Srinagar/ Jammu, Feb 17: Maha Shivratri, locally known as ‘Herath’, would be celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety across Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.
Kashmiri Pandits would pay obeisance at temples and offer Pooja on the occasion.
The biggest gathering is expected at Shankaracharya Temple overlooking the Dal Lake in Srinagar.
The special prayers would be also held at Ganpatyar and Hanuman Temple at Amira Kadal in Srinagar.
The festival holds an important place among the Pandits, who celebrate it to mark the wedding of lord Shiva with Parvati by cooking traditional Kashmiri food, especially fish.
The occasion is celebrated throughout J&K and has a special significance for Kashmiri Pandits.
Maha Shivaratri, locally known as Herath, calls for a night devoted to worship of lord Shiva.
On this festival, Kashmiri Pandits distribute walnuts as a mark of respect to the Hindu deities.
The temples are decorated with different colours and flowers.
An official said that the Fishers Department has made available fish at different stalls in Kashmir, including in the summer capital, Srinagar.
Meanwhile, in Jammu, Kashmiri Pandits started preparations to perform Pooja on Herath as per their rituals for Saturday evening.
A section of Kashmiri Pandits filled a pot with water and decorated it with flowers.
Hundreds of people on Friday also took out the Shobha Yatra to mark the celebrations on the eve of Maha Shivratri in Jammu’s Old City.
On this occasion, people from various parts of Jammu took part in the religious possession, which passed through Shalamar Chowk, Indira Chowk, City Chowk, and Parade Ground, and culminated at Ranbireshwar Temple wherefrom it started.
Prominent people including former MLC Ajat Shatru and his wife attended the yatra.
As the yatra passed through various chowks of the city, the participants raised religious slogans while the shopkeepers and various organisations welcomed the devotees.
The yatra was held amid stringent security arrangements of J&K Police and paramilitary forces.