The Hindu festival of Kalashtami or Kala Ashtami is dedicated to Lord Bhairav, the fiery form of Lord Shiva. Kala Ashtami is observed every lunar month on the Ashtami tithi (8th day) during the Krishna Paksha or waning phase of the moon. The Ashtami tithi after the full moon (Poornima) is considered the most auspicious day to worship Lord Kaal Bhairav. On this day, devotees observe a fast propitiating Lord Bhairav.

Kalashtami occurs 12 times during a year and is known as Masik Kalashtami; however, the one observed during the Margashirsha month is considered to be the most significant and auspicious as it is known as Kalabhairav Jayanti. This coincides with the month of November, according to the Gregorian calendar. If Kalashtami falls on a Sunday or Tuesday, it is considered holier as these days are dedicated to worshipping Lord Bhairav. Devotees across the country celebrate Kalashtami with great fervour and devotion.

Kalashtami Vrat Dates in 2022

Kalashtami is observed every month during the Ashtami tithi of Krishna Paksha. Below are the Kalashtami dates that will be observed in 2022.

Date Day Timings
January 25th Tuesday Magha Kalashtami
Begins – Jan 25 at 07:48 AM 
Ends – Jan 26 at 06:25 AM 
February 23rd Wednesday Phalguna Kalashtami
Begins – Feb 23 at 04:56 PM
Ends – Feb 24 at 03:03 PM 
March 25th Friday Chaitra Kalashtami
Begins – Mar 25 at 12:09 AM 
Ends – Mar 25 at 10:04 PM 
April 23rd Saturday Vaishakha, Kalashtami
Begins – Apr 23 at 06:27 AM 
Ends – Apr 24 at 04:29 AM 
May 22nd Sunday Jyeshtha, Kalashtami
Begins – May 22 at 12:59 PM
Ends – May 23 at 11:34 AM 
June 21st Tuesday Ashadha, Kalashtami
Begins – Jun 20 at 09:01 PM 
Ends – Jun 21 at 08:30 PM 
July 20th Wednesday Shravana, Kalashtami
Begins – Jul 20 at 07:35 AM 
Ends – Jul 21 at 08:11 AM 
August 19th Friday Bhadrapada, Kalashtami
Begins – Aug 18 at 09:20 PM 
Ends – Aug 19 at 10:59 PM 
September 17th Saturday Ashwina, Kalashtami
Begins –  Sept 17 at 02:14 PM
Ends – Sept 18 at 04:32 PM, 
October 17th Monday Kartika, Kalashtami
Begins – Oct 17 at 09:29 AM 
Ends – Oct 18 at 11:57 AM 
November 16th Wednesday Margashirsha, Kalashtami
Kaal Bhairav Jayanti
Begins – Nov 16 at 05:49 AM
Ends – Nov 17 at 07:57 AM 
December 16th Friday

Pausha, Kalashtami

Begins – Dec 16 at 01:39 AM 

Ends – Dec 17 at 03:02 AM 

Rituals conducted during Kalashtami

The staunch devotees of Lord Shiva consider Kalashtami to be an important and auspicious day to worship Lord Shiva, whose fearful manifestation is known as Kala Bhairava. Let us now understand the rituals to perform during the Kalashtami to gain the supreme blessings of Lord Shiva

On Kalashtami day, devotees wake up early before sunrise and take their baths. They also perform special pujas and rituals for their departed ancestors in the morning. Devotees worship Lord Kala Bhairav along with Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi, seeking their divine blessings and atonement of their sins. They observe a strict fast all day long. Staunch devotees also stay awake during the night listening to and narrating stories of Kala Bhairava and Lord Shiva while also chanting the Kaal Bhairav mantras and Kala Bhairav Katha as it is considered to be auspicious. Aarti is also performed at midnight with the accompaniment of traditional musical instruments such as bells, conches and drums. By observing a strict fast, the devotees are blessed with prosperity, happiness and success in their lives.

Since Lord Bhairav rides on a black dog, it is also considered auspicious to feed dogs on Kalashtami day. Therefore, dogs are fed milk, curd and sweets on this day.

It is also considered to be highly auspicious to offer food to the Brahmins at holy places of worship.

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Kalashtami Vrat Puja Vidhi

  • On Kalashtami day, devotees must wake up before the Brahmamuhurta and, after having their bath, must take a vow to observe fast worshipping Kaal Bhairav, the Raudra (angry) form of Lord Shiva. Then, the devotees must observe a strict fast and worship Kaal Bhairav during the night.
  • They may visit a temple of Kaal Bhairav, if possible, during the night. If there are no temples in the nearby vicinity, they may install an idol or picture of Kaal Bhairav along with Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi on a wooden stool.
  • Devotees offer coconut, imarti, liquor, paan, ochre, etc., to Kaal Bhairav.
  • Light a four-faced lamp as well as an incense lamp. Apply tilak with kumkum and turmeric on everyone present and perform the aarti.
  • Offerings of black gram and mustard oil are also made while worshipping Kaal Bhairav at night.
  • Recite the Shiva Chalisa and Bhairav Chalisa mantras and the Batuk Bhairav PanjarKavach.
  • Chant Bhairav Mantras 108 times while worshipping Kaal Bhairav.
  • After the worship of Kaal Bhairav, offer milk or sweets to a black dog and worship the dog at the end of the day.

Kalashtami Vrat Katha

Shiva Purana describes the birth of Kaal Bhairav, who was born on Ashtami tithi of Krishna Paksha. It is believed that by observing the fast and worshipping Kaal Bhairav, the worshipper gains fulfilment of their desires and mitigates their fear of occultism and witchcraft. Worshipping Kaal Bhairav also mitigates the negative effects of Nava grahas and their ominous effects. Let us learn the story behind the birth of Kaal Bhairava.

Legend has it that there occurred an argument between Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva as to who was the most superior among them. As the dispute did not reach a conclusion, a meeting of all deities was then called to resolve the dispute. After much brainstorming, the deities arrived at a decision, and Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu agreed with the verdict of the deities. However, Lord Brahma was not satisfied, and he humiliated Lord Shiva. This angered Lord Shiva and led to taking the fierce form of Kaal Bhairav.

All the deities were shaken at this form of Lord Shiva. Kaal Bhairav descended on a black dog and attacked Lord Brahma, severing one of Lord Brahma’s heads. With four heads left, Lord Brahma apologised to Lord Shiva to save himself from the wrath of Kaal Bhairav. Lord Shiva came back to his form once Lord Brahma apologised; however, the form of Kaal Bhairav had to seek penance for trying to kill Brahma. Thus, Kaal Bhairav wandered far and wide for many years and reached Varanasi, where he washed off all sins.

Kalashtami Puja Mantras

||AthikruraMahakaayaKalpantaDahanopam

Bhairav NamastubhyamAnugnyaDaturmarhasi||

||Om Bhayaharanam Cha Bhairava:||

||Om Kalabhairavai Namaha||

||Om Hrim Bam BatukayaAapduddharanayKurukuruBatukayaHrim||

||Om BhramKaalaBhairavayaFatt||

The Eight forms of Kaal Bhairav

The temple of Kaal Bhairav is often found in temples (Shaktipeeths) of Goddess Sati, as Kaal Bhairav is known to be the bodyguard of all Shaktipeeths of Goddess Sati. Kaal Bhairav is worshipped in the most prevalent form of Batuk Bhairav and Kaal Bhairav. However, Tantra Sadhana describes the eight forms of Bhairav, whose names include BhishanaBhairava, Chandra Bhairav, Krodha Bhairav, Rudra Bhairav, Asitang Bhairav, Samhara Bhairav, Kapali Bhairav and Unmath Bhairav. Devotees offer rice, jaggery, Khichdi, etc., to Bhairav. Observing the Kalashtami fast alleviates one from sorrows, diseases and enemies

Read about Akshaya Trititya

Significance of Kalashtami

Aditya Purana describes the significance of Kalashtami in worshipping Kaal Bhairav, known as the manifestation of Lord Shiva. ‘Kaal’ means time, and ‘Bhairav’ denotes the form of Lord Shiva. Hence Kaal Bhairav is also known as the ‘God of Time’. Staunch devotees of Lord Shiva also worship Kaal Bhairav. Kaal Bhairav is also known as Mahakaleshwar or Dandadhipati.

The Hindu legends describe the story of an argument between Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Maheshwara (Shiva). It also describes the form of Mahakaleshwar or Kaal Bhairav taken by Lord Shiva to punish Lord Brahma for his remarks passed on Lord Shiva. Since then, Kaal Bhairav has been worshipped by both devas and humans seeking the divine blessings of Lord Shiva. Devotees believe that worshipping Lord Bhairav removes all pains, suffering and negative influences in one’s life. It is also believed that one can mitigate the malefic effects of Rahu dosha and Shani dosha by worshipping Lord Kaal Bhairav.

Read About Kala Sarpa Dosha

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