Context: The Kheer Bhawani Mela witnessed an immense display of excitement and zeal as Kashmiri Pandits and locals of the Kashmir valley commemorated it. This revered event, which takes place on Jyeshtha Ashtami, holds significant spiritual importance in the region.
(Picture given above: oldest drawing of Kheer Bhawani Fair by William Carpenter Junior)
About Kheer Bhawani Mela
- Every year on the auspicious day of Jyeshtha Ashtami, Kashmiri Pandits make a pilgrimage to the Mata Ragnya Devi Temple or the Kheer Bhawani Temple to express their reverence.
- The deity Kheer Bhavani holds great significance and is deeply respected within the region.
- This vibrant fair takes place near the Kheer Bhawani Spring, locally known as Syendh, distinct from the Sindhu (Indus) River.
- Under the rule of Ranbir Singh (1830-1885), a temple was constructed on the island, featuring a revered goddess idol and a Shiva linga within a lofty chamber built inside the spring. This amalgamation of a Shiv Linga and a goddess idol is unique to this sacred Hindu site.
- It stands as one of the largest Hindu gatherings in the region, second only to the Amarnath pilgrimage.
- Throughout the years, the Kheer Bhawani Mela has evolved into a symbol of communal harmony and fraternity in Kashmir.
Kheer Bhawani Temple
- Location: North-eastern region of Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India.
- Surrounding the goddess, there is a septa-gonal spring within the temple premises. This holy spring is known for its remarkable ability to change colours, displaying hues of red, pink, orange, green, blue, and white, although most of these colours do not hold any specific significance.
- The current structure of the spring, temple pond, and temple itself was established during the 1910s under the rule of Maharaja Pratap Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, with further renovations carried out by Maharaja Hari Singh. The temple area is adorned with ancient chinar trees.
History and associated legends
- References to Kheer Bhawani can be found in several ancient texts.
- Kalhana’s Rajtarangini: It mentions the sacred spring of Tula Mula, noting its location in a marshy area that was once engulfed by floods thousands of years ago, submerging both the spring and the temple.
- The Bhrigu Samhita also makes a reference to Kheer Bhawani.
- Abu’l-Fazal’s Ain-i-Akbari: It provides further information, describing the Tula Mula area as spanning a hundred bighas, which would sink into the marshy lands during the summer season.