or Raksha Bandhan
or Raksha Bandhan in northern India is the day for brothers and sisters to
renew the affectionate ties that bind them. On this day, the Kashmiri Hindus in
Srinagar climb the temple of Shankaracharya on a hill top. This is believed to
be an abode of Lord Shiva. But the more revered abode is situated in the far
off, glacier-bound cave-shrine of Amarnath where pilgrims from all parts of
India behold sacred pigeons - believed to be incarnations of Shiva and Parvathi.
Those who cannot trek to Amarnath make it to Thanjivara cave - 3 km from the
town of Bijibrara - to worship the Shiva lingam. The belief is that three
pilgrimages to this shrine equal the merit gained by the Amarnath yatra.
also celebrate Janam Ashtami, in August, just eight days after
Rakhi. Hindus fast on this day, hold religious meetings to propagate the
teachings of the Gita. The Ras Leela of Lord Krishna is staged at some places.
the 13th day of the lunar fortnight of Bhadon (Aug-Sep), Kashmiris celebrate a
festival named Vaitha-Vatur-Truvah which literally
means: 'Vaitha for the River Jhelum-source-thirteenth day'. It is held at an
ancient temple at Verinag, the source of the Jhelum, in which Hindus coming from
all parts of the valley , participate along with some local Muslims. A big
Havana ceremony is performed on the occasion.
the festival of light, is also celebrated in this area. It is an occasion for
the puja of the new moon of Kartik
Muslim festival, Muharram, marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the
prophet's grandson, who was murdered at Karbala. Huge taziyas made of paper and
wood are taken out in procession.
Guru Nanak Dev
The Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev
in November is a very auspicious day for the Sikhs. They visit Chati Patshahi,
near Hari Parbat. Epistles from the Granth Sahib are recited throughout the day.
the tenth of Asvin (Sep-Oct), Dussehra is celebrated to commemorate the
victory of Lord Rama.
typically Kashmiri festival known as Khichri Amavasya falls in the
month of Posh (Dec-Jan). Kashmir is believed to have been the abode of Yakshas
in ancient times. The Yaksha spirit is invited to relish Khichri (rice cooked
with dal and ghee). It is believed that during the night the yaksha comes and
tastes the Khichri served neatly in the attic along with a fish.
the month of Magh (Jan-Feb) comes the Gori Trai, on the third day after
the new moon. The family priest brings gaudy scroll paintings for the children.
Saraswati Puja is offered on the day.
, is another festival celebrated in Kashmir. During this time, bird-loving
Kashmiris cook yellow rice, prepare small balls of it and throw them on the roof
for crows and other birds.
Shivratri or Herat
The Shivratri festival
or Herat, which falls in Feb-Mar is also celebrated by Kashmiris. It lasts
for about a fortnight. Hindus spring-clean their houses during this fortnight,
wear new clothes, and buy utensils. Women go to their parents homes to get the
'festival money', as they call it. The
worship of Shiva and Parvati starts three days before the festival. It is said that Shiva and Parvati were
wedded on Shivratri. The offerings in this worship are walnuts soaked in earthen
utensils. The four parts of the kernel represent four yugas. After some days,
people are seen carrying baskets containing these nuts to be distributed among
relatives and friends.