Jhiri festival begins amid tight security in Jammu

Jammu: Thousands of devotees from different parts of the country thronged the shrines of legendary farmer saint Baba Jitto and his daughter Bua Kaury as the nine-day annual fair commenced today amid tight security arrangements.

About 10 lakh devotees are expected to take part in the festival which is scheduled to end on November 12, officials said.

The devotees thronging the temple at Jhiri, 15 km from here, to take part in the festival to remember the sacrifice of the legendary farmer saint and his daughter, who fought against exploitation centuries ago.

The festival is based on a folklore of the Dogra history.

Followers from Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country, mostly Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, gather to pay tributes to ‘Baba Jit Mal’, popularly known as Baba Jitto, at his ‘samadhi’ every year.

Exhibitions are organised during the festival that cater to diverse variety of articles ranging from pottery, vases, utensils and toys to books on Baba Jitto.

The devotees take a holy dip in the ‘Babe-da-Talab’ (pond).

Deputy Inspector General of Police, Jammu-Samba-Kathua range, Rafiq Ul Hassan, visted the main temple where he was briefed about the security measures to ensure smooth and incident-free conduct of the festival, a police spokesman said.

“All the routes leading to the festival have been tightened by establishing extensive ‘nakas’ (checking points).

Frisking of devotees at the main entry point of the temple is being conducted besides round-the-clock patrolling,” the spokesman said.

He said necessary arrangements have been made to ensure regulation of traffic, thorough checking of visitors by using strong access control system on the entry and exit points of the temple and checking of vehicles.