People celebrating Baisakhi in Jammu (L) and Srinagar (R) on Thursday.
— Excelsior Pics by / Rakesh & Shakeel

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Apr 14: The festival of Baisakhi was celebrated today across J&K with enthusiasm and fanfare with people coming out in big number to join the fairs at certain places as festivities have returned after a lull of almost two years due to lockdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic which claimed several lives worldwide.
Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Dr. Raghav Langer, inaugurated Baisakhi Mela at Canal Head and Peer Kho Jammu.

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Speaking on the occasion, the Divisional Commissioner explained the ambitious scheme of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir to promote traditional and Cultural Festivals of the UT to attract tourists with a taste for rich heritage and culture.
At Peer Kho, a mega Baisakhi Festival was organised under the leadership of Peer Rattan Nath and Peer Rajinder Nath and Chairman J&K Religious, Tourism, Culture & Heritage, Mahant Rajesh Bittu.
At Canal Road, Rajinder Park Jammu, JMC Councillor, Amit Gupta and Market Associations organised mega Baisakhi Festival.
The Div Com along with others also performed the Dwaja Arohan ceremony and ceremonial Tawi Ghat Pujan. They also took a round of various stalls.
Kite Festival was a major attraction for the people of all age groups.
At venue of fairs there were many stalls of eatables, toys, pots etc were set by different vendors.
Children were seen in colourful dresses enjoying and making purchases at the stalls.
The festival of Baisakhi marks the start of harvesting season.
Many people used social media to extend greetings of the day to their friends and other loved ones.
There was adequate security arrangement at the places of fairs and Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) had made adequate arrangements to ensure proper cleanliness in the entire city.
Another programme was organised at the shrine of Baba Kailakh Dev Ji near Bantallab where many devotees visited and offered obeisance to the deity.
Traffic jams were also witnessed near the venues of Baisakhi celebrations and the traffic cops remained busy in making the flow of traffic smooth on the roads.
Meanwhile, in Kashmir the festival of Baisakhi was celebrated with great zeal and fervour with devotees overjoyed to resume normal festival celebrations after two-years.
The devotees thronged Gurudwaras, which were festooned with colourful lights and flowers, to pay their obeisance. Bajan Kirtans were held at Gurudwaras across the Valley, with the main event at Chatti Pathshahi Kathi Darwaza Rainawari in the old city, which attracted a large number of devotees.
Women and children dressed brightly were seen visiting the Gurudwaras where Langar (community feast) was served. Special prayers for the peace and prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir were also offered at various Gurudwaras on this occasion.
The festival also commemorates Gobind Singh’s founding of the Khalsa Panth in 1699.
“We are overjoyed and have prayed for the community’s well-being. We are still living in brotherhood in Kashmir,” a devotee said adding that he prayed specifically for communal harmony and brotherhood in the valley.
Another devotee, Satinder Kaur, said that it is the most important day for them and that they are especially happy this year because they have gathered here after nearly two years.
One of the devotees said that the festivals like Baisakhi bring happiness and joy among the people and provide a chance for the people of different communities to come closer.
Hundreds of Sikh devotees visited the Gurdwara Chatti Padshahi in Baramulla, Khawaja Bagh and Paranpila in Uri in north Kashmir. Similarly, Gurudwaras in several areas of South Kashmir such as Mattan, Singhpora and Hutbora drew hundreds of devotees to commemorate the occasion.
Apart from visiting Gurudwaras, people from Sikh community also visit their friends and relatives to offer greetings. The areas where Sikhs live in good numbers in Srinagar, such as Rainawari and Jawahar Nagar, presented a festive look.
Even in South Kashmir, Baisakhi was celebrated with religious fervour in several places.
On the other side, keeping up with the set tradition, the Mughal Gardens were thrown open to the public officially on the occasion.

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