Karachi, Sept 22 : The Hindus living in Karachi have begun preparations for the forthcoming "Navratras", the nine-day fasting period preceding Diwali scheduled to begin from October 1.
Temples are being decorated and stalls erected to sell puja-samagri. In some temples, shopkeepers are already selling Pooja items, including brass lamps, charnamantra pots, and incense sticks stands on makeshift stalls.
As the celebrations draw closer, these shops will also start selling betel leaves, betel nuts, coconuts, roses, jasmine, lotus and other flowers held as an important part of the Pooja, reported the Daily Times.
Many Hindus get their houses cleaned before the festival, usually on Amavasya (moonless night), a night before Navratras begin.
Some Hindu communities in Sindh celebrate Sarhad 16 days before Navratri, in which male family members perform "Tarpan" offering food to birds, especially crows, and later, they offer food items and small gift to the young children, particularly girls, in the neighborhood.
Other communities celebrate Sarhad during the nine-day long Navratri. "Some festivals are celebrated by all Hindus in Pakistan and India, but depending on cultural background, how they celebrate can vary," the paper quoted said Lakhraj Gul, a social worker, as saying.
He said that some of the Hindu festivals celebrated in Sindh are not even known in India and several festivals celebrated in India are not celebrated in Sindh. "Most of the festivals are cultural based," he explained.
"These nine nights of Navratri are the most sacred nights. A large number of people restrict themselves to a room and begin special worship ceremonies to make Shakti Devi (the goddess of power) happy," said young Shakuntala.
She had come to purchase some brass lamps and other Pooja items for the festivals at a small temple in Gulshan-e-Iqbal town.
Chandar Parkash, a pundit at a small temple on main University Road, said: "In Hinduism, the brass metal is taken to be the most pure metal and saffron the most sacred color. Hindus believe that these touch intellectuality, so we mostly use Pooja items made of brass and cover ourselves, whether completely or just our heads, with a saffron-colored cloth."