Navratri begins amid religious fervour, devotion

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Lucknow, Oct 12 (UNI) Shardiya Navratri, the most pious period in the Hindu calendar, began today amid religious fervour and devotion.

The nine days are marked by fasts and special pujas and observing an austere lifestyle to propitiate the diety of power 'Shakti'.

Scores of devotees lined up for special pujas at Shaktipeeth Vindhyachal in Mirzapur district, Naimisaranya in Sitapur district and Pateshwari Devi shrine in Balrampur.

Meanwhile, unprecendent security arrangements have been made, especially in wake of yesterday's blast at Ajmer Sharif.

Almost 25 lakh devotees are expected at the famous Vindhyachal Navratri Mela at the Maa Vindhayavasini shrine.

The fair started today to coincide with the beginning of the pious Navratri period.

Over 2,000 jawans of paramilitary and civil police have been deployed at Vindhyachal.

The puja timings for VVIPs have been fixed and mobile phones banned inside the shrine precincts.

For keeping an extra vigil and counter any untoward incident, plain clothed armed commandoes would keep an eye on the mela area round the clock.

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