Srinagar, Feb 17: Thousands of devotees are expected to throng religious places across Kashmir on the eve of Shab-e-Meraj on Saturday.
Shab-e-Meraj is celebrated as the holy night when Prophet Muhammad (SAW) ascended to the highest levels of the heavens.
The religious event is observed across J&K with traditional religious devotion and fervour and people spend the whole night in special congregational prayers across major religious places in Kashmir.
The biggest congregation is expected at Dargah Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar where thousands are expected to participate in the night long prayers.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Imam Khateeb Dargah Hazratbal shrine Kamaal Farooqi said that thousands of devotees would spend the entire Saturday night in congregational prayers and other religious activities.
“The religious activities will start right after Maghrib prayers, followed by Natt and Dorood Khawani. Later at 10 pm, Esha prayers will be offered followed by the religious sermon. It is a holy night that highlights the holy life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his importance to our religion. It is the best night to refresh the teaching of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and follow it in letter and spirit,” Farooqi said.
He said that the Khatamat-o-Moazamat and Dorood Khawani would go on until Fajar prayers on Sunday.
Farooqi said that the holy relic would be displayed following all five prayers during the day.
Islamic and socio-cultural organisations also traditionally arrange special prayers and Mehfil-e-Naat in Masjids and other places to collectively seek the blessings of the Almighty Allah.
The nightlong prayers would be held in various Masjids and shrines across J&K where religious scholars would deliver sermons highlighting teachings of Islam and various aspects of the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
Special nightlong prayers would be held at shrines in Srinagar including Asar-e-Sharif Janab Sahab Soura, Asar-e-Sharif Shehri Kalashpora, Ziarat-e-Makhdoom Sahab, Khanqah-e-Maula, and other shrines.
Officials said that the district administration had put special arrangements in place for the Shab-e-Meraj.
They said that the Power Development Department (PDD), Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Department of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK), and Transport Department officials had been directed to ensure smooth celebrations during the night.
Meanwhile, Traffic Police Srinagar put in a detailed traffic plan ahead of the Shab-e-Meraj event.
A senior official from Traffic Police said that the transporters and local commuters would follow the advisory strictly to ensure smooth traffic movement.
“A large number of devotees are expected to assemble at Asari Sharief Hazratbal for the celebrations of Mehraj-ul-Aalam on Saturday night and Friday following on February 24. Traffic Police has made elaborate traffic arrangements for smooth flow of traffic coming from different districts of Kashmir carrying devotees to Hazratbal shrine,” the advisory reads.
As per the advisory, different route plans have been earmarked for the traffic coming from north, south and central Kashmir.
The vehicles coming from north Kashmir carrying devotees after reaching Shalteng have been asked to take the Shalteng-Parimpora-Qamarwari-Cement Bridge-Noorbagh-Sekidagar-Eidgah-Aali Masjid-Sazgaripora-Hawal-Alamgari Bazaar-Mill Stop-Moulvi Stop-Botshah Mohalla-Kanitar-Kashmir University Parking on Saderbal side route to reach the Hazratbal shrine.
The vehicles carrying devotees coming from south Kashmir after reaching Pantha Chowk have been asked to take the Pantha Chowk-Athwajan-Batwara-Sonwar-Ram Munshi Bagh-Gupkar-Grand Palace-Zethiyar Ghat Nishat- Foreshore Road- Habak Crossing-Kashmir University Parking on Naseem Bagh side route to reach the Hazratbal shrine.
The vehicles carrying devotees coming from Budgam and adjoining areas have been asked to take the Hyderpora-Tengpora-Bemina Bypass-Bemina Crossing-Qamarwari-Cement Bridge-Noorbagh-Sekidafar-Eidgah-Aali Masjid-Sazgaripora-Hawal-Alamgari Bazaar-Mill Stop-Moulvi Stop-Botshah Mohalla-Kanitar-Kashmir University Parking on Saderbal side route to reach the Hazratbal shrine.
The vehicles carrying devotees from Lal Chowk have been asked to take the Lal Chowk-SRTC Crossing-Ikhwan Chowk-Khanyar Chowk-Bohri Kadal-Rajouri Kadal-Gojwara Chowk-Hawal-Alamgari Bazaar-Mill Stop-Moulvi Stop-Botshah Mohalla-Kanitar-Kashmir University Parking on Saderbal side route to reach the Hazratbal shrine.
The vehicles carrying devotees from Ganderbal have been asked to take the Nagbal-Zakura-Habak-Naseem Bagh Parking route to reach the Hazratbal shrine.
The traffic authorities have also issued return route plans.
The north Kashmir-bound vehicles on return from Hazratbal shrine have been asked to take the Kashmir University Parking on Saderbal side-Ashai Bagh Bridge Crossing- Rainwari-Khanyar-Nowpora-Dalgate-M A Road-Budshah Bridge-Jehangir Chowk Flyover-Batamaloo-Moominabad Tengpora-Bemina Bypass-Parimpora-Shalteng and onward route.
The south Kashmir-bound vehicles on return from Hazratbal shrine have been asked to take the Naseem Bagh Parking-Habak Crossing-Foreshore Road-Nishat-Zethiyat Ghat-Gupkar-Ram Munshi Bagh-Sonwar-Pantha Chowk and onward route.
The central Kashmir-bound vehicles to Budgam on return from Hazratbal shrine have been asked to take the NIT-Ashi Bagh Crossing-Rainawari-Khanyar-Nowpora-Dalgate-Golf Crossing-Radio Kashmir-Abdullah Bridge-Hatric-Convent Crossing-Police Station Rajbagh-Jawahar Nagar Chowk-Jawahar Nagar Bund-Rambagh-Barzulla Bridge-Sadder Crossing-Hyderpora and outward route.
The Ganderbal-bound vehicles on return from Hazratbal shrine have been asked to take the Naseem Bagh Parking-Habbak-Zakura-Nagbal and onward route.
The Lal Chowk-bound vehicles on return from Hazratbal shrine have been asked to take NIT Parking-Ashai Bagh Crossing-Rainawari-Khanyar-Nowpora Bridge-Khayam Chowk-Dalgate-M A Road-Lal Chowk route.
For vehicles from north and central Kashmir, the parking facility has been kept inside the Kashmir University campus through Sir Syed Gate on the Saderbal side while for the for the vehicles from south Kashmir and Ganderbal, the parking facility has been kept inside Naseem Bagh campus through Budshah Gate on Habbak side.
For the vehicle moving from Rainawari, Khanyar towards Hazratbal shrine, the parking facility has been kept at NIT Parking while for the VIP Parking facility has been kept at Traffic Camp at Hazratbal, which has been specially earmarked for official vehicles.