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November 7, 2010

Devotees take holy dip in River Yamuna on Bhai Dooj festival in Allahabad

Allahabad:A large number of devotees converged on the banks of the holy River Yamuna in Allahabad to take a holy dip on the occasion of Bhai Dooj festival that was celebrated in different parts of the country today. Bhai Dooj falls two days after the festival of lights Diwali. On this festival, sisters put Tilak, a religious mark, on the forehead of their brothers. The occasion is meant to celebrate the relation of brothers and sisters. Legend has it that Yamraj, the God of death had twin sisters named Yami or Yamuna. Yami, Yama’s twin sister, was transformed into the sacred river Yamuna in whose purifying waters people bathe on holy days. Yama was given an equally important role and made the god of Death, whom all fear. On Bhai Dooj day, Yami or Yamaraja was called to his sister’s home Yamuna, where she offered Aarti and a small gift for her brother. Yama then told her that on this day brothers would be invited to their sisters’ home and in return the brother would bring a gift for his sister. "On the second day after new moon, we take bath in the holy river Yamuna. It is significant because on this day, Goddess Yamuna invited her brother Lord Yamaraj to her house, and on being pleased with her behavior, Lord Yamaraj asked her to make a wish. Goddess Yamuna asked for his blessing on every mortal, and it is also said that taking a holy dip in River Yamuna on this day pleases Lord Yamaraj. In return, he blesses our brothers," said Durgawati, a local woman. Tales also narrate the belief that if a woman takes bath in the holy river on this day then Lord Yamaraj blesses her brothers with a long life. "We bathe in holy River Yamuna and worship Lord Yamaraj so that he blesses our brothers with long life," said Rekha, a girl. Locals queued up before priests who had erected makeshift altars on the riverbanks. They also offered prayers and lighted lamps while chanting hymns.

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