Using private vehicles, taxis and state government buses, thousands of devotees flocked to the shrine and paid obeisance to Mata Khirbhawani, located about 24 km from from summer capital Srinagar city towards its north-east direction in Tulmulla village of Ganderbal district.
It is during the “Zaisth Ashthami” that a Mela gets underway every year when thousands of devotees from far-off places come here in large numbers for offering prayers and have the Divine Darshan of Devi Khir Bhawani. Because of the unfortunate exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits the number of Yatris declined in the subsequent years. However due to the changing circumstances the number of pilgrims visiting the holy shrine has appreciably increased in the past few years.
Rare scenes of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood were witnessed as locals in Tulmulla village served milk in earthen pots to the Pandits, keeping alive the centuries-old local tradition. The Kheer Bhawani is an example of the communal amity between Hindus and Muslims in the Valley as the latter take an active part in making arrangements every year. The Muslim brethren who wanted to meet their old time friends were seen searching for them in the shrine premises.
In the outer compound of the pantheon, stalls set up by local Muslims sell everything needed to perform the rituals of the festival. 'Puja thalis', the plates carrying commodities offered as tributes to the goddess, are prepared by Muslims, who place them in the nearly two dozen stalls that dot the outer compound of the shrine.
Elaborate security arrangements had been made by the authorities as most devotees arriving at the shrine were Hindus who had left the Kashmir Valley in the early 1990s with the outbreak of militancy.
For the very reason of encouraging dialogue and removing trust deficit between the two communities and reviving the age-old kashmiriyat of composite culture that the government of the state is also encouraging this form of tourism by providing convenient transportation besides arranging for the lodging facilities at the shrine place. The inducement of a desire in the hearts of the exiled Kashmiri Pandits to revisit their motherland- the valley of their dreams would be, perhaps, one great reason which might, in due course of time, change the direction of the current of history by allowing the mental and psychological gaps get bridged which, in turn, thereby, might reverse the exodus.
This is perhaps the only mystical spring in the world where the color of spring keeps on miraculously changing which is ascribed as the manifestation of the Goddess, serving as an advance signal about what is going to happen in the near future. The light green, milky, pink colours of the spring are suggestive of the auspicious omen while as the black is indicative of some inauspicious future happening. In Kashmir these changes are taken for-granted as Devi Kher Bhawani’s indications of the future course of events.
Before entering the Shrine premises the devotees take a Holy dip in the Gang-Khi. Devotees do “Parikrama” of the Holy Jai Kund. They gather in front of the Holy kund along with the “Pooja Samigri” for prayers as per the conventions and immerse in the Holy Jai Kund water, Milk, Sugar, Badam, Mishri, Kishmish, flower Petals and Lotus Flowers as their "Shradha-Suman”. As these flower petals gather along with the other “Pooja-Samigri” on the surface of the Kund it looks like a “Divya Darshan” and this floating splendor looks like a “Devi-Prasad”. Devotees do “Samohik - Arti” by lighting the earthen Ghee lamps and by singing the praise of the Devine Mother and seek to get merged themselves in "Adi-Shakti-Saroopas Divinity”.
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