Kashmiri Pandits Visit Kheer Bhawani On ‘Jyeshtha Ashtami’

SRINAGAR, June 14: A large number of Kashmiri Pandits on Friday visited the Tulmulla in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir to celebrate the Kheer Bhawani festival on the occasion of “Jyeshtha Ashtami”.

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Scenes of communal harmony were witnessed at the shrine in Tulmulla, 27 km from Srinagar city.
More than 5000 Pandits reached Ganderbal from Jammu in buses under tight security while several from other parts of the country and nearby villages of the Ganderbal district performed pooja at the Kheer Bhawani or the Ragnya Devi temple at Tulmulla.
The devotees lit up hundreds of lamps near the temple as a ritual of the “Jyeshtha Ashtami” festival and also participated in night long prayers and wished peace and prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir.
A Kashmir pandit woman who visited the temple told media persons “that Kashmir is not important because it is our birth place, but it is a place which is popular in religious fervour”.
“It is the land of Reshi’s and Peer’s and on the same soil so many big names like Nund Reshi, Lallded and Mata Maha Ragnya Devi who are here at the Tulmulla temple”, she said.
Nysa Pandita, another woman who had come from Jammu to pay obeisance at the temple, said that “we hope that all people prosper and conclude the Pooja peacefully and all remain together”.
She said “it was an opportunity to meet the people here but said that this time less number of people have visited the temple”. A huge rush was seen when we were visiting during our childhood here, Nysa said.
Non-locals who are working in Kashmir valley were also seen descending the temple on the occasion.
The members of the majority community welcome the Kashmiri Pandits on their arrival at the temple. Traditionally Pandits purchased pooja items from the Muslims who had put up their stalls near the temple.
The spring at Tulmulla is famous for its changing colours. Devotees say the spring changes seven colours. They say black or red is not a good omen while light colours like blue, white and pink augur well for the future.
The authorities had made elaborate arrangements for the visiting pilgrims. Three tier security arrangements were put in place to thwart any untoward incident.
Several politicians visited Tulmulla.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference President Farooq Abdullah visited Kheer Bhawani and paid obeisance there on the occasion.
Talking to media persons Farooq said “the biggest thing is that our brothers and sisters from the community have arrived here and are praying that they come back to Kashmir and stay here”.
He said the brotherhood among the Hindu, Muslim, Sikhs is necessary to give a message of peace to the whole of India from the soil of Kashmir.
“The day is not too far when they (Kashmiri pandits) will come back to their ancestral home and live together with their Muslim brothers and Sisters”, he added.
Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti while greeting the Kashmiri Pandits on the occasion said that “for centuries the celebration of the Mela Kheer Bhawani has been an epitome of harmony and brotherhood in the state and there is a need to strengthen the bond of togetherness between various sections of the society”.
She also urged the Pandit community to pray for peace and property and wished the day to be the harbinger of happiness and tranquility in Jammu and Kashmir.
National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah wished the Kashmir Pandits on the occasion.
“Zyeth Atham Mubarak to Kashmiri Pandits everywhere. May Mata accept all your prayers & shower you with abundant blessings”, Omar posted on X.
Many social and political leaders have also wished the Kashmiri pandits on the occasion of Mela Kheer Bhawani.

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