A place where Muslims celebrate Janmashtami
Not many people know about it, but Janmashtami, which marks the birth of Lord Krishna, is celebrated in a big way in a sacred place for the Muslim community in Rajasthan.
A three-day festival is organised at the Dargah of Narhar - also known as Dargah of Sharif Hazrat Hajib Shakarbar - situated near Chirawa in Jhunjhunu district, about 200 km from Jaipur.
"This festival is being organised here for the last 300-400 years and people of all communities come here. A main aim of this celebration is to promote Hindu-Muslim brotherhood," said dargah secretary Usman Ali Pathan.
People from many states including Maharashtra, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh visit the dargah during the festival.
"Thousands of Hindus come here and offer flowers, chadar, coconut and sweets in the shrine," he said.
Over 400 shops come up in the vicinity during the festival time.
Qawalis, skits and dance dramas are organised on the night of Janmashtami, similar to the ones held in temples.
"It is difficult to say how and when this festival started, but we strongly feel it gives a true picture of national unity, as in one room you will find Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims staying together during the festival," Pathan said.
Newly-weds also come here to pray for a long and happy married life, he added.
Sushila, a newly-wed from Haryana, said she heard a lot about the festival.
"It is really astonishing to see people from all communities come here. I have just been married, over two months back, and my husband and I have come here to seek blessings," she said.
Rekha, a resident of a nearby village, said she has been coming here for the last couple of years. "It gives me mental peace and I enjoy the fair here," she said.
(Posted on 18-08-2014)
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