Bracing the extreme winter chill, hundreds of devotees across Himachal Pradesh on Monday took dips in rivers to mark Makar Sankranti, a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of the country. Large numbers of devotees were seen congregating at Tattapani, 50 km from here, and Manikaran, home to a Sikh shrine in Kullu district, for dips in the Satluj and Parvati rivers respectively, 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). 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 Jai Ram Thakur greeted the people on the occasion. 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 also marks the beginning of warmer and longer days compared to the nights.
(With inputs from agencies.)