Srinagar – Kheer Bhawani Temple

Kheer Bhawani

Kheer Bhawani Temple lies near the village of Tul Mul and is a place of belief and faith for the Hindu followers. The temple derives its name from the Kheer which is a rice and milk pudding. The people offer this pudding as a symbol of their worship and faith. The Kheer Bhawani temple was built over a scared spring. A marvellous marble temple with splendid architecture has been built in the premises of the main temple. An annual festival is organised on the eighth day of the full moon in the month of May or June. The people believe that the colour of the water of the lake changes according to the avatars of Goddess Kheer Bhawani. A number of historical relics are related to the origin of the temple. It is believed that Maharagya was happy with the true love and devotion of Ravana. Ravana placed a statue of the Goddess in the temple. But later, she became upset by the atrocities of Ravana. She instructed Hanuman ji to place her idol in the village of Tul Mull. Pilgrims from all parts of the country come to visit this holy shrine and seek the blessings of Goddess.

The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Rajnya Devi, popularly known as Kheer Bhawani. The name ‘Kheer Bhawani’ is derived from the fact that thousands of devotees offer milk and ‘Kheer’ (pudding) to the sacred spring, as they believe the pudding turns black to warn of impending disaster. Be it Hindus or Muslims, devotees from all across India throng the temple during the Kheer Bhawani festival.

Kheer Bhawani temple is nestled in the small village of Tula Mula which is located at a distance of 14 miles east of Srinagar. The temple is associated with goddess Ragyna Devi who is also worshipped as Ragini or Kheer Bhawani. She is an incarnation of Durga Bhagvati. Kheer Bhawani temple is located in the middle of a spring, which is surrounded by a huge area which has been decorated with smooth and beautiful stones. The spring is known as Mata Ragini Kund. The colour of the spring keeps changing. While other colours do not have any particular importance, black colour is considered as an indication of inauspicious times for Kashmir.

History Of  Kheer Bhawani Temple:-

Maharagya was pleased with the devotion of Ravana and appeared before him and Ravana got an image of the goddess installed in Sri Lanka. But the goddess became displeased with the vicious and licentious life of Ravana and so didn’t want to stay in Sri Lanka. Therefore, under the command of the goddess, Hanuman got the image from Sri Lanka and installed it at the holy spot of Tula Mulla. The mention of Kheer Bhawani is found in Kalhana’s Rajtarangini. Kalhana writes that the sacred spring ofTula Mula is situated in a marshy ground. The name of the spring is Mata Ragini Kund. Maharagini is the form of Durga Bhagvati. The Brahmins of Kashmir worship this spring and pilgrims from every comer of the country visit to have the darshan of the place. In Rajtarangini Tula Mula is considered very sacred and the Brahmins of Tula Mula were very great and powerful. The spring of Maharagya was very sacred. Thousands of years ago many floods occurred in Kashmir and the sacred spring of Tula Mula also was inundated under its sway and the holy place could nowhere be traced. All around was water. At last Kashmir’s Yogi Krishna Pandit had a dream in which the goddess appeared to him and ordered that she would swim in the form of a snake at the proper place and that he should stick large poles and when the water subsided there the holy spot was discovered. This event happened during the Samvat 4041. The mention of this temple is also found in Abul-Fazal’s book Aini-Akbari in which is written that the area of Tula Mula extended over the area of hundred bighas of land, which got sunk in the summer season and formed into a marsh. Swami Rama Tirtha and Swami Vivekananda also visited here to have the darshan of the place. With the pouring of milk and throwing of sugar candy in the spring by the pilgrims, a thick and solid layer was formed at its bottom. When it was cleared, the ruins of an old temple and shrine slabs engraved with figures were discovered. Here many images were also found but nobody rebuilt the temple till the Samvat 1969 when Maharaja Pratap Singh who was the disciple and worshiped this goddess, got a marvelous temple of marble made in the midst of the spring which shines like a pearl in a shell. The marble temple was completed in 1920s. Some people are of the opinion that there was a mulberry tree near holy spot of Kheer Bhawani which, in Kashmiri, is called Tul Mul. But Tul Mul is also derived from the Sanskrit phrase-Tul Muli-that is of great value. This means that all other pilgrim centres are of lesser value than this one. It is said that after Ravana finished the worship of the goddess he offered the kheer (rice pudding) to the goddess which she accepted and since then it is called Kheer Bhawani.

Significance Of Kheer Bhawani Temple :-

The presiding deity of this Khir Bhawani temple is Goddess Bhawani who is also called by the names Maharagya Devi, Ragnya Devi, Rajni, Ragnya Bhagwati, and so on. It is believed that Goddess Maharagya is one of the form of Goddess Durga. For the Kashmiri Brahmins, the Historical Vedic Religion followers, Kheer Bhawani Temple is the most important pilgrimage. The temple is surrounded with Chinar trees (Platanus orientalis), which offers a wonderful panorama. The sacred spring at the holy place Tul Mul is called as Mata Ragini Pond. This pond is worshipped by the Kashmiris.
Swami Vivekananda, an Indian Hindu monk and Swami Rama Tirtha, an Indian teacher of the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta are said to have visited this temple and worshiped the Goddess. The special feature of this temple is that the sacred septagonal spring floes from west (which is considered as its head section) to the east (which is considered as its feet), changes its color with various shades of red, pink, orange, green, blue, white, etc. and the black shade of the spring is believed to be unpromising.

Poojas And Festivals:-

Mela Kheer Bhawani- The Annual Festival:-
The Goddess presides over her believers as they gather, upholding their fast on the 8th day following the full moon in May. Kashmir also observes a state wide holiday on that day. The day is celebrated as people believe that it was this day that the presiding Goddess indulges in changing the spring water’s colour. With colors having some significance, The water getting darker is a signal for the worse time to come. People assert that in 1990 when the Kashmiri Pundits had to go through te exodus, A black shape had taken over the water. People believe in the story that a total of 360 springs flowed near the holdy spring but they soon vanished as the marshy land increased.
In the last half century the pilgrimage has become the most important for Kashmiri Brahmans who come here from all over the State and even from outside. Kheer Bhawani is considered to be the Presiding Deity of most of the Kashmiri Brahmans.

1.     The Sanastha shall manage daily morning and evening Poojas and provide the required Pooja Samgri for this purpose.

2.    The Sanastha shall make all necessary arrangements for enabling devotees of Mata Khir Bhawani to offer their Pooja at the Amrit Kund on all Suklapaksh Ashtamis.

3.    The Sanastha shall arrange to perform Namavali of Maha-Regeneya in early hours of each Ashtami and provide the materials required for it.

4.    The Sanastha shall arrange the traditional Pooja to be performed during the night of Ashtami-Novmi and make necessary arrangement for stay of the devotees for the Pooja during night.

5.    The Sanastha shall arrange Pooja to be performed during night of second Saturday after Ashtami for Mata Shri Bhawnishori.

6.    The Sanastha shall manage traditional Poojas on all the days of Navratras and make suitable arrangements for Jal-Pravah of the Nav-Durga Bhagwati.

7.    The Sanastha shall manage the Poojas on all the days of Ram-Navmi Pooja days and make suitable arrangements for Jal-Pravah of the Nav-Durga Bhagwati on the final day.

8.    The Sanastha shall make arrangement for performing a Hawan on Vyeth-Truvah (Bhadoon Shuklapaksh Triyodashi) and serve a meal as Naveed to the devotees who participate in the Hawan but invitations for participation shall not be extended formally to anyone except by notifying in the Annual Programme (Calender etc.).

9.    The Sanastha shall make arrangements for and perform annual Hawan on Ashad Shuklapaksh Ashtami. The announcement of the Hawan shall be made by the Management through Press and other available media. All devotees of the Mother shall be invited to participate and have Naveed (meals) at the conclusion of the Hawan. Elaborate arrangements shall be made by the Sanastha for convenience of the devotees as far as possible. Invitations to sister organizations and VIP’s as shall be decided by the Managing Committee from time to time shall be extended in writing. The Naveed shall comprise of a simple rice meal with Daal and one Vegetable (Potato) unless decided otherwise by the Managing Committee. Decision of the Managing Committee in this regard shall be final.

10. In order to make the celebrations of Jeshth Ashtami popularly known as “Mela Khir Bhawani and Ashadh Ashtami the Annual Hawan at the Peeth a success, the Pradhan shall call and hold meetings of the Managing Committee of the Sanastha first at least one month before the festival wherein arrangements shall be proposed/finalized. Necessary sub-committees for specific works shall be framed and announced. The sub-committees thus formed shall remain responsible for their allotted work. Each Sewak, Sahayak, Sadasya involved in the management of the festivals shall be informed by easiest direct or indirect means about his assignment and responsibilities at least fifteen days before the function. Final meeting of all the involved members shall be called and held by the Pradhan at least three days before the function and situation about preparations reviewed and suitable action wherever required taken.

11.  No outsider agency other than Govt. Public Utility Deptts. like Municipality, Public Health Engg., Health Services, Law & Order Agency (Security) shall be allowed to render any voluntary/organized/individual service within the premises. All rights with regard to managing affairs, providing services and holding of Samuhik (organized) Pooja within the premises of the Peeth rest with the Sanastha only.

12. All Samohik Pujas/Artis shall be lead by a Sewak only nominated by the Pradhan and in all Hawans performed on behalf of the Sanastha. Aahoti shall be offered by a Sewak of the Sanastha only under all circumstances, even if the entire Hawan is performed on costs contributed by general public or any individual.

13. The Sanastha shall make arrangements for and bear the cost of any   Pooja/Hawan/Sampat which shall be suggested by a 2/3 verdict of the Managing Committee and approved by the Pradhan.

Code Of Conduct Inside The Shrine Premises:-

1.     The Shrine is open to all castes of people for meditation provided the meditator abides by rules and regulations of the Sanastha. Management of the Sanastha reserves the right to deal with violator of the code of conduct in suitable way including fishing him out of the premises and/or handing him over to the law enforcing agencies.

2.    Meat, Eggs, Fish, Tomato, Onion or any kind of non-vegetarian eatables can neither be cooked nor consumed within the Shrine Complex.

3.    No toxic drinks hot or cold, drugs can be used within the premises.

4.    Devi-Angan is purely meant for Puja and Meditation and nothing can either be cooked or consumed (eaten) in Devi-Angan.

5.    The Shrine complex shall be open for following functions of the public to be celebrated within the Hindu Codes :

1.     Hawan.
2.    Kirtan.
3.    Mundan.
4.    Yagneopavit.
5.    Sampath.
6.    Get-together with regard to marriages.

For all the above functions, the party shall have to apply for booking in advance and pay a refundable Security Deposit. Facilities whatever available shall be extended to the party and decision of the Sewak Incharge shall be final. No party can book it when it is to be used by the Sanastha itself on important festivals.

Pooja Timings:-

The temple remains open from morning 6.00 am to night 8.00 pm.

Route:

Kheer Bhawani temple is nestled in the small village of Tula Mula which is located at a distance of 14 miles east of Srinagar.

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