In Pictures: Shivratri 2020

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Srinagar

Kashmiri Pandits living across Kashmir celebrated Hehrath, the Shivratri festival on Friday. Unlike the rest of the mainland, the festival is strictly personal and rituals take place at home and Temples. Pandit families living all over Kashmir received their relatives and friends who had come to congratulate them for the festival.

Devotees pouring milk at Lord Shiva’s idol, KL photo by Bilal Bahadur

Temples wore a festive look as devotees made a beeline to participate in the special prayers. The festival holds an important place among Kashmiri Pandits who celebrate it to mark the wedding of Shiva and Parvati by cooking traditional Kashmiri food, especially fish. The occurrence of rain or snowfall on this day is considered to be a good omen.

Devotees wait in a queue to offer prayers at Temple on the Maha Shivratri in Srinagar on Friday, February 21, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

The biggest gathering of the festival usually takes place at Shankaracharya Temple, Dal Lake. Hundreds of devotees also throng Khir Bhawani temple at Tullamulla in district Ganderbal. The temple authorities at Ganpatyar and Hanuman Mandir at Amira Kadal also hold special Poojas throughout the day followed by celebrations in the evening.

A female devotee praying at Temple on the Maha Shivratri in Srinagar on Friday, February 21, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Many devotees especially visit Srinagar from across India to pray at the Shankracharya temple.

Among the devotees at the temple were Mohan Kumar from Bihar and Shri Ram from Hyderabad.

Devotees performing Puja at the Temple in Srinagar on Friday, February 21, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

“I have come from Bihar especially to participate in the special prayers at the Shankracharya temple; a visit to the temple on Mahashivratri is considered very auspicious,” news agency IANS quoted Mohan Kumar as having said.

A female devotee posing for a photograph with Lord Shiva’s idol on the Maha Shivratri in Srinagar on Friday, February 21, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

“I am feeling really good on visiting the temple. It was a one-hour trek from the nearest road-head to the temple on the hillock, but I felt very good. I always wished to visit Kashmir on this holy day — today my dream has come true,” IANS quoted Ram as saying.

The temples in other parts of the Valley are also holding prayers to invoke the blessings of Lord Shiva.

Kashmiri Pandit couple performing puja at home in Srinagar on February 21, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

“We are holding special prayers for peace in Jammu and Kashmir; we wish the problems in Kashmir and elsewhere in the country come to an end and brotherhood and harmony prevails,” Rakesh Kumar, a priest at the Shankaracharya temple, said.

Devotees pray at the Temple in Srinagar on Friday, February 21, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Mahashivratri marks the culmination of a three-day festival for the Kashmiri Pandit community. Special prayers are held on the first two days, with a feast on the third day, in which their relatives, as well as members from the Muslim community, participate.

Devotees climbing stairs to reach the Shankaracharya temple in Srinagar on Friday, February 21, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

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