Shimla, January 14: Braving the extreme chill, thousands of people across Himachal Pradesh took a dip in rivers on Saturday to mark Makar Sankranti. Crowds were reported at Tattapani, 50 km from the state capital, and Manikaran, home to a Sikh shrine in Kullu district, for a holy dip in the Sutlej and Parvati rivers, respectively, officials said.

Both Tattapani and Manikaran, known for hot springs with high sulphur concentration, witnessed a majority of devotees mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. "Every year over 25,000 devotees visit Tattapani to mark Makar Sankranti," a priest told IANS over phone. Gangasagar Mela 2023: Devotees Including Naga Sadhus Gather To Take Holy Dip on Makar Sankranti Occasion in Kolkata (See Pics).

Likewise, the devotees took a holy bath in Vashisht 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.

A family from Shimla has been holding the traditional 'khichdi bhandara' on Makar Sankranti at Tattapani. For the first time in 92 years it was called off in 2021 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This time the Durga Devi Bihari Lal Brochan Lal Charitable Trust cooked 500 kg khichdi to serve to 5,000 visitors, said trust president Ramesh Chand Sood.

In 2020, the khichdi, weighing 1,995 kg, was prepared jointly by the state Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation and the trust in a single utensil to mark Makar Sankranti and entered the Guinness World Records.

Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar and Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu felicitated the people to mark Makar Sankranti, a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of the country. Makar Sankranti also marks the beginning of warmer and longer days compared to the nights.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 14, 2023 03:34 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website