Kheer Bhawani- Thousands of Pandits Throng Kashmir Valley

June 10

The temple of Kheer Bhawani is situated at a distance of 14 miles east of Srinagar against the background of natural sight near the village of Tula Mula. This temple, is located in the middle of a spring, around which there is a vast area whose floor has been covered with smooth and beautiful stones. In it exist large and old chinar trees beneath which the pilgrims sit or sleep on mats of grass.

The colour of the spring goes on changing. While most of the colours do not have any particular significance, the colour black is taken as an indication for inauspicious times for Kashmir. The legend associated with the temple goes that Lord Rama worshipped Ragnya Devi during his exile. After the exile period got over, Rama asked Lord Hanuman to shift the seat of the goddess. The seat of the goddess was brought by Lord Hanuman first to Shadipora and later shifted to the site where the temple now stands.

The annual pilgrimage to this temple is a sort of homecoming for many Hindu Kashmiri Pandits who migrated from the state when terrorism was at its peak in the valley. It is at this temple that the age-old tradition of communal harmony comes to the forefront as the local Muslims set up stalls for the convenience of Kashmiri Pandits who visit the shrine, and have been traditionally welcoming their Pandit brothers with milk during the festival.

Around 250,000 devotees, mostly migrant Hindus, participate in a ‘Maha Yagna’, a traditional offering, at the shrine. Stalls are erected and all kinds of wares are sold at the fair. The enthusiasm of Muslim residents of Tulmula is a perfect example of Hindu Muslim brotherhood in Kashmir. It is also a perfect example of religious harmony that is so special to Indian culture.

A replica of the temple in Tulmulla village, is installed at Bhawani Nagar in Janipura area in Jammu, the winter capital of the state. Recently, more crowd is witnessed in this temple during the holiest festival of Kashmiri Pandits.