Jaipur, Aug 24: India is known as a land of diversity and festivals play a huge importance in the country. At a time when news of communal tensions is one rise in the country, there are also places where humanity and happiness have primary importance before religion. Not many people know but Narhar Dargah, also known as Sharif Hazrat Hajib Shakarbar Dargah, situated 200 kms from Jaipur has been celebrating Janmashtami for the past 300-400 years. A three-day celebration during Janmashtami is organised in this Dargah and people from different parts of the country participate in it. During the three days, around 400 shops near dargah are decorated and events similar to temples like Qawwali and dance are held in the Dargah.

“Its very hard to say the exact time and reason from when this festival is celebrated in the dargah but this marks an important event for national and communal unity. Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs stay together and organise the event.” says dargah secretary Usman Ali Pathan. Newly wed couple come here and pray for a happy married life and people from states like Bihar, Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana and West Bengal visit this dargah during the festival. (ALSO READ: This Hindu man wakes up Muslims for Sehri during Ramadan)

“Thousands of Hindus come here and offer coconuts and flowers to the shrine and stay together. The idea behind organising this festival is to increase the love and unity among different religions in the country,” added Pathan. Devotees visiting the Dargah are surprised by such an event and the way it is smoothly organised and run from almost 400 years. Stories like this marks the unity and Hindu-Muslim brotherhood in the country. (ALSO READ- Krishna Janmashtami 2016: Importance & Significance of Golkulashtami festival!)

Janmashtami marks the birth of lord Krishna, considered as the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu. This year Janmashtami will be celebrated on August 25 throughout the country. The actual celebration takes place during midnight as Lord Krishna is believed to be born on a dark and stormy night. The celebrations in the Dargah will also start during midnight and will continue for three days. Puja, aarti, blowing of the conch and will take place throughout the country to celebrate Janamshtami. (ALSO READ: Mumbai Muslims show path of communal harmony, perform last rites of Hindu woman)

Krishna Janmashtami celebrations at Mathura and Vrindavan, the places where Lord Krishna spent his life are very special. The temples are beautifully decorated for the day. Prayers are offered the entire night and Bhajans are sung in the temple. In Mumbai, Janamashtami is celebrated as Dahi Handi and human pyramid formation competition is organised in various parts of the city. The participant groups visit these places and take part in the competition where winner gets a cash prize. Last year, the Bombay High Court had restricted participation of youth below 12-year-old. The Supreme Court has also banned participation of youth below 18 from participating in the event. The organisers are in a bit of confusion as of now with just a day left for the festival.

However, celebration of Janmashtami in a Muslim village of Rajasthan with people belonging to Hindu, Muslim and Sikh religion coming together and celebrating this festival, shows the cultural equality the country shared despite the differences in the name of religion. Celebrations like these promote Hindu Muslim brotherhood and harmony.

-By Sohit Mishra