The auspicious month of Shravan or Sawan started on July 14 this year, and the period is very important for Lord Shiva devotees who fast every Monday for the entire month to seek the Lord's blessing. Unmarried girls observe this important fast in order to find a life partner of their choice. The vrati or devotee has the option of fasting during the Sawan month's 4-5 somwars or Mondays or extending the fasting period to 16 somwars or Mondays. Many married women fast for 16 Mondays to ensure marital bliss.

If you intend to fast during this auspicious period, here are some guidelines to follow.

Do’s

1. The fast must be observed honestly and the rituals must be followed diligently.

2. Every month on the first Monday, one must rise early, take a bath, clean the house, and sprinkle Gangajal.

3. Place Lord Shiva's idol or picture in the northeast corner of the house, and present him with Bael Patra, Chandan, Dhatura, Bhaang, and raw cow milk. After the pooja rituals, perform the Aarti.

4. Do not starve yourself while fasting. Continue to eat nuts and fruits every two hours.

5. During the holy month of Sawan, while fasting on Monday, adhere to an alkaline fasting diet that includes nuts, fruits, dairy products such as milk and butter, and selected flours such as Kuttu ka Atta (buckwheat flour), Singhare ka Atta (water chestnut flour), or Rajgira ka Atta (rice flour) (amaranth flour).

6. Stay hydrated by drinking water, milk, buttermilk, and fresh juices throughout the day.

7. During the holy month, replace table salt with rock salt or sendha namak in cooking recipes. Also, when it comes to spices, use cumin seeds, cinnamon, green cardamom, cloves, black pepper powder, red chilli powder, and black peppercorns.

Dont’s

1. The use of ketki flower and turmeric during Lord Shiva worship is prohibited.

2. According to experts, during the holy month, onions, garlic, and spices should be avoided. Other foods and oils to avoid include mustard oil, masoor dal, brinjal, and sesame oil.

3. Aside from these, it is strictly forbidden to consume meat, eggs, alcohol, or tobacco during Sawan.

4. If you are fasting on Monday, skip the full meal or the last meal before sandhya aarti or sunset.

5. Avoid drinking packaged juices because they may contain added salt and preservatives to improve flavour.