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Solar eclipse 2019: 'Ring of fire' witnessed in South India, clouds play spoilsport for many

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Thousands of enthusiastic people in the coastal states of Kerala, Karnataka and Telangana witnessed an annular solar eclipse, while clouds and fog blocked a clear view for the rest of India. The last solar eclipse of the decade started at around 8:08 AM and lasted for a little over three hours.

Solar eclipse 2019: 'Ring of fire' witnessed in South India, clouds play spoilsport for many
Thousands of enthusiastic people in the coastal states of Kerala, Karnataka and Telangana witnessed an annular solar eclipse, where a ring of fire was created in the morning sky. For the rest of India, clouds and fog blocked a clear view of the solar eclipse. The last solar eclipse of the decade started at around 8:08 AM and lasted for a little over three hours.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he was unable to enjoy the last solar eclipse of 2019 from the national capital due to a "cloud cover" and could only manage a glimpse.
"Like many Indians, I was enthusiastic about Solar Eclipse 2019. Unfortunately, I could not see the Sun due to cloud cover but I did catch glimpses of the eclipse in Kozhikode and other parts on live stream. Also enriched my knowledge on the subject by interacting with experts," Modi tweeted.
The prime minister’s Twitter post also had pictures of himself watching the annual solar eclipse through the special ultraviolet protection eyeglasses and images of the live stream from Kozhikode.
Huge crowds in souther states despite cloudy sky
In Kerala, the eclipse was first visible at Cheruvathoor in Kasaragod, followed by places in Kozhikode and Kannur. In Wayanad, there was a disappointment as the annular eclipse was not visible due to clouds.
Various temples, including the famous Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple, Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram and the Lord Krishna temple at Guruvayur were closed during the solar eclipse and are expected to open after purification rites.
Meanwhile, in Hyderabad, families thronged Birla Science Planetarium and parks to watch the solar eclipse, wearing solar filters.
The skywatchers thronged Birla Planetarium in the heart of the city and Indira Park, where Planetary Society of India had made special arrangements for the enthusiasts to watch the celestial event.
The solar eclipse coincided with the 15th anniversary of the 2004 tsunami that killed 230,000 people along the coast of the Indian Ocean.
Hindu temples shut, Muslims offer namaaz
Major Hindu temples were closed for devotees on account of the solar eclipse, while Muslims offered special prayers in mosques on Thursday.
The famous Tirumala temple in Andhra Pradesh was closed around 11 p.m. on Wednesday on the eve of the solar eclipse. The temple will re-open after the end of the solar eclipse on Thursday afternoon. Several rituals scheduled at the temple were also cancelled.
Other temples under TTD were also shut on the account of the celestial event. Ancient temples of Goddess Padmavati at Tiruchanoor, Lord Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy temple at Srinivasa Mangapuram and other TTD temples in and around Tirupati were closed.
Various temples in Kerala, including the famous Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple, Padmanabha Swamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram and the Lord Krishna temple at Guruvayur were closed during the solar eclipse.
Meanwhile, Muslims offered special 'namaaz' called 'Salat-ul-Kusoof' on the occasion of the solar eclipse. While the majority of men and women offered the prayers individually at homes, prayers were also offered in congregations at a few mosques.
Several people offered prayers at Masjid-e-Mohammedia and Masjid Islamic Centre in Hyderabad.
The 'imams' who led the prayers quoted the saying of the Prophet Muhammad that solar and lunar eclipses are among numerous signs of Allah, which He uses to remind His servants so that they can return to Him in repentance.
Holy dip in the water
Thousands of devotees from various parts of the country and abroad took a holy dip in the 'sarovar' (pond) on Thursday morning in Haryana's Kurukshetra despite the chilly weather during the solar eclipse, officials said. The government said arrangements had been made for nearly 1.5 million (15 lakh) devotees to arrive for the dip at the 'Brahmsarovar' (Pond of Lord Brahma -- the Hindu god considered the creator of the universe) on the occasion.
People started thronging the town, some 110 km from here, in the wee hours. The minimum temperature was four degrees Celsius.
Kurukshetra, the land of the Hindu mythological epic battle of Mahabharata, is considered a holy place. Elaborate security arrangements were made by the government to manage the devotees during the day. Special buses and trains were run for the convenience of the people.
 
(With inputs from IANS)
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