Bhadarwah (J&K): Doors of the 700-year-old Subar Nag temple, a symbol of Naga Cult, were thrown open on the eve of Baisakhi as scores of devotees across the country on Friday thronged the shrine as part of annual Nag Yatra.
The temple situated at an altitude of 8,200 feet from the sea level in the lush green meadows of Subar Dhar, 35 km from Bhadarwah town of Doda district, is considered to be a symbol of the Nag culture, which prevailed in the state centuries ago.
The presiding deity in the temple is a serpent Subar Nag and devotees, as per a custom, sacrifice sheep after their wishes are fulfilled.
"Bhadarwah is known for its ancient and unique Nag Culture. Nag Puja is an important aspect of our culture," a devotee said.
The Yatra begins with the opening of gate of the Nag temple at Subar Dhar during the month of Chetra every year and is closed before the onset of winter, as heavy snow fall in the area makes it impossible to reach the place.
"It is our tradition and we have been coming here for decades. It is our belief that whatever one desires here, is fulfilled by the deity," said Hari Lal, a local devotee.
"The Yatra has been going on for over thousands of years and people from all communities, including Muslims, have immense faith in the Serpent goddess," said Ajit Sharma, Sarpanch of Cinchora Panchayat.
"I came here twice before to attend the Baisakhi festival and fell in love with the lush green meadows surrounded by snow peaked Kailash and Ashapati range of mountains. I feel lucky to come here and would love to visit this place again," said a Muslim tourist, Khalid Rasool Angrez.