As stated in Nilmat Puran ,being a historical survey of the festivals of Hindus in Kashmir,Hora Ashtami falls on the 8th day of dark fortnight of Phagon every year.This day is celebrated as the beginning of the spring season in Kashmir.This joyful celebration also takes place on account of birthday of Shree Sita Ji who was to Married to Shri Ramchandra Ji. This interpretation takes us to believe that from Hora Ashtami farmers begin to work of their fields after bidding farewell to the winter.
A traditional aspect of the festival explains the topic in yet another way.Shri Sharika Chakreshwar Shrine situated on Hari Parbat hill in Srinagar is famous for celebration of this day throughout the valley.Thousands of devotees from far-flung areas assemble there and offer prayers,keeping awake in meditation throughout the night with composite program of devotional songs or music.They believe that on Hora Ashtami Shree Shrika ji bestows riches and distributes food among her devotees which suffice for the year to come. A more distinct explanation of the topic is derived from Joyotish,Hora is astro science as defined by Baskar in Surya-Sidhant means one hour or to be more accurate,in English the term "Hour" Connotes the same meaning as Hora.That is to say the Sun sets on Hora Ashtami one hour later than it used to get & there is a vivid increase evinced and calculated from Ashtami of dark fortnight of POH,in the day.
There is a mythological story in this repect,most of the people believe that on Hora Ashtami Sharika Ji migrates from Kishtwar to Kashmir.There is also a Devi Shrine in Kishtwar known as Sarthal Devi.The shrine is loacted on the top of mountain and there is a temple at a height of 9000ft. Every arranagement for water and light has been made for facility of pilgrims ..Thousands of people gothere to get their ambitions fulfilled. There is one more respect of the matter connected with Hora-Ashtami.The Hindus draw horsoscopes i.e observations of planets at the time of birth by which astrologers predict the events of life and in every horoscope different daigrams are drawn.Hora being one among them.Hora-Chakra gives birds eye view of the entire span of life according to the gravity of the stars within one hour ofbirth,so much so,even horoscope is derived from Hora itself. Shivratri has a bearing on Hora Ashtami, as Hindus in particular begin to worship Lord Shiva from this day,observing fast and chanting his lore.The span of week from Hora Ashrami till Shiv Ratri is significantly meant for the devotion of the Lord.
In Kashmir, Hindus white wash their houses till Hora Ashtami using 'Hur' or a duster for doing so.They have a firm belief that Lord Shiva graces on the occasion or eve of Shiv Ratri in a liberal way when the House of a devotee is neat and clean.
Wishing all '' Herath -Mubarak ''
By Mr. M.L. Wangnoo