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Amarnath Yatra: Another batch of 2,100 pilgrims leave for the Himalayan cave

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Jammu: Another batch of over 2,100 Amarnath pilgrims left here on Monday for the Himalayan cave shrine in the Kashmir Valley as heavy rain lashed the over-300 km long Jammu-Srinagar national highway.

“Another batch of 2,128 yatris left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas here today (Monday) morning for the Valley. It includes 399 females, 20 children and 135 sadhus,” a senior police officer told IANS.

“The yatris left in 12 vehicles in an escorted convoy,” the officer said.

The cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon. Devotees call the stalagmite structure the ‘Holy Lingam’ and believe it symbolises mystical powers of Lord Shiva.

The over 300-km long Jammu-Srinagar national highway is the only surface route for the annual Hindu pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine situated 14,500 feet above the sea level in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

Heavy rain has been lashing the highway throughout the Sunday night, triggering landslides at some places.

An official of the traffic department told IANS there has been landslide in the Bannihal sector of the highway because of heavy rainfall, but the highway has been restored for one-way traffic to facilitate the passage of the yatris.

The two-month long Amarnath Yatra started this year on July 2 and will end on August 29, coinciding with Shravan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan festivals.

(IANS)

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Quitting Militancy by Kashmiri Footballer Regarded as ‘Brave’ by the Army

Majid Khan, a young Kashmiri footballer has given up militancy to pursue academics and passion for football, leaving the Kashmirs stunned over his decision

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Kashmiri Footballer
Kashmiri Footballer quits militancy.Pixabay.

Jammu and Kashmir, November, 17: Majid Khan, a young Kashmiri footballer whose decision to join the LeT stunned Kashmirs, has given up militancy, the Army announced on Friday, with the 20-year-old making a brief appearance at a press conference here.

Amid conflicting reports whether Majid Khan had surrendered or was caught, Major General B.S. Raju said: “The brave young man, Majid Khan, the Kashmiri footballer decided on his own to shun violence and returned to lead a normal life, pursuing his academics and passion for football.”

The Army, he said, merely facilitated his decision.

“He was neither apprehended nor did he surrender. We only facilitated his return,” Gen Raju said, providing no details about how Majid made contact with the family or the security agencies.

Majid, wearing a black Kashmiri phiran, made a brief presence before journalists. But the kashmiri footballer did not speak and was quickly escorted out of the venue by a police officer.

Gen Raju complimented his parents, especially the mother, whose persuasion he said helped the young man to change his mind.

Majid’s mother’s passionate and wailing appeal to her only son to return home went viral on social media — just like Majid’s earlier photographs showing him with an AK-47.

Gen Raju, who commands the Army’s Victor Force, which oversees all anti-military operations in southern Kashmir, urged other Kashmiri youths to also give up militancy.

“Those youths who have strayed and have committed no crime are welcome to come back and no action will be taken against them. I appeal also to those who might have committed some crime to return within the parameters of law.”

The Kashmir Valley’s police chief, Muneer Khan, said no charges would be pressed against Majid and he would be allowed to join his family.

Army sources had earlier said that Majid, a second year college student, surrendered after walking into a Rashtriya Rifles camp at Kulgam on Thursday evening. He came with his arms and ammunition.

The sources added that he was handed over to Army’s 15 Corps in Awantipora town.

There was a sense of relief among Majid’s friends and relatives when they learnt that he had crossed back — into safer hands.

Kashimiri footballer
Army appreciates Kashimiri footballer, Majid Khan’s decision to quit militancy. IANS.

“It is great to hear that he will be now serving his parents and pursuing his passion about football,” a relative who did not wish to be named told IANS.

The relative said Majid was the only son of his parents, who were shocked when they came to know that he had joined the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is active in the Kashmir Valley.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “A mother’s love prevailed. Her impassioned appeal helped in getting Majid, an aspiring kashmiri footballer, back home. Every time a youngster resorts to violence, it is his family which suffers the most.”

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said: “It is a very good development. Hope he can go back to leading a normal life and not be harassed. (IANS)

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Do You Know there are only two Leaning Temples in The World? Visit the Leaning Temple of Huma in Sambalpur

Huma is about 23 kms towards the southern direction of Sambalpur, Odisha. and is connected with Sambalpur and other cities of Orissa by road. The temple is situated inside the village of Huma.

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Leaning Temple
The Leaning Temple of Huma. Wikimedia.

The famous Leaning Temple of Huma built in 1670 AD is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is one of the only two leaning temples in the world. It was constructed by the ruler, Baliar Singh, the 5th ruler of the kingdom of Chauhan of Sambalpur, Odisha, India. The speciality of this temple is it’s structure skewed to one direction.

Reason Behind its Tilted Structure:

It is regarded that the reason for its tilted structure could be some interior dismounting of rocky bed at which this temple is positioned, either because of flood current inside the Mahanadi River or earthquake, thereby affecting the position of this original temple.  An interesting fact to be noted is that the other little temples inside the Hamlet are also tilted to various other directions.

The finest time to visit this leaning temple is October to March. Enshrine your spirituality during these months and celebrate the festive season in the town of Sambalpur, Odisha. Shivratri is believed to be the chief festival of this temple. Hence, it advances a huge gathering specially during Shivratri festival during March. You may also find ‘Kudo’ fishes on the bank of river Mahanadi near the temple who are given food by devotees as a part of the worship.

Leaning Temple
The Leaning Temple of Huma. Wikimedia.

How to Reach the Leaning Temple of Huma:

By Road – Huma is about 23 kms towards the southern direction of Sambalpur, Odisha. and is connected with Sambalpur and other cities of Orissa by road. The temple is situated inside the village of Huma.

By Rail – Sambalpur railway station is the closest station from Huma. You may find taxis and cabs to drop you 23 kms towards the temple of Huma.

By Air – Bhubaneshwar is the closest airport to Huma which is approximately 290 ms away from Huma. Catch a taxi or cab to drop you at the exact destination.

Leaning Temple
Huma Leaning Temple is one of the two leaning temples of the world. Wikimedia.

Where to stay:

There are various hotels nearby the temple at affordable prices presenting the pleasant view of the outside village.

-Prepared by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram. Twitter @tweet_bhavana 

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Pakistani-origin Bollywood Singer Adnan Sami to Perform in Sri Nagar

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Adnan Sami
Adnan Sami. IANS

Srinagar, Oct 7, 2017: Pakistani-origin Bollywood singer Adnan Sami, who is half Kashmiri, is set to perform a musical gala on the banks of the Dal Lake here on Sunday

The ‘Rhythm in Paradise’ concert will take place at the sprawling lawns of the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) with a select audience of around 3,000 VVIPs.

The SKICC complex has been given a facelift to provide the right ambience. A deweeding and preservation operation in the Dal Lake has been speeded up so that the dazzling lights of the concert fall on clean glistening waters.

“He will perform without charging anything for the over two-hour long concert organised jointly by the union Home Ministry and the Jammu and Kashmir government,” Mehmood Shah, Director of the state Tourism Department, told IANS on Saturday.

Doordarshan will stream the concert live. The government has deployed over 100 liaison officers to ensure that the concert takes place smoothly.

A security drill was held on Saturday around the venue to ensure foolproof security.

Sami interacted with some local artists at the Taj Vivanta Hotel here on Friday evening.

Discussing his music journey and sharing experiences with the local artists, Adnan said: “Language of art is a form of communication that transcends all differences created by humans as it reaches above hate to spread a message of peace and harmony.”

On his experiences of visiting the state, Sami said the region hosted a rich culture which had art woven in its roots.

Also Read: Interview with Bhumi Pednekar: Heroines No More a Mere Tool of Glamour 

“The mysticism and Sufism found in Kashmir will continue to inspire me and influence my music so that I can produce rich melodies,” he said.

Sami tweeted on Saturday: “I really enjoyed meeting the amazing local artists. It was delightful talking with them. Felt as if we knew each other from ages. The love.”

Although he has visited the Kashmir Valley previously including for the shooting a Qawali sequence for Bollywood blockbuster “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, Adnan said about his present visit: “I am in heaven on Earth. Kashmir, Srinagar, love, peace, brotherhood and music.”

Many locals have expressed disappointment about the concert being a closed affair and not open to the general public.

“We looked forward to the concert and were ready to pay for the tickets, but we are now told it is not an open concert,” said Suhail Ahmad, 23, a university student.

According to the organisers, the initial plan was for an open concert but security concerns forced it otherwise. (IANS)