Ganderbal: On the auspicious occasion of Jyeshtha Ashtami, around 18,000 Kashmiri Pandits and devotees visited the famous Mata Kheer Bhawani temple.
Every year, on this auspicious day, Kheer Bhavani Mela is organized at Mata Kheer Bhawani temple in Tulmulla, Ganderbal and devotees from different parts of Jammu and Kashmir visit the holy shrine here.
Kheer Bhawani is considered to be the deity of Kashmiri Pandits, who have a lot of recognition there. Jyeshtha Ashtami holds immense religious significance for Kashmiri Pandit brothers and sisters.
Over the years, the Kheer Bhawani Mela has become a symbol of communal harmony and brotherhood in Kashmir.
Elaborate security arrangements were made for this event which was monitored by the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha himself.
Around 2,500 Kashmiri Pandit devotees participated in the evening aarti. The religious sanctity of Mata Kheer Bhawani Temple, built atop a holy spring, has a special spiritual significance among Kashmiri Pandit devotees across the world.
The event could not be held here due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
A free bus service was run from Srinagar Airport, Tourist Reception Centre, Dal Lake Side Nehru Park, Shankaracharya Temple, Shivpora, BB Cantt, Indira Nagar etc. in areas where Hindu communities live in large numbers.
Full attention was given to ensure that devotees did not face any kind of problem. Parking facility was provided for vehicles near the temple premises. Mobile urinals were also made available at all suitable places.
Several NGOs and civil society had also made arrangements to provide wheelchairs and other aids for the convenience of the devotees at the fair.
Special health check-up stalls were also set up by the Health Department, during which many devotees took consultations.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi also greeted Kashmiri Pandits on the occasion of Jyestha Ashtami. The Prime Minister in his tweet said, "Happy Jyestha Ashtami to all, especially Kashmiri Pandit sisters and brothers. We pray to Mata Kheer Bhawani for everyone's well-being and prosperity."
The Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah also congratulated the Kashmiri Pandits on Jyeshtha Ashtami and said, “Jyeshtha Ashtami is a special festival of worshiping Maa Kheer Bhawani. On this holy festival, I extend warm greetings to all Kashmiri Pandit brothers and sisters and pray for the progress and prosperity of the country by bowing at the feet of Maa Kheer Bhawani.”
The Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha extended his warm greetings to the Kashmiri Pandit community.
He said, “This auspicious occasion is a celebration of religious life, love, compassion and harmony. Let us pray to Mata Kheer Bhawani to guide us on the path of righteousness and bring peace, happiness and prosperity to our land.”