Srinagar: Minimum temperatures have plummeted well below the freezing point across the Kashmir valley but pilgrims from all over India can be seen taking a dip at Shadipora in the Ganderbal district these days.
Shadipora is considered holy by the pilgrims as it is located at the confluence of the Jhelum River and Sindh stream.
Pushkar celebrations in Kashmir after 12 years
The pilgrims mostly from South India 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.
“Pushkar is celebrated every year at different places like Haridwar,etc of the country…..wherever there is a ‘Sangam’ (confluence) of rivers. In Kashmir, it was last celebrated in 2009 when around 35,000 devotees had attended. Later, it will be held after 12 years yet again in Kashmir,” Pushkar Committee of Kashmir (PCK) president Bharat Raina told The Kashmir Monitor.
12000 pilgrims took holy dip in 2 days
He said around 12000 devotees had already attended the festival during the past two days.
“Yesterday, 4812 devotees took a holy dip at Shadipora despite cold weather conditions. Some remained in the water for an hour. Today, 7000 devotees took a dip and prayed for the deceased. Yatris are mostly from South India….Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Hyderabad, Mumbai, etc,” said Raina.
10 more days left for Pushkar
He said they were expecting a huge number of devotees to take part in the Pushkar festival that would last for 10 more days.
“The festival lasts for 12 days. If all goes well, we are expecting one lakh pilgrims to come to Shadipora. Over 12000 have already come during the last two days. Shadipora has become a pilgrim tourist hotspot for devotees now. We are thankful to the police and the administration for making good arrangements for Pushkar,” said Raina.
How to reach?
Shadipora is around 18 kilometres away from Srinagar city – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. Shadipora can be reached via Srinagar-Bandipora road. The pilgrims are allowed to take a dip in the river till 3.00 pm only. Besides praying for the dead, devotees believe that taking a dip at the confluence of the Jhelum River and Sindh stream has got several health benefits.