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The "Sindhu Darshan" or Sindhu festival aims at projecting the Indus as a symbol of India's unity and communal harmony. While promoting tourism in this area, Sindhu darshan is also a symbolic salute to the brave soldiers of India. This festival holds religious significance even while promoting tourism in that area. Sindhu stands for peaceful coexistence and communal harmony and is a symbol of our country's identity and civilization. The 'Sindhu Yatra' helps forge a bond of unity with those who live in far-flung corners of the country; thus providing them an opportunity to visit the beautiful region of Ladakh.

This festival begins usually on the full moon day in July, which is also termed "Guru Purnima". On the first day, the participants of this festival are welcomed and there is a reception on the banks of Sindhu at Shey, about14 km from Leh on Leh-Hemis Gompa Road. Being a truly National Integration Programme, the reception is jointly conducted by the Ladakh Buddhist Association, Shia majlis, Sunni Anjuman, Christian Moravian Church, Hindu Trust and Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee. A ritual prayer is performed by 50 senior Lamas on the banks of the Sindhu. A host of cultural programmes are performed by the representatives of various states. The celebrations on the banks end with lunch for all the participants.

Later, the participants are taken around for a sight-seeing trip. The day concludes with a campfire and get-together at night.

On the third Day Sindhu Pujan takes place followed by cultural programmes and sightseeing. Then on the fourth day, the participants get ready for departure.

There is a legend that the great Buddha had graced Sindhi with his visit. Finding the climate extreme, and the area dry and dusty, he had permitted the "Bhikshus" to wear shoes here. He had also permitted the use of padded clothing, forbidden elsewhere. Here 'Sthavitris', the Prince of Rorik or Rohri (Aror or Alor, near modern Rohri) became his disciple. When the Buddha went round his native Kapilavastu in a chariot, it was mentioned that the "four auspicious horses, of lotus colour, had come from Sindhudesh."

To this day, historic Buddhist Stupas are found in Sindh. The Divyavadana (Tibetan version) reports: "The Buddha is in Rajgriha. At this time, there were two great cities in Jampudiv (north India), Pataliputra and Roruka. When Roruka rises, Pataliputra declines; when Pataliputra rises, Roruka declines". Here was Roruka of Sindh competing with the capital of the Magadha Empire. When Bimbisar was the king of the Magadha, he sent Rudrayan, king of Sindhu- Sauvira, a rare portrait of the Buddha. The two powerful ministers of Sindh at the time were Hiroo and Bheru, their names still common amongst the Sindhis!

Chadragupta Maurya first won Sindh and then Punjab. It was from this base that he displaced the Nandas, occupied Pataliputra and established the great Mauryan Empire.

Sindh was part of Dasaratha's empire. When Kekayi goes into a sulk, Dasaratha tells her, 'The sun does not set on my empire. Sindh, Sauvira, Saurashtra, Anga, Vanga, Magadha, Kashi, Koshal - they are all mine". When Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, Lord Rama sent the 'Vanaras' (monkeys) to look for her, among other places, in Sindh with its "remarkable swimming horses".

Kashmir's ancient royal history Rajatirangini has many references to Sindh and the Sindhis. Kuya's son Sindhu rose to lead the elephant brigade of Kashmir. He was advisor to Queen Dida. A top honour was "Sindhu Gaja ", Elephant of sindh.



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