Srinagar: It is raining on Maha Shivratri festival in Kashmir, which has brought cheers to the people of the Valley, however, the rain and snow have failed to dampen the festivities, which actually is regarded as a good omen by the locals.
The Meteorological Department has forecast that it will rain through the day across Jammu and Kashmir plains while the higher reaches will have snowfall.
And, the hill resort of Gulmarg is already witnessing a heavy snowfall.
The rain and snow has brought a dip in the temperatures.
The night temperature recorded for Srinagar was 3.6 degrees Celsius, while as it was minus four degrees in Gulmarg.
Many prayer functions and congregations were being held across the Valley on the occasion of Shivratri.
The biggest congregation is being seen at the Shankracharya temple, located on a hillock in Srinagar, where devotees would perform a day long special prayers.
The temples in other parts of the Valley were also holding similar gatherings and prayers.
While many are celebrating Shivratri in Kashmir, some have gone to Jammu to celebrate with families there.
“It is also a time for family get together for us in Jammu. My brothers, who are doing jobs in other parts of the country, also come to Jammu and we celebrate together with our parents,” says Rajesh Raina, who is a government teacher and is living in the migrant colony in Sheikhpura in Badgam district.
Meanwhile, the government has made special arrangements for the Kashmiri Pandit community celebrating Shivratri in Kashmir.
Special stalls have been set up at the migrant colonies and temples for selling fisheries, lotus stems, vegetables, walnut and floriculture items.
Besides, local fishermen have installed their vending shops at Habba Kadal and Ganpatyar localities in Srinagar, where a small number of Kashmir Pandits are residing.
The government has asked the concerned departments to launch an intense market checking to curb black-marketing of essential commodities like mutton, vegetable, fruit flowers, bakeries, etc. during the festival.
Maha Shivtrari is a three-day festival for the minority Kashmiri Pandit community, which started from Wednesday. Apart from two days of special prayers, the community celebrates the third day as the feasting day in which apart from relatives, the majority Muslim community members also take part. This Shivratri, people in the valley are also praying for the return of peace and stability in the Union Territory.