Until I visited the Kheer Bhawani Durga Temple in Tulmul, Ganderbal, I was not aware of its sacred spring and the special significance of its changing colours. I am sure you are curious too. The colour of the Hindu sacred spring’s water varies with time at the famous Kheer Bhawani temple in Ganderbal district. Usually, it remains white, off-whitish or pinkish but if it turns red/crimson or black, the locals consider that its forewarns of disturbing bad omen or a looming difficult period. The temple is of high importance for the Kashmiri Pandits and it is visited by people from around the country. It is named Kheer Bhawani as the much-famed Indian dessert kheer (rice pudding) is offered to the deity and distributed as prasad to the devotees. The main temple complex is made with white marble and sits right in the center of the small spring. Temple has a history going back to Ramayana and Sri Lanka. It has a large premise, adorned with chinar trees. If you are in Kashmir and especially in Srinagar, do not forget to include a visit to the temple, in your itinerary.
Husband and I spoke to the main priest (pujari ji) of the temple. He was very friendly and gave us an insight into the history of the temple. According to him, the colour of the spring had turned blackish during pandemic. Also because, the cleanliness had come to an halt. Hardly any human soul was visiting it. So there was an impact of the negativity of the surroundings, which was conveyed by the colour of the spring. As per water testing, in the past it has been found out that the change of water colour also happens due to the growth of some algae or increase of sulphur content in water. The locals believe that the temple sends out a message as to how human and nature interdependence functions.
Another interesting fact about the temple is that it is the only temple where the idol of Ma Durga is housed next to Linga (Shivling), in a small white marble temple side a hexagonal shaped spring. It is believed that Devi took the form of a water and transformed into a spring in this place.
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How to Reach Kheer (Ksheer) Bhawani Temple?
Mata Kheer Bhawani, also known as Maharagya Devi, is located around 25 kms from the city of Srinagar. The temple complex is located near Tulmulla in district Ganderbal. I made a stop-over when I was returning to Srinagar from Sonamarg. First we went to see Manasbal lake and then we found our way to the Devi maa’s abode. Both are closely (within an expanse of 10 kilometers), but in different directions. I was keen to visit the temple because of its unique colour changing spring and historical facets that I had read about the temple. I am not sure of the public transport. We used a hired taxi for our trip as we had requested the driver to take us there on our return journey from Sonamarg to Srinagar. The temple is hardly an hour away from the capital city.
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History of Kheer Bhawani Temple
Goddess Ragnya Devi – an incarnation of Goddess Durga is considered to be the presiding deity of this temple. The history of the temple is very interesting as it is believed that the idol of Mata was shifted from the holy place of Shadipora, as per her wish. And the task was fulfilled by Lord Hanuman. Also, Lord Rama had visited this temple during his fourteen years of exile.
The history facts shared inside the temple say that the temple came into existence in the year 1912. It was built by Maharaja Pratap Singh. And was later renovated by Hari Singh Ji. The legend goes that Ravana used to worship Devi Ragnya and the Goddess lived in Sri Lanka. But when Ravana began to show his devilish side, Mata ordered Hanuman ji to take her to far away to Kashmir, the abode of the snow-clad mountains. Goddess travelled here with 360 Nagas and chose Tulmulla as her home. The mystic spring became her abode, along with various nagas.
Initially, Tulmulla was all a marshy land. A learned Brahmin Shri Govindjoo Gadoo had a vision of the Goddess who had manifested herself as a serpent. So he travelled with a boat, carrying a vessel of milk. He reached to the place where temple exists today and slowly poured out the milk on the serpent/spring Goddess. And since then Mother Ragnaya has been revered.
- The kheer as prasad is a must-have.
- Wash your utensil properly after eating the kheer.
- The drive to and from Srinagar is smooth, so do plan a visit. You can also stop here on the way to Sonamarg.
- Sit in the temple complex and bask in its serenity.
- The temple premises are huge. Sit under a tree or inside to take in the positivity of the ambiance.
- An annual festival is held here during the month of May-June when maximum people visit the temple.
- People perform havans in the temple on regular basis.
- Don’t forget to dress appropriately.
- Maintain the sanctity of the place.
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