishnu is Alankara Priyar (Desirous of ornamentation). Hence Vishnu Sthalas (places of worship of Lord Vishnu) have elaborately carved idols of Lord Vishnu with the alankaram (decoration ceremony) post the abhishekam, being a very elaborate ritual.
In any discussion of Hinduism, it is important to remember that these rituals are an offshoot of the interpretation of Vedas, the holy text of Hindus. These texts by themselves do not outline the deities or rituals for their worship thereof.