SHIMLA, INDIA, October 16,2012 (Indo-Asian News Service): Tens of thousands of devotees assembled in different parts of Himachal Pradesh Tuesday and offered prayers on the onset of the nine-day Navratra, considered by Hindus to be an auspicious period. "We are expecting the arrival of 50,000 people daily at the Naina Devi temple during the festival," temple office Sukhdev Thakur told IANS. He said security has been beefed up and closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed to manage the crowd. One of the busiest shrines in north India, the hilltop Naina Devi temple in Bilaspur district sees a majority of pilgrims from Punjab and Haryana.
Likewise, the popular shrines of Chintpurni in Una district and Jwalaji and Brajeshwari Devi temples in Kangra district witnessed a huge rush. People would be able to have live darshan of Brajeshwari and Jwalaji temples on www.divineindia.com and Naina Devi on www.srinainadevi.com "One can literally have a parikrama (circumambulation) of the temple," a temple official said. The ban on offering coconuts would continue in all the prominent temples in the state as a precaution against a terrorist attack. Meanwhile, during the Navratra festivities, the Election Commission (EC) has barred all kinds of political activities in the poll-bound state. An election official said that during the festival, political leaders cannot be invited as chief guests and they cannot use it (the festival) as a platform for campaigning. The polling in the hill state for the 68-member assembly will be held Nov 4.