Herath celebrated with gaiety

Devotees throng Shankaracharya Temple
Many local Pandits had gathered at the temple to celebrate the event.
Many local Pandits had gathered at the temple to celebrate the event.GK Photo

Srinagar: The festival of Maha Shivratri, locally known as Herath, was celebrated with religious fervor across Kashmir with devotees thronging religious places across Kashmir.

The festival was celebrated on Saturday with hundreds of devotees from the Kashmir Pandit community paying obeisance at various temples and offering Puja on the occasion.

The biggest gathering was held at Shankaracharya Temple overlooking the Dal Lake in Srinagar.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Shankaracharya Temple priest Jail Singh said that the Puja and other religious activities started at 4 am followed by Hawan and other religious activities.

“I have been managing the religious affairs here for over a year. We also have Langar here. We distribute Prashad to the devotees. The devotees from across the country come to visit the place and pray for their prosperity,” Singh said.

He said that the festival holds an important place among the Pandits, who celebrate it to mark the wedding of lord Shiva with Parvati.

Special prayers were also held at Ganpatyar and Hanuman Temple at Amira Kadal in Srinagar throughout the day.

Hundreds of devotees thronged Mata Kheer Bhawani Temple at Tullamulla in district Ganderbal and other temples across Kashmir.

Meanwhile, many tourists thronged the temples in Srinagar like Shankaracharya to celebrate the festival.

“We did not expect so much of a rush. We had to wait for hours for the Darshan. We loved celebrating the festival here during our first visit to Kashmir. All the arrangements were good, and we loved interacting with locals across faiths. Everyone should visit the place at least once in their life,” said Utkarsh, a tourist from Delhi.

Many local Pandits had gathered at the temple to celebrate the event.

They said that it was the most important festival of Kashmiri Pandits and was uniquely observed for more than a day in Kashmiri Pandit homes.

“We offer special prayers, meet family and friends, and visit our holy sites. Many Kashmir Pandits cook traditional Kashmiri food and dishes, especially fish. We also distribute walnuts as a mark of respect to the deities. We pray that the festival brings peace and prosperity to Kashmir and across the entire world,” said Rahul, a local Kashmiri Pandit.

Many locals from Muslim, Sikh, and other religious communities in Kashmir took to social media to wish their Kashmiri Pandit brothers on the festival.

“Many religions flourished in Kashmir. People respect and love each other. That is what makes this place best. We hope all the religious festivals are celebrated in peace. These festivals become a reason for a strong bond among the communities,” said Mansoor Ahmad, a resident of Dalgate.

Meanwhile, district administration Srinagar had made special arrangements for the celebration of the festival and senior officials had taken stock of the arrangement days before the festival.

While taking review on the spot a few days back, the DC Srinagar directed the concerned departments to ensure all basic arrangements are put in place for the devotees expected to visit the Shankaracharya Temple.

The DC instructed to ensure hassle-free traffic movement for the devotees from all city areas for the convenience of the yatris besides adequate facilities at the designated place for parking the vehicles.

He also directed for ensuring an uninterrupted supply of electricity and adequate drinking water facility at the venue so that the yatris do not face any problems during their visit to pay obeisance at the temple.

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