Srinagar, Oct 14: Eid shopping reached a feverish pitch across the Kashmir Valley Monday, with roads in the summer capital Srinagar choked by a sea of shoppers and motorists.
Men, women and the young hunted for hosiery items, bakery, poultry and mutton to celebrate the holy Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Azha which falls on Wednesday.
After the pavement traders spread their stalls virtually all over Srinagar, roads in the city got choked by afternoon. Traffic policemen had a tough time regulating the flow of vehicles.
While queues of buyers were seen outside bakery and mutton shops, the most crowded places in the city were the makeshift animal markets, especially at the Eidgah ground in the Old City.
This is where sellers from different parts of the valley and even from far off Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu region had brought their sheep and goats to be sold as sacrificial animals.
A special attraction for Muslims buying the sacrificial animals this year is a dozen odd camels from Rajasthan to be sold at premium prices.
One camel seller had priced his pair of the desert ship at Rs.1.5 lakh.
Well fed, fat sacrificial sheep and goats with decorated horns are fetching sellers good prices.
Although the animals are being sold at an average rate of Rs.200 per kg of their live weight, a better reared animal fetches more.
A fat, black goat was sold for Rs.20,000 at the Eidgah ground.
According to the Muslim tradition, a devout Muslim can offer a goat or sheep as a sacrificial animal while one camel will suffice for the vow of seven Muslims.
Muslims around the world offer animal sacrifice on Eid-ul-Azha, also called Bakr Eid, to commemorate the sacrifice offered by Prophet Abrahim.
Allah ordered Abrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail. When the blindfolded father moved the blade on his son’s throat to carry out the divine command, a sheep from heaven replaced Ismail.
It is to celebrate the absolute submission of Prophet Abrahim to Allah’s command and the saving of Ismail’s life that Muslims offer animal sacrifices on Eid-ul-Azha.
While children preferred to buy firecrackers and toys to add to the joy of Eid, discerning parents chose to buy warm clothing for the ensuing winter.
The other main attraction as usual were bakery products. Cakes, pastries, cookies and biscuits sold like hot cakes.
Some of the better known bakery shops in Srinagar had taken orders as long as a month back.
“I had placed my order with the baker a month ago. Even after that, I had to queue up this morning to get my ordered goods,” said Sajad Ahmad, a resident of Hyderpora in Srinagar.
Although the district and provincial administration said special market checking squads had been moved to control prices in Srinagar and other towns of the valley, shopkeepers had a field day dictating prices to their customers.
“The same Jersey with the same brand label has varying prices at different hosiery shops. One doesn’t want to spoil one’s mood by getting into an argument with a shopkeeper around the Eid time. There is no doubt they fleece customers on such occasions,” said contractor Nazir Ahmad, 42.