Diwali celebrated across Jammu and Kashmir

Diwali, the festival of lights, was celebrated with religious fervour across Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.

The celebrations were more visible in the evening when devotees thronged temples in Srinagar and elsewhere to offer special prayers and light up lamps.

Temples and houses of Hindu brethren in Kashmir were illuminated with colourful lights.

The sweet shops in Srinagar witnessed a good rush, even as Muslims exchanged sweets with their Hindu friends and acquaintances and greeted them on the occasion.

“We have prepared special varieties of sweets today. Many of our customers ordered special bakery,” said a salesman at a bakery shop in Srinagar.

Social networking sites were abuzz with Diwali greetings. Muslims in Kashmir posted animations of burning diya (oil lamp) on Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter to greet their Hindu friends.

A large number of devotees thronged Hanuman temple at Amira Kadal here for special prayers.

The devotees at temples said they prayed for peace, prosperity and progress of J&K.

“May every diya that we light on Diwali infuse new life in those suffering from COVID. On this day we pray for whole humanity,” said Dr Amit Wanchoo, a Kashmiri Pandit and social activist.

Wanchoo said that his Muslim friends in Srinagar never forget to greet him and his family on this occasion. “Their warm greetings are always part of our celebrations. We exchange sweets today; I have received a large number of greetings on phone from Muslim friends across J&K,” he said.

Security personnel also celebrated Diwali events at Badamibagh, Awantipora and other camps in Kashmir, reports said.

Officers and their family members were dressed up for the occasion and attended Diwali parties while adhering to COVID19 safety guidelines.

Soldiers also organised celebration parties in their respective units following coronavirus protocol.

In Jammu, various social and religious bodies had organised Diwali celebration events.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration had asked people to burst only “green crackers’’ on Diwali from 8pm to 10pm in Jammu and Srinagar cities.

An order by the State Executive Committee of the Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction said that the decision on “green crackers” had been taken for Jammu and Srinagar in line with a National Green Tribunal ruling that restricted the sale and use of crackers in cities and towns where air quality is moderate or low.

Green crackers are so named because they do not contain harmful chemicals.