Devotees throng Himachal temples despite heavy rains

Authorities have decided to close temple for half an hour daily during the festive season

Shimla: Thousands of devotees from across the region on Sunday thronged temples in Himachal Pradesh to mark the onset of the eight-day long Shravan Ashtami festival, despite incessant rains.

“We are expecting 15,000 to 20,000 devotees everyday at the temple,” an official at the hilltop Naina Devi shrine in Bilaspur district told IANS.

Seeing the rush of the devotees, he said authorities have decided to close the temple just for half an hour daily during the festive season. However, Naina Devi town on Sunday recorded the highest rainfall in state at 130mm. More showers are in store till August 16, according to the Met Office. “The monsoon was active in the state during the last 24 hours. Precipitation occurred at most places with very heavy rainfall, especially in Bilaspur and Hamirpur districts,” a Met official said.

One of the busiest shrines in north India, the Naina Devi temple sees a majority of pilgrims from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi.

Also on Sunday, a huge rush of pilgrims was also witnessed at the popular temples of Chintpurni in Una district, Baba Balak Nath in Hamirpur, Brajeshwari Devi, Jwalaji and Chamunda Devi in Kangra district and Bhimakali and Hateshwari in Shimla district.

The festival will conclude on August 19.

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