Hundreds of thousands of Muslims thronged mosques to offer prayers as mass animal sacrifices,piety and spirit of brotherhood marked Eid-ul-Azha which was celebrated across the country on Wednesday with traditional fervour.
With security forces keeping a hawk-eye vigil,the congregational prayers passed off peacefully barring sporadic incidents of stone-hurling in Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar.
Muslims rededicated themselves to Islamic tenets of love and piety to mark the Festival of Sacrifice which commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.
Thousands of sheep and goats were sacrificed as people distributed the meat among neighbours and relatives on the pious occasion.
The young and old alike,attired in their best festival outfits,hugged each other wishing ‘Eid Mubarak’ as relief and charity programmes for the poor and needy were held at many places.
Children were a happy lot receiving Eidi (Eid money) from elders.
Clerics and community leaders delivered sermons on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha,also know Bakr-Id,which occurs the day after pilgrims conducting Haj,the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide,descend from Mount Arafat.
Imams,in their speeches,asked the faithful to follow principles of love,compassion and kindness as preached by Islam.
In Srinagar,Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was among over 35,000 people who offered prayers at the Hazratbal Shrine on the banks of picturesque Dal Lake.
The prayers passed off peacefully in the valley barring stray incidents of stone-pelting.
A police driver was killed when he lost control over of his vehicle,which was pelted with stones,and hit a pole in Baramulla district.
In the national capital,the faithful assembled for prayers at Jama Masjid and Fatehpuri Masjid as decked up shops,aflush with accessories,did roaring business.
Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung celebrated Eid with the old,mentally and physically challenged and homeless people at a destitute home.
President Pranab Mukherjee,Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greeted the people on the occasion,saying the festival celebrates the treasured ideals of compassion,sharing and sacrifice.