Deepawali today; exuberant shoppers flood markets

Jammu, Nov 11: Exuberance defined the festive ambience in sparkling markets, flooded with shoppers on the eve of festival of lights -Deepawali across Jammu on Saturday.
Amid tight security arrangements, well-lit markets, wearing bridal look, were alive with the festive aura catering to the demands of buyers for exquisite stuff at reasonable prices.

The festival, underlining the triumph of light over darkness; good over evil and knowledge over ignorance, is celebrated on Amavasya (the new moon day) of Kartik (eighth) month of Hindu calendar.
The celebrations continue for five days beginning from Dhanteras followed by Chhoti Deepawali, Deepawali, Goverdhan Puja and Bhai Dooj.

On the eve of Deepawali, in Jammu city and its outskirts, heavy rush was witnessed on sweet shops, dazzling shopping malls, gift stores, mega stores and showrooms dealing in home décor items, clothing, accessories and toys. Tastefully decorated markets of Purani Mandi, Raj Tilak Road, Raghunath market, Residency Road, Hari Market were the favourite shopping destinations in old Jammu city.
Shops selling designer fragrant candles, Diyas (including earthen lamps), incense sticks, buntings, chandeliers, lanterns, idols of Goddesses Lakshmi, Lord Rama and Ganesha and other Puja accessories registered a brisk sale. Mubarak Mandi palaces were also decorated with fancy vibrant lights on the eve of Deepawali.

Amid festive spirit, traffic congestions at some of the busiest areas, however, proved to be irritants for the routine commuters as well as those who were out on shopping spree.
The police administration had ensured adequate security arrangements in the busy markets.

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In the outskirts, posh Gandhinagar, housing some of the most popular and high-end sweet shops, bakery stores and shopping stores drew hordes of shoppers. The area was bustling with animated buyers for whom refurbished Apsara Road (High Street) Market imbuing festive splendour, was an added attraction.

Fire-cracker stalls too witnessed a heavy crowd. The government had earmarked spaces for erecting stalls for sale of fire-crackers. One such designated space was JDA parking facing Hari Singh Park. The water-logging in the area after Friday’s heavy downpour had made the shopkeepers worried. However, brisk sale of firecrackers amid sunny weather on Saturday had brought smiles back on their faces.

Echo for “Vocal for Local” was also visible in the markets as most of the buyers were giving preference to earthen lamps, made by potters over fancy lights, giving a boost to the local economy. Eco-friendly Diyas made by cow-dung too were on sale. Women Self-Help Groups from Udhampur and Arnia besides some other places had made this initiative.
Udita, a B Tech student of Banasthali Vidyapeeth in Rajasthan, who was back in her hometown Jammu to celebrate the festival with the family, was out on a shopping spree along with her brother Arnav and mother at Gole-Market.

“We will buy only Puja accessories including garlands and earthen lamps. But for gifts and clothing, we opted for online shopping. Trendy range is available online,” she shared.
Initially the trading community had certain grievances vis-à-vis online shopping trends yet the last few days reduced their worries as their sales picked up. Many big showrooms and shopping malls offered heavy discounts as part of “festive Dhamaka” to attract buyers.

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