Ganderbal (Jammu&Kashmir), June 28(ANI): ‘No Matter what religion we follow, we are one family’…These words showcasing India’s strong bond of secularism resonated loudly at the Kheer Bhawani temple located in Tulmulla village of Jammu and Kashmir’s Ganderbal district. Housing the shrine of Ragnya devi, a revered goddess of Kashmiri Pandits, the temple is the holiest destination for the community, who visit it mostly during the annual festival that falls on Zyestha Ashtami. Though it is a big occasion for Kashmiri Pandits, people from all communities eagerly take part in it, setting a beautiful example of peace and brotherhood. Devotees paid their obeisance to the Goddess while observing all the COVID-19 SOPs. Inside the temple premises, there is a sacred spring symbolizing Goddess Ragnya Devi also known as Kheer bhawani. Within the spring is a marble temple dedicated to the Goddess. According to the legend there were 360 springs surrounding the main spring but all of these have disappeared as land became marshy all around. Today during the annual festival, devotees offer rose petals, milk and Kheer, a rice pudding to the sacred spring to pay their obeisance to the Goddess. It is said Pandits from faraway places visit this temple only on the occasion of ‘Kheera Bhawani’ but for the entire year it’s the Muslims of the area who pray for the return of their Hindu brethren to the valley. Today the festival has turned out to be the most shining example of communal harmony and brotherhood in the country and very well presents the Sufi culture of the union territory that binds people of different faiths and communities together.
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