Kheer Bhawani – the Goddess from Lanka who made Kashmir her home
This year, the annual Kheer Bhawani Mela will be held on June 20. As per the Hindu calendar, that day will be the eighth day of the Shukla Paksha of Jyeshtha month. She is the presiding deity of Kashmiri Hindus and this post is about the history of Her temple in Srinagar. Read this post about one of the most mysterious temples of India.
Jyeshtha roughly corresponds to June, and the words Shukla Paksha refer to the brighter part of the month.
To be honest, I hadn’t known about the exact history of Kheer Bhawani Mata until I began writing about Her. The reason I am writing H and not h in Her is that She is considered to be the embodiment of Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva.
When I began checking Her history, I was amused to find out that her earlier abode was in Lanka, the kingdom of Ravana!
If you have read my earlier posts, then you would know that Ravana was a very powerful king in his times. He was so powerful that at one point of time he had captured Devlok ( the kingdom of Indra), Earth or Prithvi and also the netherworld (Patal Lok).
History of Kheer Bhawani Temple
According to folklore, the Goddess one day got fed up with the excesses of Ravana. This king had the habit of stealing the wives and daughters of other kings! Ravana was supremely powerful and no other king could refuse his unjust demands. Over a period, Ravana grew bolder and turned out Kuber, the God of Wealth, from Alkapuri, Kuber’s capital.
Not surprisingly, Devi Parvati started detesting Ravana for his misdeeds. She could not withstand his lecherous behavior any longer. So one day when Hanuman visited Lanka, She requested him to carry Her to far off Kashmir. And that is how this gentle Goddess made Kashmir her abode. But when She left Lanka, She was accompanied by more than 300 snakes. Some of those snakes live even up to this day, insist the locals.
But it seems She miscalculated Her step. From the frying pan, She made her way to a melting pot. Kashmir Valley, these days, is indeed more than a melting pot.
But my dear friends, there are two other versions behind the origin of the Kheer Bhawani Temple.
According to one version, Lords Rama had instructed Hanuman Ji to carry the moorti of Goddess Kheer Bhawani from Lanka to Kashmir before the onset of the war.
Another version says that a Kashmiri Brahmin, Krishna Pandit, once had a vision where he was told by an angel to offer respects to Ma Ragnya who was in the swamps of Tullamula. On asking how he would identify the exact location, he was asked to hire a boat from a place called Shadipora and then follow a snake.
On boarding the boat, he saw a snake guiding him, which disappeared at the spot where lay a tree trunk of a mulberry tree. Krishna Pandit offered milk and other things that he had brought along with him and was happy to discover the home of Ragnya.
Ragnya is another name of Goddess Kheer Bhawani.
There are two interesting words associated with Goddess Kheer Bhawani or Ragnya. One is Kheer and the other is Tul Mul. Oh, I forgot to mention Bhawani as well. It means another name of Parvati or Durga.
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The word Kheer refers to a milk and rice delicacy which is sweet in taste and is to be taken while cold. This Goddess is fond of Kheer. Many devotees come to this temple on the appointed day to offer Kheer and make Her happy.
Tul Mul is the place where this temple is located. It is a swampy site and the water level is quite high here. Some people say that Tul Mul is a variation of ‘Atulya Mulya’ or ‘invaluable’.
I think I will be doing an injustice to you if I continued writing on this amazing temple. Why don’t you visit this hauntingly beautiful temple this June and come back with some fantastic memories?
How to reach Kheer Bhawani Temple
Srinagar is an important Indian city and you can reach it by taking flights or trains. This temple is just 10 kilometers east of Srinagar.
Trains- Click this link> http://www.indianrail.gov.in/enquiry/StaticPages/StaticEnquiry.jsp?StaticPage=index.html
Lots of hotels here. Pick your favorite hotel by clicking this link> www.jktourism.org