FESTIVALS OF KASHMIR

Nau Roz (March/April): The Kashmiri New Year's Day is a day of general festivity and rejoicing throughout the state.

Jaitha Ashtami ( May): The eighth day of the bright fortnight of Jyaistha, the third month of Hindu calendar, is the brirhday of the goddess Ragniya, who is believed to have her abode in Khir Bhavani, about 22 Kms. (14 miles) from Srinagar. For days before the festival, all roads and streams lead to Khir Bhavani, a well-known spring-girt temple, where people pray and make offering of milk, Kheer (rice boiled in milk) and flower to goddess.

Mela hemis Gompa (June): There are large numbers of Buddhists in Ladakh and their festivals are associated with ancient monasteries. One of there is held at the famous Hemis Gompa, 40 Kms. from Leh. It is the oldest, richest and biggest monastery in Ladakh. The fair is held on the 10th day of the fifth Buddhist month every year and lasts three days. The Lamas dance wearing masks, and the low subdued notes to the music create an air of mystery. The Mela celebrates the birthday of Padma Sambhava, the founder of Lamaism.

Urs Shah Hamadan (August/September): Shah Hamadan was a museum saint of Persia, who visited Kashmir toward the end of the fourteenth century. His shrine is Srinagar is greatly reversed by Muslims who hold urs every year to commemorate his visit to this happy valley.

Khichri Amavasya (December/January): According to Hindu mythology, Kashmir was the abode of Yakshas or semi-divine beings. The Lord of the Yakshas is invited on this day to relish the khichri (rich cooked with dal and ghee) which is placed on roof-tops in plates.



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