Pradosha is a day of importance for Lord Shiva and is an opportunity for his devotees to remove negative karma. Pradosha occurs twice a month, (Triyodasi - 13th day) once during the waxing moon and the other during the waning moon.
Praying to Lord Shiva sincerely during this auspicious time is believed to free a person from his sins; hence the name Pradosha has an inner meaning. 'Pra' means remover 'Dosha' means inauspicious things or bad Karma. Pradosham rituals last approximately 1.5 hours and are typically starts 45 minutes prior to sunset.
As per Skanda purana, it is also recommended to observe an all-day fast during Pradosham days (commonly called as Pradosha Vrat).
The term Pradosha refers to the evening time around sunset. Typically, the Pradosha time extends from 90 minutes before sunset to 60 minutes after sunset.
Pradosha Kaalam is that period of time during which Lord Shiva is known to have evolved out of His unsteady state (due to the effect of the poison he had consumed) and performing Ananda Thandava on top of his Rishabha Vahana (Sacred Nandi Bull). During this pradosha time, Lord Shiva is known to be in the most ecstatic of moods as he has been successful in saving mankind from the ill effects of the Poison 'hala'. His Ananda Thandava blesses all the three worlds and the Devathas in turn pray to him.
Lord Shiva is known to be very generous giving away Vardhan (boons), although, he would test his devotees to the core. To those devotees who pray to him during the Pradosha Kaalam, duly observing fast, performing puja, chanting of Rudram, visiting sacred places of interest, He brings prosperity and happiness in life.
Pradosha Kalam falls on the 13th lunar day of Trayodashee during the shukla and krishna pakshas, waxing and waning fortnights in the Hindu calendar months. If, the period between sunset to next sunrise is divided into 5 equal parts, the first part is called Pradosha Kalam and it denotes the end of daytime and the beginning of night. This is also called the period of Asuras (Raaksha Neram). It is believed that each day of the week has different benefits during Pradosh time:
Sunday (Bhaanu Vaara Pradosha)
Peace to all (Mangalam to all)
Monday (Indu Vaara Pradosha)
Positive (perception) thinking
Tuesday (Bhauma Vaara Pradosha)
No Poverty (Prosperity to all)
Wednesday (Saumya Vaara Pradosha)
Blessings with progeny, Knowledge and education
Thursday (Guru Vaara Pradosha)
Divine blessings through the Pitru's, all dangers will be eliminated
Friday (Bhrgu Vaara Pradosha)
Nullifying (negativeness) opposition
Saturday (Sthira Vaara Pradosha)
Elevation (promotion) getting back the lost wealth
The grace of Lord Shiva can eliminate diseases, ill-wishers, and destroy negative force or energy or karma within a person and from outside elements. In order to obtain the blessings of Shiva the rituals done on a Saturday Pradosha or Monday Pradosha is said to be extremely auspicious.
Mahaa Pradosh Kalam comes yearly during the month of Maagh/Maashi (U’ma’ +’Shi’Va) before Mahaa Shiv Raatri. If the Mahaa Pradosha comes on Saturday, it is called Shani Maha Pradosha. Saturday is the day when Lord Shiva swallowed poison and this is called Shani (Sthira in Samskritam) Pradosha. It is categorized into three categories of importance depending upon the month on which Pradosha falls:
Uttama Sthira Pradosha - Maximum power: The Sthira Pradosha that comes during the months of Chaitra, Vaishaakh, Aashaadh and Kaartik during the Growing Lunar Cycle (Shukla Paksha), i.e from New to Full moon period.
Madhyama Sthira Pradosha - Normal power: The Sthira Pradosha that comes during the months of Chaitra, Vaishaakh, Aashaadh and Kaartik during Diminishing Lunar Cycle (Krishn Paksha), ie Full to New moon period.
Adhama Sthira Pradosha - Minimum power: All the other Sthira Pradosha.
The Pradosha that falls on any Saturday is called Maha Pradosha (Sthira Pradosh).
Somavara Maha Pradosha is an important day for Lord Shiva and this day gives an opportunity to remove negative karma and seek blessings to destroy diseases, and to seek righteous victories.
One of the names of Lord Shiva is Soma, Lord Someshwara means the one who adores the Crescent Moon (the Soma) on His matted hair. Soma also means – Saha Uma (Goddess Parvathi). Somavara (Monday) is not only very auspicious for Lord Shiva but for Goddess Parvathi too.