Over 30,000 devotees pay obeisance at J&K’s Mata Kheer Bhawani temple

Srinagar, June 14 (UNI) Amid tight security arrangements, more than 30,000 people including a large number of Kashmiri Pandits, on Friday converged at Mata Kheer Bhawani temple at Tulmulla in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir to celebrate the annual ‘Mela’ of the Hindu deity.

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said the devotees were ferried in over 200 buses from Jammu besides many came from Delhi and other parts.

Tulmulla, 27 km from the capital city of Srinagar, today witnessed scenes of communal harmony as Kashmiri pandits were seen meeting their Muslim brethren overwhelmingly on the occasion.

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 for peace and prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir.

A Kashmir pandit woman who visited the temple said “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 are here at Tulmulla temple,” she added.

Nysa Pandita, another woman who had come from Jammu to pay obeisance at the temple, said that “we all hope that all should 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, she said.

A good number of non locals who are working in Kashmir valley were also seen descending the temple on the occasion.

The members of the majority community welcomed 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, former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, J&K BJP Chief Ravinder Raina, Peoples Democratic Party leader Iltija Mufti visited Tulmulla to express solidarity with the Kashmiri pandits on the occasion.

“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,” Farooq said at Tulmulla.

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.

Many social and political leaders have also wished the Kashmiri pandits on the occasion of Mela Kheer Bhawani.

Director General of Police, J&K R R Swain paid obeisance at the reverd Mata Kheer Bhawani on the occasion of annual medla and prayed for everlasting peace, brotherhood and harmony in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

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