RAWALPINDI, Nov 13: The Hindi festival of Diwali started on Tuesday to mark the beginning of the New Year in the Hindu calendar and the homecoming from 14 years’ exile of Hindu god Ram Jee.

The garrison city’s Hindu community decorated their houses with colours called Rangoli and lit earthen lamps. It was fun for children and the youth as they also enjoyed fireworks. The families visited their neighbours and relatives to exchange greetings and sweets.

The Hindus started the festival with paying Puja in the Krishna Temple, which has been illuminated by fancy lights and Rangoli. Youngsters at Krishna Mandir were seen using mobile phones to send SMS to wish each other Happy Diwali.

According to Hindus, Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Hindu god Ram Jee to Ayodhya from his exile after conquering Lanka and killing demon-king Ravan.

“After the victory of Ram Jee and his return to Ayodhya, the people lit earthen lamps to celebrate the event,” explained Jagmohan Kumar Arora.He said Diwali symbolised the victory of good over evil, and lamps were lit as a sign of celebration and hope for the mankind. He said the first two days, the Hindus celebrated the festival at their houses and a congregation would be held at Krishna Mandir on Friday evening at the end of festivities.

According to him, the festival is connected with deep-rooted cultural values of Hindu religion. People wake up early in the morning, wear new clothes, offer prayers and touch the feet of their elders. In return, the elders give them Diwali gifts.

He said the festival started with Gaytree Mantra followed by reciting verses from Ramayana and collective prayers. After that, children and women lit lamps and displayed fireworks.

On the third day, Hindus offer special prayers while earthen lamps, candles and firework are lit to mark the jubilations and seek blessings for their well-being and good fortune.

TAXILA: Since the region lacks Hindu temples which had been demolished in the post-partition era, Hindus arrived at the Sikh temple of Gurdwara Punja Sahib, Hassanabdal to celebrate the religious festival of Diwali.

Arrangements for the festivals were made by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB).

A large number of Sikhs also joined the celebration and participated in special prayers to mark the event. They gathered to sing bhajans and hymns.

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