Shimla, March 22
Crowds of devotees thronged temples in Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday to mark the start of the nine-day-long Chaitra Navratri.
Necessary arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of the festival, an official at the Brajeshwari Devi told IANS over the phone.
He said they are expecting 20,000-25,000 people every day. On the last two days of the festival, the temple would open for devotees till late midnight.
The festival, dedicated to the worship of the nine avatars of Maa Durga, will conclude with Ram Navami on March 30.
One of the most venerated shrines in north India, the Brajeshwari Devi temple in Kangra town also sees a majority of pilgrims from Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
Also drawing thousands of devotees are Chintpurni temple in Una district, Baba Balak Nath temple in Hamirpur district, the hill-top Naina Devi temple in Bilaspur district, Jwalaji and Chamunda Devi temples in Kangra district, and Bhimakali and Hateshwari temples in Shimla district.
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