Braving bone-chilling cold, thousands of devotees from across Kashmir visited revered Hazratbal shrine here to offer congregational prayers on Friday following Eid-Milad-un-Nabi (SAW).
While the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was observed on Monday, devotees in the Kashmir also observe Friday following Eid-e-Milad with religious fervor.
The Milad celebrations started on 1st Rabi-ul-Aawal of the Islamic calendar in Kashmir and ended today.
The devotees including men, women and children visited the shrine throughout the day to offer prayers and have glimpse of the holy relic of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), which were displayed after every congregational prayers. However, the attendance was highest at afternoon prayers. Devotees also offered special prayers last night.
As the holy relic was displayed, the devotees offered prayers and recited Quranic verses.
A group of devotees from north Kashmir's Baramulla district said they visit Hazratbal every year on Milad and following Friday.
60-year old Muhammad Ramzan said he has been camping at the shrine for the past three days. "I prayed to Allah for His mercy upon me and my family. I prayed for the well being of every Muslim," he added.
Devotees expressed delight over arrangements by Wakf Board. "We had expected that Wakf Board would have improved its arrangements. Huge rush of people was expected on Friday and it is very nice that all arrangements have been put in place including heating system," said a group of devotees.
However, there was a mess outside the shrine as traffic police failed to regulate movement of vehicles after Friday congregational prayers.
To cater to the heavy rush of devotees at the shrine, the traffic police had issued a route plan for traffic movement leading to the Hazratbal shrine. They had asked devotees to abide by the route plan.
Motor Vehicles Department had made available vehicles including mini-buses to ferry devotees to Hazratbal. The vehicles plied till late evening.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Farooq Ahmad Lone, "we had expected around 1.5 lakh devotees on the day and made arrangements of vehicles accordingly."
"The rush of devotees was more today as compared to Eid Milad-un-Nabi (SAW). There was no compliant from any side about the arrangements and preparations," the DC said.
He added that besides transport, arrangements of power, drinking water, medical aid camps and sanitation were made for the convenience of people.
"A joint control room was also set up at Hazratbal for maintaining coordination between various departments engaged with the Milad celebrations," said an official.
Social and Preventive Medicine department of GMC Srinagar organized two medical camps for male and female devotees. It had also made available few ambulances on the spot to meet any emergency case.
"We are camping here for last several days. Around 900 devotees were provided first aid and check-up," said a medico. He said that most of patients complained about trauma and blood pressure problems.
"All first aid facilities are here. We are providing free consultation and medicines to devotees," he said.
Srinagar Municipal Corporation, SMC Employees Association, Srinagar Transport Corporation and other organizations had also organized camps around the shrine. Some of them distributed Kehwa to the devotees to get warmth in the present cold while some were distributing free Islamic literature.
Various roads and streets leading to the shrine were decorated and markets in Hazratbal wore a festive look with vendors doing a brisk business.
Eid Milad processions were taken out in Safa Kadal and other areas. Besides Hazratbal, there were reports of congregational prayers from scores of areas of Kashmir. Reports said that congregational prayers were also held at Asarisharif Kalashpora, Jenab Sahab Soura, Lal Bazar, Pinjoora Shopian, Khiram Sirhama in Islamabad (Anantnag), Seer Hamadan, Kaba Marg Qaimoh and Aham Sharief Bandipora in north Kashmir.