Unmarried Women and Shivling Puja
Other stories that highlight the fact that unmarried women are not allowed near the Shivling revolve around the belief that Lord Shiva indulges in the most pure and ascetic form of meditation, devoid of any and all forms of spiritual or carnal distraction. Since the places for these meditations were thought to be very remote and sacred, nearly inaccessible to mortals, no man, let alone woman was expected to be around. Extreme care was taken even by Goddesses and Apsaras (heavenly courtesans at Lord Indra’s court) to not provoke Lord Shankara during his meditations, as even the most inadvertent disturbance could bring the wrath of the destroyer Hence, it became a legend that women should not be allowed near a shivling.
So does that mean that unmarried women cannot worship Lord Shiva at all? Not at all, they can worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati together. In fact many unmarried women observe the 16 somvar vrat or the Monday fasts for 16 consecutive Mondays. Monday is considered to be the day of Lord Shiva. As Lord Shiva is deemed to be the perfect husband, unmarried women fast and pray to Lord Shiva to bless them with a good husband just like him. Although these fasts can be kept on any Monday, keeping it in the shravan month of the Hindu calendar is said to yield the greatest benefit.