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Thousands throng Hazratbal shrine for Friday prayers

Friday February 10, 2012 08:08:20 PM, IANS

Srinagar: More than 70,000 people offered congregational prayers at the Hazratbal Shrine here on the last Friday of the 10-day long Milad-e-Nabi festivities.

Files of devotees who gathered for the Friday prayers spilled over from inside the main mosque to the huge lawns of the shrine and thence to the roads and other available space outside as people from all over the Kashmir Valley assembled at Hazratbal.

The 10-day festivities in connection with the birthday of the Prophet of Islam concluded after the Holy Relic (a hair from the Prophet's beard) was displayed to wailing and weeping devotees who prayed for penance and offered 'Durud' (Praise for the Prophet) before and after Friday prayers.

Men and women from across the valley poured into the shrine in state-owned buses and private vehicles including cars, mini buses and two-wheelers.

Police and other government agencies had made elaborate arrangements related to security, drinking water, traffic and crowd control as well as medical facilities.

Everyone had to pass through a metal detector gate. Security personnel in plainclothes frisked the devotees.

The holiest Muslim shrine in Kashmir, the Hazratbal, is located on the banks of the Dal Lake in Srinagar.

The building of the shrine has been constructed as a replica of the Prophet's shrine in Madinah (Saudi Arabia). But the dome at the Hazratbal is white in colour while that in Madinah is green.

Dozens of sweetmeat shops, vegetable stalls, and fruit and mutton shops were tastefully decorated to attract the devotees who usually do a bit of shopping after the prayers.

The Imam of the shrine displayed the Holy Relic after the prayers from a special balcony as the air was rent with 'Durud' and prayers lending a divine ambiance.

Devotees took hours to leave the shrine after the prayers.

Police had a tough time regulating the movements of thousands of devotees who jostled with each other to push through the jam after the Friday prayers.

A relatively warmer winter sun greeted the devotees at the day's Friday prayers in the valley.







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