Why is #Mahashivratri known as Hairat/Herat in Kashmir? Kashmiri Hindus had a tradition of carving Linga with snow on Shivaratri. Jabbar Khan, Afghan governor, banned Shivaratri & ordered Hindus to celebrate festival in snow-less Ashadha(July).
That year, it miraculously snowed in Ashadha and Shivaratri was celebrated. Everybody was shocked (Hairat=shock in Persian) and festival was celebrated. Kashmiris have a saying “Wuchton yih Jabbar, jandah, Haras tih karun wandah”- look at Jabbar wretch, he turned Hara into snow”.
Incidentally, Jabbar was the last Afghan governor of Kashmir. Within 8 years of this incident, a general of Maharaja Ranjit Singh named Misr Diwan Chand (who himself was an ardent Shiva devotee) invaded Kashmir & Afghan rule came to an end. Afghans were expelled from Kashmir.
Although some linguists give a simple etymological derivation of Herath from *hara+ratri, the above anecdote is its traditional exegesis as preserved in the Kashmiri Hindu tradition.
(This article has been compiled from the tweet thread posted by @TrueIndology on February 18, 2023)