HYDERABAD (AFP/APP) - Parents buried paralysed children up to their necks in a muddy riverbed Wednesday, believing that a total eclipse of the sun would allow them to walk. Two paralysed girls and a boy were buried up to their heads into the Indus River bank in Hyderabad for 90 minutes while a spiritual leader recited from the Holy Quran. Whenever theres a solar eclipse, I go to Hyderabad to help heal suffering humanity, said Arif Shah, who read from the Holy Quran. Allah bestows powers in the paralysed parts of handicapped people during an eclipse and certainly heals them, Shah said. Nadeem, the father of four-year-old Palwasha whose left side is paralysed, said he had great hopes that his daughters health would improve. I dont mind if she doesnt recover fully but if it helps her recover to a certain extent, it will be enough to make us happy, he said. People in Sindh believe the solar eclipse offers special treatment to people suffering from a variety of ailments. Our society believes in myths. Such methods are all based on myths and have nothing to do with medical science, said psychiatrist Syed Ali Wasif. Meanwhile, Pakistanis were able to partially see the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century on Wednesday. The Pakistan Meteorological Department told a private TV channel here Wednesday that eclipse started at 5:58am, was at its height at 8:35am and would end at 11:12am. The total eclipse was visible from India, China, the Japanese island and the South Pacific Ocean. The partial eclipse was visible from South Asia, East Asia, Indonesia and Islands of Pacific Ocean. The last total solar eclipse observed in Pakistan was on Aug 11, 1999 in Karachi. Students and faculty of the astronomy department took keen interest in the phenomenon. The eclipse is met with trepidation and fear by some Pakistanis who believe that it is dangerous to undertake certain acts when an eclipse takes place. Pregnant women are told to stay indoors and not to cut anything, otherwise their child will be born with a cleft lip. Meanwhile, the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century plunged millions across Asia into temporary darkness on Wednesday, triggering scenes of religious fervour, fear and excitement in India and China. Ancient superstition and modern commerce came together in what was likely to end up being the most watched eclipse in history, due to its path over Earths most densely inhabited areas. A woman was killed in a stampede in the holy city of Varanasi where tens of thousands of devout Hindus had crowded the river Ganges at dawn. Police said the 80-year-old fainted in the crush to enter a temple near the banks of the river and suffocated, triggering panic. More than 20 people were injured. With Hindu priests conducting special prayers, the crowds in Varanasi cheered and then raised their arms in salutation as the sun re-emerged from behind the moon, before they took a spiritually purifying dip in the rivers holy waters. A total solar eclipse usually occurs every 18 months or so, but Wednesdays spectacle was special for its maximum period of totality - when the sun is wholly covered by the moon - of six minutes and 39 seconds. Such a lengthy duration will not be matched until the year 2132. State-run China Central Television provided minute-by-minute coverage of what it dubbed The Great Yangtze River Solar Eclipse as the phenomenon cut a path along the rivers drainage basin. Millions of people in areas of southwestern China enjoyed a clear line of sight, according to images broadcast on CCTV, but the view was obstructed along much of its path by cloudy weather. Shanghai viewers braved rain and overcast skies to witness the spectacle as darkness shrouded Chinas commercial hub at 9:36 am (0136 GMT). Its like magic, the day turns into night in such a short period of time ... I have no idea where I am right now. It feels like a different world, said Chen Hong, a biotech company chief executive. Despite the weather, hotels along Shanghais famed waterfront Bund packed in the customers with eclipse breakfast specials. Those who could afford it grabbed expensive seats on planes chartered by specialist travel agencies that promised extended views of the eclipse as they chased the shadow eastwards. The cone-shaped shadow, or umbra, created by the total eclipse first made landfall on the western Indian state of Gujarat shortly before 6:30 am (0100 GMT). It then raced across India and squeezed between Bangladesh and Nepal before engulfing most of Bhutan, traversing the Chinese mainland and slipping back out to sea off Shanghai. From there it moved across the islands of southern Japan and veered into the western Pacific. In Mumbai, hundreds of people who trekked up to the Nehru planetarium clutching eclipse sunglasses found themselves reaching for umbrellas and rain jackets instead as heavy overnight rain turned torrential. Superstition has always haunted the moment when Earth, moon and sun are perfectly aligned. The daytime extinction of the sun, the source of all life, is associated with war, famine, flood and the death or birth of rulers. The ancient Chinese blamed a sun-eating dragon. In Hindu mythology, the two demons Rahu and Ketu are said to swallow the sun during eclipses, snuffing out its light and causing food to become inedible and water undrinkable. Some Indian astrologers had issued predictions laden with gloom and foreboding, and a gynaecologist at a Delhi hospital said many expectant mothers scheduled for July 22 caesarian deliveries insisted on changing the date. The last total solar eclipse was on August 1 last year and also crossed China. The next will be on July 11, 2010, but will occur almost entirely over the South Pacific.