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Bollywood actor Hema Malini visits Kheer Bhawani temple in Kashmir

Srinagar: Bollywood actor and BJP Member of Parliament (MP) Hema Malini visited Kheer Bhawani temple in central Kashmir district of Ganderbal, official sources said here on Sunday.
They said that the BJP MP arrived at Srinagar International Airport and directly went to pay obeisance at Kheer Bhawani temple. ?Hema Malini offered prayers at the temple and also interacted with the locals amid heightened security arrangements,? they said.
They said security was beefed up along the route to the temple located in the Tulmulla area in Ganderbal.

The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kheer Bhavani (Maharagnya Bhagwati) and is considered as the most sacred worship place for Kashmiri Pandits. Every year thousands of Kashmiri Pandits visit the temple during Mela Kheer Bhawani which is celebrated on the occasion of Zyestha Ashtami. The number of devotees, which declined after the migration of the Pandit community from here in early 90s due to eruption of militancy, later witnessed manifold increase during the past about a decade.
Many times, rising of bubbles have been observed, which form the mystic Chakra on the surface of the water. Such a sacred and mysterious spring is found nowhere else in India.
The spring, dedicated to Goddess Kheer Bhawani, has an irregular septagonal shape with its apex called Pad (feet) to the East. The northern and the southern sides are longer than the western side which is called Shir (Head). In the centre of the holy spring where once stood a mulberry tree, there is one marble temple that enshrines some idols found at the time of cleansing the spring.
There are many interesting stories related to this festival. One of them is that when Ravana was killed at the hands of Rama, Goddess Bhawani ordered Hanuman to carry her to Satisar-Kashmir along with 360 Nagas.
Hanuman selected the site and installed the Goddess in the Northern part of the valley. She came to be known as Kheer Bhawani or Ragyna Bhagwati as her favourite offerings consisted of rice cooked in milk and sugar, and all other vegetarian forms of diet.
There is also an interesting story about how this spring came to light among the people. It is said that one Brahmin named Krishna Pandit of old city Habba Kadal had a vision wherein he was informed by a Deva to offer Puja to Kheer Bhawani in the swamps of Tullamulla. The pandit was guided by a snake through the swampy and marshy land, until he reached the hollow trunk of a mulberry tree.
The pandit took the clue and after performing Puja poured milk which he had brought for this purpose. It is thus that the holy spring was discovered and was known to Kashmiris.
It is believed that the discovery of the holy spring has been made on Ashadha Saptami, the seventh day of the bright fortnight of the month of June-July. Kashmiri Hindus come here every Ashtami – eighth day of the bright fortnight of each lunar month and majority of Kashmiri Hindus consider Kheer Bhawani as their guardian Goddess. The annual festival is held on Jesht Ashtami (May-June) when Kashmiri pandits visit the place in large number to offer prayers to seek the blessings of the diety.
Devotees also throng on every Shukla Paksh Ashtami round the year and perform ‘hawans’ to please the goddess. The historic Temple of Kheer Bhawani was built by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1912 and later renovated by Maharaja Hari Singh. The deity of Goddess Ragyna is decorated in a small white Marble Temple.