GANDERBAL — The annual Mata Kheer Bhawani Mela started on Wednesday at Tullmulla village of Ganderbal with Kashmiri Pandits and tourists flocking the temple to pay obeisance after a gap of two years.
As per the news agency Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the Tulmulla shrine in addition to being the holiest shrine of the Kashmiri Pandit community is also the symbol of centuries-old eclectic culture and brotherhood among different communities of Kashmir.
The spring inside the shrine has historic significance as locals believe that the colour of its water on the festival day forebears the events that follow till the next year.
A local Dharmarth Trust maintains the shrine complex spread over a large piece of land surrounded by springs.
Tulmulla area of district Ganderbal witnessed enthusiastic scenes as a large number of devotees arrived at the temple of Mata Ragnya Devi.
A Kashmiri Pandit devotee said that it is after almost two years that devotees are arriving at the temple to pay obeisance and to pray for themselves and the entire humanity. “We urge Kashmiri Pandits to come to this temple and enjoy the spiritual feeling here,” he said.
Tourists were also seen paying obeisance at the temple. A group of tourists from Maharashtra told KNO that they have seen the Kheer Bhawani shrine for the first time and are feeling happy. “There is a solace and we feel enchanted over seeing Muslims and Pandits celebrating the Mela together,” said Meenakshi, a tourist.
Most Kashmiri Pandits were seen performing the rituals of the festival at the temple besides that Muslims were seen greeting Pandits and making arrangements.
A sign of communal harmony is always revisited at this temple during the historical festival which provides an opportunity to local Muslims who wait eagerly to re-unite with the Pandit community who migrated from Kashmir in the early 1990s. Muslims were seen greeting Pandits by showering flower petals.
Local shopkeepers at Tullmulla Ganderbal said they suffered heavy losses due to the pandemic and expected a good rush of devotees. “We are still hopeful that normalcy will prevail in Kashmir valley again and devotees will come here in large numbers in future,” they added.
Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, R. R. Bhatnagar, Chief Secretary, Arun Kumar Mehta, Additional Chief Secretary Agriculture Production Department, Atal Dulloo, Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal, Shyambir and other dignitaries attended the annual Kheer Bhawani Mela and paid obeisance at Mata Kheer Bhawani temple and some political leaders including Nirmal Singh, G A Mir, Tarigami, Darakshan Andrabi, SMC Mayor Junaid Mattu attended the annual Kheer Bhawani Mela and paid obeisance.