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Navratra festival 2010 Naina Devi Jawalamukhi, Chamunda and Brajeshwari Devi temples

Thousands of devotees thronged temples in Himachal Pradesh early Tuesday to mark the start of the nine-day long Navratra festival, the holy period of Hindus.

"Long queues were seen since early this (Tuesday) morning. The devotees paid obeisance at the Naina Devi shrine (in Bilaspur). All steps have been taken to ensure the safety of the devotees," Deputy Commissioner Nandita Gupta told IANS.

She said steps have been taken to manage crowd and streamline traffic during the festival.

The hilltop Naina Devi temple in the foothills of Shivaliks in Bilaspur district is one of the prominent temples in northern India.

During the Navratra festival, the devotees from India and abroad visit various shrines in Kangra, Una and Bilaspur districts to pay obeisance to Goddess Durga.

Many devotees have also arrived at Jawalamukhi, Chamunda and Brajeshwari Devi in Kangra district and Chintpurni in Una district.

Superintendent of Police Atul Kumar Fulzele said all necessary arrangements have been made in the temples of Kangra district during the Navratra festival.

He said this time a special police force has been deployed in the temples following warnings of possible strikes by a Punjab terrorist group.

"There have been intelligence inputs that Babbar Khalsa might target temples during Navratras. Accordingly, security has been intensified," he said.

Fulzele said bomb disposal and dog squads have also been deployed.


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