SHIMLA: Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Saturday appealed to people to perform all religious ceremonies as per traditional practices.  Virbhadra said lives of the people of state revolve around local gods, goddesses and deities that are part of almost all activities. “We should perform all religious ceremonies as per traditional practice,” he said.

During the opening of the weeklong international Shivratri fair, he announced to open a medical university in Mandi district, and a medical college at Ner Chowk which would start functioning in this fiscal year to give push to the health sector.

After paying obeisance at the famous Madho Rai temple, Virbhadra participated in the traditional Jaleb (procession) of Shivratri fair. Cabinet ministers including Kaul Singh Thakur, Prakash Chaudhary, Anil Sharma and Karan Singh accompanied him.

Thousands of people dressed in their colourful attire thronged the procession carrying along the palanquins of local deities and marched towards the Paddal ground. Around two hundred deities participated in the procession from different parts of Mandi.

While addressing the gathering, Virbhadra announced 10% increase in Nazrana of the local deities. He said it was for the first time that the Bajantaris (musicians) would also be given Nazrana separately.

The CM added that as far as our ancient temples are concerned, they would be conserved and renovated, keeping intact the ancient hill-architecture. He said the government was serious to protect those temples which were on the verge of collapse.