Kheer Bhawani Temple is a celebrated Hindu shrine, situated in the Tulla Mulla village near Srinagar. The temple is constructed above a sacred spring, which is said to change its colours. Goddess Ragnya Devi – an incarnation of Goddess Durga – is the presiding deity of this temple. The temple attributes its unique name to the famous Indian dessert kheer, which is the main offering to the goddess.
Maharaja Pratap Singh built this temple in 1912, which was later renovated by Maharaja Hari Singh. The shrine has a hexagonal spring and a small marble shrine where the goddess' idol is installed. According to legends, Lord Rama worshipped the goddess during his exile. He expressed his desire of shifting the holy seat to Shadipora, which was fulfilled by Lord Hanuman. The temple was shifted to its present site after the goddess appeared in the dream of a local pundit named Rugnath Gadroo.
On the eighth day of the full moon in May, devotees gather at the Kheer Bhawani Temple and observe fasts. It is believed that Goddess Ragnya changes the spring's colour on this auspicious day. If the colour changes to black, it is considered a bad omen that would result in a disaster in the valley. The temple organises fairs and yagnas during its annual festival and navratras, which attract a large number of devotees. Hawans on Shukla Paksh Ashtami are also common in this temple.
History of Kheer Bhawani Temple:
Located amidst the beautiful Chinar trees and rippling rivers, lies the Kheer Bhawani Temple is the abode of Goddess Ragnya Devi. The idol is kept in a white marble temple. According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Rama worshipped Ragnya Devi during his exile and after the exile was over he shifted her abode to Shadipora from where it was shifted here according to the wish of Ragnya Devi. There is a beautiful spring located near the temple.
Festivals of Khir Bhawani Temple
An annual festival is held during the Jesth Ashtami and Hindu devotes visit the Kheer Bhawani Temple during this time. On the eighth day of the full moon in the month of May pilgrims assemble here and celebrate the occasion. It is also believed that the Goddess Ragnya Devi changes the color of the water of the spring during this time.
The devotees of the Goddess Mata Kheer Bhawani fast and gather here on the eighth day of the full moon in the month of May/ June (The Annual Festival, on 26th May 2015, is a public holiday in Kashmir, J&K) when, according to belief, the Goddess changes the colour of the spring's waters, which are ascribed to different manifestations of the Goddess Mata Kheer Bhawani. Turning of the colour into shades of black is supposed to signal approaching disaster.
Some people say that before the exodus of the Pandits (Kashmiri Brahmans) from Kashmir the colour had turned completely black in 1990!
According to the legend, there were 360 springs surrounding the main spring but all of these seem to have disappeared as the land has become marshy all around.
In the last half century, the pilgrimage has become the most important for Kashmiri Brahmans who come here from all over the Jammu & Kashmir State and even from outside.
Kheer Bhawani is considered to be the Presiding Deity of most of the Kashmiri Brahmans.