Eid-ul-Azha celebrated across India

New Delhi: Eid-ul-Azha was celebrated with traditional gaiety and fervour across the country today as Muslims thronged mosques for prayers and exchanged greetings on the holy day.

Hordes of people visited mosques and idgahs in the national capital to offer prayers on Eid this morning kickstarting festivities on the auspicious occasion.

Large number of people attended special prayers at the historic Jama Masjid, Fatehpuri Masjid and other prominent mosques in all parts of the city.

The sacrifice ritual was also performed by the devout at their homes on the occasion of the festival also known as Bakr-Id.

People, specially children, in their festive best visited friends, neighbours and relatives exchanging greetings and gifts, all over the city.

Elaborate security arrangements were in place by Delhi Police for prayers at mosques and old city areas where large number of people visited markets and enjoyed festivities.

Clerics and community leaders delivered sermons on the festive occasion which occurs the day after pilgrims performing Haj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide, descend from Mount Arafat.

The festival is celebrated approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramzan, which is observed as Eid-ul-Fitr.

Animal sacrifices are also performed as a ritual to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the nation on Eid, hoping the festival will usher in peace and togetherness.

“Id-ul-Zuha greetings. May this festival enhance the spirit of peace & togetherness in our society,” he tweeted.

In trouble-torn Kashmir, curfew and widespread clashes that left two youths dead marred Eid festivities in the Valley which has been witnessing continued protests for last 65 days claiming lives of 78 people.

For the first time, no Eid prayers were offered at the historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar in nearly two centuries. The last time the grand mosque was closed was in 1821.

Similarly, no Eid prayers were offered at Idgah though authorities allowed partial use of Hazratbal Shrine for prayers.

This is probably for the first time that curfew is in place on the day of Eid festival ever since militancy broke out in the state in 1990.

While curfew was in force in Kashmir valley, Jammu region celebrated Eid-ul-Azha with religious fervour as Muslims flocked to mosques to offer prayers.

Besides offering prayers, people in colourful attire exchanged Eid greetings and pleasantries in all the districts of Jammu province. Hindus and Sikhs also participated in the celebrations, extending greetings to their Muslim brethren on the auspicious occasion.

“Eid is the day when we remember the God and seek his blessings. While we prayed for ourselves, we also prayed for peace in the country, especially the Kashmir valley,” said Irfan Khan, a local shopkeeper.