Srinagar: The Mahashivratri, the marriage anniversary of Lord Shiva and Goddess Uma, which is the most important festival of the Kashmiri pandits “Herath” was on Thursday celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety in the Kashmir valley, where devotees prayed for peace and prosperity.
The members of the community were seen visiting temples, particularly Shankaracharya on the hilltop of Takhat-e-Suliman, since early this morning to pay obeisance.
Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory (UT) Manoj Sinha and his advisors besides politicians greeted people on the occasion. Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, PK Pole also joined the prayers at Shankaracharya temple along with other devotees despite rain since early this morning.
Mr Pole said after paying obeisance greeted people on the occasion on Herath and Shab-e-Meraj, being celebrated tonight by the members of the Muslim community throughout the Kashmir valley.
I and other devotees prayed for peace and prosperity in the valley, Mr Pole said.
After joining night-long puja in their respective houses, people this morning visited temples, particularly associated with Shivji, in the valley, including Srinagar.
People were seen greeting each other on the occasion of ‘Salaam’, a Persian word for greeting after night-long prayers. Muslims and members of other communities also greeted their Kashmiri pandit brethren who didn’t migrate along with other community members in the 90s or have returned back here.
The Shivratri festival extends to about three weeks in Kashmiri Pandits’ households and each day or a group of days has a special name and religious function which include social performances also.Some of the names are Akodah, Hurya Aatham, Dyara Daham, Vagarye Bah, Heracnia Truvah, Donya Mavas and Tila Aatham. On each day they have different functions.
The Mahashivratri festival, observed as ‘Herath’ by Kashmiri Pandits on the marriage anniversary of Lord Shiva and Goddess Uma, begins on the first day of Phalgun Krishna Paksha and ends on the Amavasi day in Phalgun. In between, there are numerous auspicious days like Hur Ashtami.