Devotees throng Himachal temples as Navratri starts

Shimla, March 31 (IANS): Thousands of devotees Monday thronged temples in Himachal Pradesh to mark the onset of the nine-day long Chaitra Navratri festival, the holy period for the Hindus.

"We are expecting over 50,000 people every day at the Brajeshwari Devi shrine," temple official Ajit Bhardwaj told IANS.

One of the busiest shrines in north India, the Brajeshwari Devi temple in Kangra town sees a majority of pilgrims from Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

Likewise, a huge rush was seen at the popular shrine of Chintpurni in Una, Baba Balak Nath in Hamirpur, Naina Devi temple in Bilaspur, Jwalaji and Chamunda Devi in Kangra, and Bhimakali and Hateshwari in Shimla district.

The festival will conclude with Ram Navami April 8.

The ban on offering coconuts as a precaution against terrorist attacks would remain in force at all the temples, a senior police officer said.

Himachal Pradesh is known as 'land of gods'. It has 28 prominent temples, most of which are in Kangra, Una and Bilaspur districts.



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