Muslims in northern India's Jammu and Kashmir state invited guests from various communities for an Iftar dinner - the evening meal at which Muslims break their daily Ramadan fast, setting an example of promoting communal amity.
Kashmiris are well known for their hospitality and communal harmony all over the world and the holy month of Ramadan accentuates these traits.
Among many traditions followed in the state one of the oldest traditions has been holding Iftar dinners (fast-breaking meal) jointly with various communities, which is being revived after it was lost during insurgency since decades.
A Sikh resident of Srinagar attending Iftar dinner (fast-breaking meal), Surjeet Singh said that it was a joyous occasion that people of all communities had come together for the meal.
“It is a matter of great joy that we have all come together. Hindu, Muslim, Sikh's we have all come together to sit down for this Iftar meal and I hope and pray to god that our love and friendship with each other continues to remain strong,” said Singh.
As the situation in Kashmir resembles a modicum of normalcy now locals have started organizing joint Iftar parties with people from all communities and religions coming together for the meal.
In a display of communal harmony, Muslim local's organized Iftar dinner for Sikh and Hindu guests at joint gatherings, which used to be a regular feature before militancy.
“We used to celebrate the Iftar party together in the month of Roza but due to the some circumstances this tradition was scarcely followed but by the grace of god the circumstances have improved and like the olden time we are again celebrating this with the spirit of brotherhood,” said Professor an resident and attendee for the Iftar party, Khazir Muhammad.
Iftar is the time when the fasting Muslims break their fasts after fasting from dusk to dawn.
The Ramadan month begins with the sighting of the new moon, which varies in different time zones.
It is the ninth of 12 months in the Islamic calendar. The month honors the Angel Gabriel's revelation of the Koran, the holy scripture of Islam, to the Prophet Mohammed at a meditation retreat in a cave about 1,400 years ago.
Muslims eat an elaborated breakfast known as Sehri (a pre-dawn meal) before they begin their day-long fast for the month of forgiveness and rush to the mosques for the morning prayers Fajr, which are conducted at dawn.
Fasting, charity, daily prayers, the declaration of faith and pilgrimage to Mecca are the five pillars of Islam.
The holy month is typically celebrated with large evening banquets, where families gather to break their day long fast with dates and water after sunset offering evening prayers, Magrib, followed by Iftar (fast-breaking), a splendid meal of salads, sweet beverages and traditional deserts.
Ramadan lasts for 29 or 30 days and ends with the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations, tens of millions across the Muslim world make every effort to be more spiritual and charitable.
Muslims are expected to refrain from eating, smoking, drinking liquids and carnal indulgence between dawn and dusk during the month of Ramadan.