Mela Kheer Bhawani celebrated in J&K
With commencement of annual festival of Kheer Bhawani Mela on Zeasht Ashtami, hundreds of Kashmiri Pandit devotees prayed at famous Ragnya Devi temple in Jammu and Kashmir’s (J&K) Ganderbal district.
An elaborate security arrangement was made by J&K administration so that mela passed off peacefully for devotees who thronged temple from across the country.
- Every year on Zyeshta Ashtami (this year fell on 10 June), thousands of Kashmiri Pandits visit temple, located about 14 km east of Srinagar, to pay their obeisance. Zyestha Ashtami is celebrated by Kashmiri Pandits across the country and outside as the day marks commencing of annual pilgrimage.
- Temples Visited: Over 60,000 displaced Kashmiri Pandits from various parts of India as well as abroad visited five famous temples of Tulmulla (in Ganderbal district), Tikker (in Kupwara), Laktipora Aishmuqam (in Anantnag) and Mata Tripursundri Devsar and Mata Kheerbhawani Manzgam (in Kulgam district) in Kashmir valley during Mela Kheerbhawani.
About Mela Kheer Bhawani
- It is one of the biggest religious functions of displaced community of Kashmiri Pandits, who were forcefully evicted from Valley in 1990s by militants.
- The devotees carry rose petals, walk barefoot, offer tribute to goddess and offer milk and kheer (pudding) at sacred spring.
- Belief: The colour of water in spring, which flows below temple, is believed to be an indication of the valley’s well-being i.e. the colour foretells the events that will unfold in next 12 months till next festival. Black or darkish colour of water in spring is believed to be a sign of inauspicious times for Kashmir valley. This time, the water in spring was of clean and milky white colour.
- Significance: The pilgrimage has become a symbol of communal harmony and brotherhood as Muslims in locality make all kinds of arrangements for the Kashmiri Pandits devotees, such as setting up of stalls for flowers and other offerings, offering milk in small earthen pots to devotees coming to pray.