Prayers, fasts and feasts in the valley – this is how Kashmir celebrates Ramadan

Kashmir: The holy month of Ramadan is celebrated with great fanfare in the valley. At this sacred time of the year, Muslims observe ‘Roza’ and refrain from eating and drinking.

In the early hours of the morning during Ramadan, when the valley is plunged into darkness, its inhabitants are sound asleep, the sound of drums pierces the silence and a voice rings in the air: “Waqhtey Sahar! (It’s time for Sahar).

They are the Sahar Khans – the human awakenings of the people of Kashmir – who roam the streets before dawn, beating their drums and diligently reminding the Muslims of the valley to wake up for their pre-dawn meal, or Sahar, so that they can prepare themselves for hours of fasting ahead in the holy month of Ramadan.

Prayers, charity and food characterize the Muslim-dominated valley for the month of Ramadan. The streets light up with festive colors and the mosques resound with prayers.

After the pre-dawn meal, the air is filled with calls to prayer and dozens of people fill the mosques and shrines that dot the valley landscape.

For fasting Muslims, break their fast (iftar – the evening meal). with which the Ramadan fast is broken – is an opportunity to feast on local specialties such as Babribyol trash (a drink made from basil seeds), firien (made from semolina and milk), qateer ( a tragacanth-based drink), custards, fruit juices, dates and mutton and chicken dishes.

Ramadan is the most important month for Muslims around the world.

Here is how the Valley celebrates Ramadan:

Ali Mohammad 55, a Kashmiri Ramadan drummer or human alarm known locally as Sahar Khana bangs his drum as he walks through the dark alleys on the outskirts of Srinagar, Kashmir | Sajad Hamid/FPJ

Kashmiri Muslims recite the Holy Quran inside the shrine during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar, Kashmir.

Kashmiri Muslims recite the Holy Quran inside the shrine during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar, Kashmir. | Sajad Hamid/FPJ

Kashmiri Muslim students from a Madrasa, an Islamic religious school, recite the Holy Quran during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar, Kashmir.

Kashmiri Muslim students from a Madrasa, an Islamic religious school, recite the Holy Quran during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar, Kashmir. | Sajad Hamid/FPJ

Kashmiri shop for vegetables and other essentials in a <a class=market during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar, Kashmir.”/>

Kashmiri shop for vegetables and other essentials in a market during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar, Kashmir. | Sajad Hamid/FPJ

Kashmiri people pray inside the shrine during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar, Kashmir

Kashmiri people pray inside the shrine during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar, Kashmir | Sajad Hamid/FPJ

A Kashmiri man praying inside the shrine during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar, Kashmir

A Kashmiri man prays inside the shrine during the holy month of Ramadan in Srinagar, Kashmir | Sajad Hamid/FPJ

Sajad Hamid/FPJ

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Posted: Monday April 25th 2022, 12:37 IST

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