Shivratri is a festival of great significance for Hindus all over the world including Kashmiris. In Kashmir, Shivaratri is also called Hayrath which in Persian largely means ‘utter surprise’. The term, Hayrath, was coined during the Pathan rule in the valley.
The legend goes that the Pathan governor of Kashmir, Jabaar Khan forbade Kashmiri Pandits from celebrating Shivaratri festival in winter in the lunar month of Phalgun (Feb-March). Instead, the tyrannical ruler forced them to celebrate it in the hottest month of Aashaadh (June-July).
It is believed that every Kashmiri girl is a Parvati and is wedded to Shiva. The Shivratri symbolises the wedding of the two, and on this occasion the Bhairavas and other Ganas accompanying Lord Shiva are fed with choicest dishes up to the fill and to their satisfaction.
In Melbourne, the Kashmiri Pandits Cultural Association celebrated the occasion at Mount Martha with full gusto. From traditional songs and dance to Bollywood numbers, everyone pipped in to make the day a success.
The attendees of the annual event, that commenced with the Shiv-ling Puja, enjoyed the home cooked authentic Kashmiri cuisine.
Almost 50 Kasjmiri Pandit attended the event, which according to the new KPCA president Dr Anjali Razdan, has been a signature event of the community. (TIW)