Thousands take holy dip at Kurukshetra during solar eclipse

Chandigarh, Dec 26 (IANS) Thousands of devotees from various parts of the country and abroad took a holy dip in the ‘sarovar’ (pond) on Thursday morning in Haryana’s Kurukshetra despite the chilly weather during the solar eclipse, officials said.
The government said arrangements had been made for nearly 1.5 million (15 lakh) devotees to arrive for the dip at the ‘Brahmsarovar’ (Pond of Lord Brahma — the Hindu god considered the creator of the universe) on the occasion.
People started thronging the town, some 110 km from here, in the wee hours. The minimum temperature was four degrees Celsius.
Kurukshetra, the land of the Hindu mythological epic battle of Mahabharata, is considered a holy place.
Elaborate security arrangements were made by the government to manage the devotees during the day.
Special buses and trains were run for the convenience of the people.
Major Hindu temples were closed for pilgrims on account of solar eclipse while Muslims offered special prayers in mosques on Thursday.
The famous Tirumala temple in Andhra Pradesh was closed around 11 p.m. on Wednesday on the eve of the solar eclipse. The temple will re-open after the end of the solar eclipse on Thursday afternoon.
According to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the affairs of the richest temple, the abode of Lord Venkateswara was closed nine hours before the beginning of the solar eclipse. Several rituals scheduled at the temple were also cancelled.
Other temples under TTD were also shut on the account of the celestial event. Ancient temples of Goddess Padmavati at Tiruchanoor, Lord Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy temple at Srinivasa Mangapuram and other TTD temples in and around Tirupati were closed.
TTD officials said the temples would reopen at 2 p.m. on Thursday after the conduct of rituals for purification.
Meanwhile, Muslims offered special ‘namaz’ called ‘Salat-ul-Kusoof’ on the occasion of solar eclipse. While the majority of men and women offered the prayers individually at homes, prayers were also offered in congregations at few mosques.
Several people offered prayers at Masjid-e-Mohammedia and Masjid Islamic Centre in Hyderabad.
The ‘imams’ who led the prayers quoted the saying of the Prophet Muhammad that solar and lunar eclipses are among numerous signs of Allah, which He uses to remind His servants so that they can return to Him in repentance.

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