20k pilgrims so far take holy dip during “Pushkar festival” in Kashmir

Srinagar: In spite of freezing temperature and thick fog around, pilgrims with devotion woke up early in the morning to take a holy dip at Shadipora river in Ganderbal district of Kashmir to pay homage to their dead kin during Pushkar festival being celebrated in the valley.

Official sources said, about 20,000 pilgrims including women from Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad have so far participated in the festival and took the holy dip in the waters at Shadipora amid freezing temperature and cold wave conditions prevailing in Kashmir valley.

The 12-day Pushkar festival was held in Kashmir valley after a gap of 12 years and will conclude on December 2.

Appropriate measures are in place near the Shadipora which is being considered the holy place by the pilgrims as it is located at the confluence of the Jhelum River and Sindh stream.

Police have also kept raft boats for rescue operations and authorities have also put available medical facilities for the pilgrims in view of any emergency. A free “Langer” established by the Shri Mata Kheer bhawani for the devotees is also in service.

Local people are providing hot water to the devotees against the fixed price after the pilgrims take the holy dip into the waters amid freezing temperature and cold wave conditions prevailing there.

The pilgrims mostly from the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad have converged at Shadipora to celebrate the Pushkar festival that is being held after a gap of 12 years in Kashmir.

Devotees usually pray for the dead at Shadipora and also immerse the ashes of the deceased at the joining point of Jhelum and Sindh.

Besides praying for the dead, devotees believe that taking a dip at the junction of the Jhelum River and Sindh stream has got several health benefits. The pilgrims are allowed to take a dip in the river till 1500 hours only.

“Pushkar” is celebrated every year at different places like Haridwar and other parts of the country wherever there is a “Sangam” or confluence of rivers. In Kashmir, it was last celebrated in 2009 when around 35,000 devotees thronged the place to attend the festival. Later, it will be held after 12 years in Shadipora which is around 18 kms away from the capital city Srinagar in Kashmir. (UNI)

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