Muslims, Pandits come together at festival in Kashmir
Driven apart by three decades of conflict, Jammu and Kashmir’s two separated communities, Muslims and Pandits, on June 11 witnessed a rare union on the annual festival of Zyeshth Ashtami at the Kheer Bhawani temple in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal, as hundreds of Pandits from across the country converged to pay obeisance.
Keeping the age-old tradition alive, local Muslim shopkeepers were seen selling earthenware lamps, marigold flowers and other puja paraphernalia at the temple located at Tulmulla area, 30 km away from Srinagar.
“It was heartening to see local Muslim music artists playing on the occasion, while Pandits were whirling around,” said Neerja Kaul, 63, a Pandit who had migrated to Delhi after militancy broke out in the 1990s. The festival is fast emerging as a source of healing of relationships between the Pandits and Muslims of Kashmir.…
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