Record number of devotees pay obeisance at Kashmir’s Mata Kheer Bhawani temple

Srinagar: Hundreds of devotees from different parts of the country converged at Mata Kheer Bhawani temple shrine on Friday to celebrate the annual ‘Mela’ of the Hindu deity.

The worship of Mata Kheer Bhawani is universal among Kashmiri Pandits. The Kheer Bhawani temple shrine, dedicated to Maharagyna Bhagwati, was constructed over a spring which is believed to be sacred. The temple is associated with Goddess Ragyna Devi who is also worshipped as Raginya or Kheer Bhawani, an incarnation of goddess Durga.

Kheer Bhawani temple is also believed to be an icon of the Hindu-Muslim brotherhood of Kashmir. Local Muslims living around the temple complex serve milk in earthen pots to the Kashmiri Pandit devotees upon their arrival in Tullamulla town.

Since their migration from Kashmir in the 1990s, Kashmir Pandits come from all over the country to pray and worship at this temple shrine.

Around 50,000 devotees marked their attendance on Friday at the temple shrine. This is the largest number of devotees here since the beginning of violence in Kashmir in the 1990s.

Devotees were conveyed here by special escorted conveys from Jammu. Arrangements for their lodging have been made by the government at the temple shrine complex as well as in the neighbouring Central University of Kashmir campus ground.

The administration had also made special arrangements for sanitation, safe drinking water, healthcare and security for the devotees.

Some of the local Pandits who did not migrate out of the Valley, came to Tullamulla by their own modes of conveyance. The over 24 km-long road from Srinagar city to the temple shrine was dotted with security personnel to ensure safe movement of the devotees.

The colour of the sacred spring over which the deity’s idol is kept bears special significance for the devotees. During peace times, the colour of the spring water is either white or pink, and in bad times, the colour turns black or muddy.

This year, the colour of the spring water is pink. Devotees believe that this foretells peace and prosperity ahead for the country.

J&K Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha paid obeisance at the temple shrine on Friday, while former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah visited the temple earlier in the day.

The Lt Governor laid the foundation stone of Rupees four crore Yatri Niwas to be built inside the temple shrine complex.


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