JAMMU, Feb 24: Like other parts of the country, Maha Shivratri was celebrated across Jammu and Kashmir with religious fervour and enthusiasm.
The auspicious occasion, which is celebrated to mark mythological marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati, witnessed prayers in temples with devotees offering water on Shivlingam, taking out religious processions and organizing of Langars etc.
Since the wee hours today, there was heavy rush of devotees in all the prominent Shiv temples.
People from different age groups, including children, young and elders, thronged the Shiv temples for paying obeisance and offering water mixed with milk on the holy Shivlingam. The devotees especially offered Bael and Bael Patri (Golden Apple and its leaves) to Lord Shiva while chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. All the Shiv temples were well decorated for the occasion. Several devotees also observed fast.
In Jammu, huge rush was witnessed at Ranbireshwar Temple, Peer Kho near Tawi and Aap Shambhu at Roop Nagar, which were specially decorated for the occasion. Through out the day, devotees kept visiting these temples to seek divine blessings of Lord Shiva.
The devotees were seen waiting in queues for their turn to reach near the Shivlingam for paying obeisance and offering water with flowers.
To facilitate the devotees, the administration had also made elaborate arrangements besides ensuring adequate security around the temples to ensure peaceful conduct of religious celebration. Individuals and organizations had organized Bhandaras near the temples where people were served sweets and light refreshment. Shree Lakshmi Narayan Mandir Samaj Sevak and People Welfare Samiti Gandhi Nagar organized a day-long Langar on the occasion.
Reports from other parts of the State, including Kashmir, Buddha Amarnath in Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Shiv Khori in Reasi, Udhampur and Kathua etc, also said that Maha Shivratri witnessed heavy rush of devotees in the historic Shiv temples amidst religious fervour and enthusiasm.
At Shiv Khori, the annual Maha Shivratri festival was celebrated with religious fervor and enthusiasm. The event began with historic live telecast of Aarti followed by cultural programmes at Ransoo. District Development Commissioner Reasi, Ravinder Kumar was also present on the occasion along with others. Over one lakh devotees have visited the holy cave so far and the Yatra was going on smoothly on the second day of mela.
Along the route and at the base camp Ransoo, several Langars and Bhandaras were also arranged for pilgrims by Shiv Khori Mandlis. The other important events for the festival included cultural panorama, Tandav dance organized by Information Department, Bhajans by Chaman Lehri Group, Kud by Kapoor Singh and Party from Bakkal, Lambi Bhaak by local people of Ransoo and adjoining areas. Over 28 different departmental stalls were also established for providing awareness to the people. Historic Mahadev temple in Reasi also witnessed heavy rush of devotees on the day.
Mahashivratri festival was also held at historic Kameshwar Shiv Temple in Akhnoor where Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh, Minister for Forests and Ecology, Choudhary Lal Singh, Minister for Industries and Commerce, Chander Parkash Ganga, Vice Chairman Kissan Welfare Board D S Chib, Legislators, Sat Sharma, Rajiv Sharma and Dr Krishan Lal, Mahant Rameshwar Dass, prominent citizens of the area and senior officers of various departments were also present and paid their obeisance.
Reports from Bhaderwah in Doda said that devotees thronged the historical Gupt Ganga Temple since early in the morning where main function in connection with Maha Shivratri was organized. Special arrangements were made in all the Shiv temples of Doda district, particularly ancient Gupt-Ganga temple near Jai Road Bhaderwah and Shiv temple Lingah Gatha, where heavy rush of devotees was witnessed throughout the day.
A “Jaagran” was also being observed in Gupt Ganga Temple, where a large number of devotees from the area sung devotional songs in praise of Lord Shiva.
Reports from Kathua said that historic Balkeshwar Shiv temple in Billawar, Panjtirthi temple, Mahanalla and Airma temples witnessed rush of devotees of on the occasion of Maha Shivratri. All these religious places were well decorated for the special occasion and the temple doors were kept open since 3 a.m to facilitate the devotees and control the rush.
In Udhampur, District Administration organized one day annual Mahashivratri cum rural awareness fair in collaboration with Destitute and Handicapped Welfare Association (DAHWA) and Mela Committee Khoon in the premises of Khooneshwar Aap Shambhu Temple, Khoon Majalta. MLA Ramnagar, Ranbir Singh Pathania was the chief guest on the occasion. Chairman DAHWA, S S Sumbria threw light on the historical and religious importance of the temple, having its connection with the Pandvas and the famous lakes of Mansar and Surinsar. Various cultural programmes were also organized by Information Department and JK Academy of Art Culture and Languages. Later, a Bhandara was also organized on the occasion.
In Kishtwar, Maha Shivratri festival witnessed huge rush of devotees at Gori Shankar Mandir Sarkoot and other temples where Bhandaras were also organized. In rural areas, people prepared `Tilluru’, a traditional dish of district Kishtwar, which was distributed among own relatives, nears and dears.
Historic temples of Uttervahini and Purmandal in Samba district also witnessed huge rush of devotees on the occasion of Maha Shivratri.