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September 4, 2010

Devotees begin annual pilgrimage to Manimahesh lake in Jammu and Kashmir

Bhaderwah (Jammu and Kashmir): Thousands of Hindu devotees commenced their annual pilgrimage from Jammu and Kashmir's Bhaderwah city to the sacred Manimahesh Lake located in Himachal Pradesh. The annual pilgrimage of devotees of Lord Shiva begins on Janmashtami (birth anniversary of Lord Krishna) and culminates on Radha Ashtami (birth anniversary of Lord Krishna spouse, Radha). On reaching the destination, located in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, the pilgrims take a dip in the holy lake and pray for peace, success. After the holy dip, the devotees offer prayers to Mount Kailash. "This pilgrimage is part of our ancient religious tradition. In accordance with the prevalent customs, we undertake the journey while singing and dancing, which is loved by our deity, Lord Shiva. We believe that Lord Shiva listens and answers all our prayers at the Manimahesh Lake," said Keshav Saran, a devotee. Several pilgrims play musical instruments to display their faith, while others stop by at local temples to offer prayers to their revered God. Among the pilgrims a septuagenarian devotee also took part in the pilgrimage and braved the rough weather. "We undertake the arduous journey while remembering our deities and Lord Shiva, and play instruments such as Damru and pipes. We also decorate their idols with flowers. Along the way, the religious folk also arrange for food and accommodation for all the pilgrims," said Pyare Lal, another pilgrim.

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