Shimla, Jan 14: Hundreds of devotees braced the cold across Himachal Pradesh on Saturday and took dips in rivers to mark the holy day of 'Makar Sankranti'. Large numbers of devotees were seen congregating at Tattapani, 50 km from here, and Manikaran, home to a Sikh shrine in Kullu district, for holy dips in the Satluj and Parvati rivers, officials said.
Tattapani and Manikaran are known for their hot springs with high sulphur concentration. The natural hot springs located along the Satluj in Tattapani disappeared after the construction of the 800 MW Koldam hydroelectric power project executed by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
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Its reservoir has submerged the hot springs. The state government has made artificial tubs for the devotees to take bath in hot spring waters.
Governor Acharya Devvrat and Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh greeted the people on the occasion. The Chief Minister said in a statement that such festivals provide an opportunity of get-together and sharing happiness.
Likewise, the devotees also took holy dip in Vashist temple, located on the outskirts of the popular tourist resort Manali. The temple is situated on the left bank of Beas river, also known for its hot springs. Makar Sankranti is a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of the country. It also marks the beginning of warmer and longer days compared to the nights.