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Mela Kheer Bhawani - 2012
  By V. K. Nakhasi

Kheer Bhawani situated in the outskirts of Srinagar City at Ganderbal Tulmulla is one of the prominent pilgrimage destinations. This year Mela Kheer Bhawani is being held on May, 29th 2012. We are expecting larger size of gathering this year also. Last year, the number of devotees who visited the shrine to pay their obeisance touched almost thirty thousand. Kashmiri Pandits from Jammu, Delhi and other parts of the country are likely to participate. The families left over here in the valley will also gather in the premises of the Shrine. There are very good arrangements made by the Government for devotees. The arrangements on account of transportation for devotees have already been devised by the Govt. All the arrangements have been finalized. The agencies involved in framing the arrangements for this occasion include R&B, Dy. Commissioner Ganderbal, Tourism, CAPD, Police, Traffic, Transport authorities, Information, SRTC, Health, Municipal Corporation etc. Medical & other volunteer camps of different NGOs remain camped at Tulmulla on this occasion to avoid any sort of inconvenience to the devotees who visit the Shrine from various distant places of the State.

The local Muslims living in the vicinity of village Tulmulla where Mata Kheer Bhawani is situated render their open hearted services to the Kashmiri Pandit devotees. They arrange flowers, earthen lamps, milk & other allied items which are generally used during puja for the devotees. The devotees do not experience any sort of problematical situation an account of availability of such petty puja articles. The local Muslims are generally observed to be behaving just like true hosts to serve their guest devotees. What did the previous year’s experience reveal during the fair is that the local Muslims of Tulmulla were found extraordinary jubilant on receiving Pandit brotheren who had come from Jammu to pay the obeisance at the Shrine. The former were seen embracing & freely interacting with Pandit Community members. The Pandits were also seen enjoying their association with local Muslims. The local Muslims were observed to be pressurizing them for their early return to the valley. Both the community members were observed to be sharing their living experience of their past days when they would lead their lives in association with one another. During their interactions and frequent meetings on the occasion some were seen sobbing while recalling their events of previous association. What a wonderful & joyful scenario was observed prevailing between the members of both the communities. During interaction they were seen making enquiries about the whereabouts of their relations so as to ascertain their welfare. Some of the locals had come to receive Pandits with gifts like flowers, dry fruit boxes etc. Such a scene remained created during past two years as would definitely give signal that both the communities wanted to remain together and shun the path of separation. In real sense this would lead to prove one of the significant measures to build confidence (CBM) in both the communities. During their interaction, they were critical of those elements who attempted to create a wedge between the two communities. They cursed on them for creating such an environment which adversely affected the both especially on socio-economic front. It would look like that the Pandit brotheren may begin a serious rethink to return to their own place to lead rest of their lives and days with their Muslim brotheren because of the fact that cultural heritage, living habitats, speaking language, dress codes, exchange of thoughts being common in both.

The event of Mela Kheer Bhawani has become so popular in the entire country that the visitors who happen to visit valley from outside invariably show their presence at the shrine to pay obeisance to the goddess locally known as “Matta Raigna”, “Matta Bhawani”. So in view of this, the temple of Meta Kheer Bhawani is becoming more & more popular from tourist point of view as well. Most of the tourist devotees and other devotees leave the Shrine back for their places after having attended “Yagya” ceremony being sponsored by different religious groups among Hindus on Zaith Ashtami every year. The devotees invariably wait for “Prasad” following the performance of “Yagya” performed on the occasion. Devotees open heartedly donate money towards the temple for which number of donation boxes stand installed in the premises of the Shrine. Even after the migration of Pandits from the valley, lot of developmental activities has taken place for the upgradation and betterment of the temple. The temple of Mata Kheer Bhawani stand upgraded on many fronts. Prayer Halls, place where “Yagya” is performed, Shops and even residential accommodation have been either constructed or renovated. Devotees who anytime visit the Shrine do not experience any difficulty on account of accommodation, Water & toilet facilities as all such facilities are adequately available in the Shrine premises. In fact, serious efforts seem to be afoot to maintain the shrine as a part of pilgrimage tourism as well as Kashmir tourism.





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