There are many ancient temples throughout the country that have a deep connection to history and faith. In various regions of the country, these temples are associated with various religious beliefs, and people from all over the country come to visit them. One such temple is the Khir Bhawani Temple in Kashmir, where people have profound religious faith. Today, we are going to tell you about the mysteries of this temple.
The Khir Bhawani Temple is located near the original village of Tulumula in Srinagar. This temple is quite famous in the country. It is a temple dedicated to Goddess Durga. In this temple of Goddess Durga, her worship is conducted in the form of Mother Ragni. The Khir Bhawani Temple is situated amidst a spring, surrounded by a vast and beautiful stone structure on all sides. There is a belief associated with this temple that it changes color and is linked to a tradition related to “kheer” (a type of sweet rice pudding), giving rise to its name, Khir Bhawani Temple.
Let’s explore the traditions and history associated with this temple.
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Beliefs related to Khir Bhawani Temple:
The Hindu faith in the Khir Bhawani Temple runs deep. The story and history of this temple are quite ancient. According to religious beliefs, Ravana, the king of Lanka, and a devotee of Lord Shiva, was also a great devotee of this goddess. Mother Khir Bhawani was always pleased with Ravana’s devotion. However, when Ravana abducted Goddess Sita, Mother Durga became angry with him. She was so furious that she left her original place. On the other hand, another belief is that Goddess Durga instructed Lord Hanuman to move her idol from Lanka to another location. Following her command, Hanuman brought the idol to Kashmir and placed it here. Since then, the place has become known as the abode of the goddess, and her devotees regularly come here to worship.
Construction of the Khir Bhawani Temple:
Regarding the construction of this temple, Maharaja Pratap Singh had it built in 1912, and later Maharaja Hari Singh undertook its renovation.
Origin of the Name Khir Bhawani:
The local Kashmiri Pandits consider this temple to be the kul devi (family goddess) of the region. Every year, a grand fair is organized here on the eighth day of the Jyeshtha month. Kashmiri Hindus come here daily to offer prayers to the goddess and seek her protection. The name “Khir Bhawani” became prevalent because a special offering of “kheer” is made to the goddess. During the spring season, kheer is offered. The temple is also referred to by other names, such as Maharagya Devi Temple, Rajnya Devi Temple, Rajni Devi Temple, and Rajnya Bhawani Temple, by the people of the region.
Mystery of the Khir Bhawani Spring:
Within the temple premises, there is a miraculous spring known as the “kund” (pool). It is said that whenever a major calamity is about to strike Kashmir, the water in this spring changes color. During times of crisis, the water turns black. In 2014, during a devastating flood in Kashmir, the water in this spring turned black.
Mata’s Favorite Offering is Rice Pudding (Kheer)
Goddess Khir Bhawani is offered rice pudding (kheer) as her favorite offering. It is believed that the goddess has a special fondness for kheer. Offering kheer as a bhog (offering) pleases the goddess, and all the devotees who come here are also served kheer as prasad (blessed food).
Annual Fair on Jyeshtha Ashtami
In the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, after the famous Amarnath Yatra, the name of the Khir Bhawani Temple gains prominence. Every year on Jyeshtha Ashtami, a grand fair is organized on the temple premises. During this time, a significant number of devotees gather here. Due to the practice of offering kheer as prasad to the goddess, the temple is also known as Khir Bhawani.
How to Reach Mata Khir Bhawani
To reach the darbar (sanctum) of Goddess Khir Bhawani, the nearest airport is Srinagar Airport, which is approximately 30 km away. Additionally, the closest railway stations are Udhampur (210 km) or Jammu Tawi (290 km) for those traveling by train. Apart from this, the temple can also be reached by road.