Archana (38) is busy haggling with a vendor selling crackers. She is asking for discount on the purchase of 10 packets of firecrackers. Her 10-year-old son Arjun holding the packets is urging his mother to pay vendor quickly as they have to make further purchases.
"Mother if you will spend time here, then we will be late," Arjun tells Archana. "We need to purchase candles and sweets also. "
Arjun's eagerness to reach home in a jiffy and start setting off crackers is conspicuous on his face.
Minutes after the mother-son duo enter the known confectionery shop in the busy market of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian- controlled Kashmir, to purchase sweets. The shop is crowded with the people purchasing different varieties of sweets. It is Diwali rush in the region.
Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights is being celebrated Tuesday across Indian-controlled Kashmir along with other Indian states with traditional enthusiasm and religious fervor.
"I will burst these crackers in the evening and decorate the widow sills of my flat with candles," said Arjun, with a glint of smile on his face.
Though the main celebrations are going on in Jammu city, the winter capital of Kashmir, the Hindus in Muslim majority areas including Hindu residents commonly known as Kashmiri pandits too celebrate the festival with piety.
The Hindus visit temples, wear news clothes and illuminate their houses to celebrate the festival.
"We are coming back from the temple after offering prayers," said Atul Chander, a non-local Hindu posted in a bank. Chander is celebrating Diwali away from the home for the first time.
"I want to buy some packs of sweets so that I will offer them to the people coming to my place today," said Chander. "I am in a festive mood and want to celebrate the festival of lights."
Special prayers are being organized in temples, especially in Jammu city, the region's winter capital. Temples have been decorated and illuminated with electric bulbs and buntings.
The Hindu priests chant religious hymns in the temples. Hundreds of Hindu devotees make bee-line to the temples and participate in hymn singing.
"We pray let this festival bring happiness and peace in our lives," said Rupaali Devi, a devotee outside a temple in Aimara Kadal, on the bank of River Jehlum.Hindus in the region and across India lit earthen oil lamps during evenings to illuminate their houses.
People are also thronging markets to buy gifts for friends and relatives.The Indian army and paramilitary troopers posted in the region also celebrate the festival. The troopers are bursting fire crackers and have lit candles inside their camps. The sound of cracker bursting was audible outside their stationed camps.
The markets in Jammu that witness a huge rush on Diwali have been decorated to attract the shoppers.
Diwali festival marks an official holiday in the region.The festival is being celebrated in the memory of Hindu God Lord Rama' s homecoming after completing 14 years in exile in the forest and his victory over demon king Ravana.
The region's Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Governor N N Vohra have extended greetings to the Hindus in view of Diwali.