Ganderbal (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], June 18 (ANI): Several Kashmiri Pandits visited Mata Kheer Bhawani temple in the Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir to celebrate Jyeshtha Ashtami on Friday amid the situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of devotees was far less compared to the pre-pandemic situation.
A devotee at the temple told ANI that many people used to come from Jammu but could not come this time.
"We used to have a large number of devotees from Jammu and they used to come in around 100 buses. This year, we cancelled that in view of COVID-19. We have ensured minimum participation. COVID protocols are also being followed," he said.
He said a lot has changed in terms of celebration due to the pandemic.
"Earlier, thousands of people used to come here. We used to have stalls. Last year, we could not offer our prayers at the temple. At least this time a Yagna is being performed."
Nishu, another devotee, said that the festival is marked by communal harmony and sends a message of brotherhood between Hindus and Muslims.
"This mela is very important for people. We are lucky that we could come to offer our prayers. Many Muslims also join us during the celebration of Jyeshtha Ashtami," she said.
People from Tulmulla village, where the temple is located, and from neighbouring areas participated in the annual festival.
A priest of the temple expressed his gratitude to the administration for providing support during the festival. (ANI)