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Traditional ‘Zool’ festival observed at Shrine of Zainu-din Wali (RA)

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Aishmuqam: Hundreds of devotees thronged the holy shrine of Kashmir’s noted saint Sakhi Zainuddin Wali (RA) in Aishmuqam where they performed the traditional ‘Zool’ ritual.
Locals from Ashimuqam said that this year in view of the Ramadan, locals observed Zool at their residences at individual level.
“We performed a zool ritual at our residence, as did others and most of the people visited the shrine and cave during the day,” he said, adding that hundreds of people continue to throng the shrine.
The ritual is performed by devotees as a mark of respect for the saint as it is held to mark the beginning of agricultural activity after a prolonged winter season.
The Sufi saint is believed to have settled in Aishmuqam and is said to have gone into deep meditation inside the cave and battled a demon that was petrifying the villagers.
To celebrate his victory, people assemble every year and light up their wooden torches and oil lamps.
More than hundred staircases, leading to the shrine, are also lit up by the devotees on the occasion.
“People enter the cave mausoleum seeking the blessings to end their miseries,” said a devotee, Tanveer Ahmed.
For the thousands of pilgrims who gather at Ashmuqam, the annual torch festival also symbolizes the end of the long winter and the beginning of the new sowing season.
People from different communities visit the shrine to spread the message of communal harmony and brotherhood, added Tanveer. (KNO)

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