Where lovers come to pay their annual homage


Sriganganagar : Every year in June, lovers from all over India congregate in a sleepy village along the India-Pakistan border in Rajasthan in memory of the legendary lovers Laila and Majnu.

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According to folklore, the tombs of Laila and Majnu are located in Binjore village, about 600 km from Jaipur.

Legend has it that Laila and Majnu were passionately in love and ran away from home when their parents objected to their marriage. They got lost in the desert and came to Binjore in search of water but died before finding any water.

As it happens annually, the fair was held this year in the middle of June in memory of the legendry lovers. Binjore came alive as hundreds of newly married and unmarried couples came from far-flung areas to pray at the tombs.

Even though historians say that Laila and Majnu are only mythical figures, many believe they did exist once upon a time.

Ashok Nagpal, a local resident, said: "Some years ago, this part of the country was submerged in floodwaters. But these two tombs remained untouched. This substantiated our belief that this is not just a tomb, but a special place."

Many others echo Nagpal's faith.

Meenu, a tourist who recently got married, said: "We heard this is a Mecca for lovers and one must visit this place for a long and happy married life."

Some people come here to pray for conjugal bliss while others, who are in love but not married, hope that they will soon be able to tie the knot.

Parminder Singh, a resident of Moga in Punjab, believes a visit to the tomb expedited his marriage plans.

"In fact, I would say my lover became my spouse only because of this visit. There was stiff resistance in the house since she is of another caste," he said.

Lilting ghazals and qawwalis as well as folk dance recitals spiced up evenings during the festival. Fakirs sang paeans for Laila-Majnu, whose love story wafted in the air in and around Binjore.