Devotees throng Jhiri on Kartik Poornima

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Jammu, Nov 13 (UNI) Jhiri Mela, a famous week-long fair depicting the power of sacrifice for truth, started today on ''Kartik Poornima'' with large number of devotees thronging the temple of a farmer-saint, Baba Jitto, who sacrificed his life for the sake of truth.

Jhiri, a small village about 18 km north-west to the Jammu city, turns out to be the biggest pilgrim destination during the first week after ''Kartik Poornima'' where devotees seek blessings of Baba Jittoo -- a farmer who had preferred ending his life on the heap of wheat over injustice at the hands of 'Zamidar'.

Devotees also seek blessings of Bua Kodi, the little daughter of Jitto, who had jumped on the pyre of the Baba.

In the temple premises, devotees take dip in a natural pond, the water and mud of which is believed to be have the healing power to cure the victims of witchcraft.

The 'Kartik Poornima' remains the main day of the fair when lakhs of devotees, including the successors of people who had eaten the wheat on which Baba Jitto had laid his life, visit the temple.

Several playoffs, exhibitions, temporary eating points, variety of sweets and local food items make this traditional fair a pilgrim- cum-excursion point for the people.

However, the arrangements for managing the crowd at Jhiri remain a problem for the administration. People who come from outside the state generally sleep under open sky while temperature plunges ten degrees Celsius or even less.

Administration, in assistance to the local committee looking after the fair, has made special arrangements to cater to the needs of large crowd of devotees visiting Jhiri.

Talking to UNI, District Commissioner Manohar K Bhandri said the administration had taken all possible measures to provide best facility to the visiting devotees.

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