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COVID-19: Kheer Bhawani Mela celebrated without devotees, Aarti goes online
5/30/2020 10:14:20 PM
Early Times Report

Srinagar, May 30: The Mela Kheer Bhawani, the most important festival of Kashmiri Pandits, was celebrated on Saturday on the occasion of ‘Zyestha Ashtami’ without any participation of devotees in the central Kashmir district of Ganderbal, where thousands of pundits from different parts of the country used to participation in three-day pooja every year.
However, the rituals and Aarti of the deity would be conducted as per tradition by priests in the Kheerbhawani Temple on Saturday and the same will be shared with the public and devotees via social media.
Government used to make special arrangements to bring pandits, including women and children, in buses and other mode of transport from Jammu to Tulmula in Ganderbal. The festival also used to give an opportunity for divided pandits and their Mulsim brethren to meet each other.
Officials, however, said that this time due to Covid-19 Mela Kheerbawani was not organized in view of the pandemic. “There was no participation of devotees this year,” they said, adding no Pandit family was brought from Jammu or any other place.
The management of the Dharmath trust cancelled the Mela due to COVID-19. But, the rituals and Aarti of the deity would be conducted as per tradition by priests in the Kheerbhawani Temple on Saturday and the same will be shared with the public and devotees via social media.
It is said that a holy spring in Kheer Bhawani Temple at Tullamula changes its colours from time to time.
“It takes on various hues like red, pink, orange, green and blue, besides light green, red rosy and milky white shades. Any shade of black colour is considered to be inauspicious for the inhabitants of the valley,” Kashmir pandit priests, looking after the shrine, said.
Thousands of devotees from different parts of the country and within the state visit the shrine on the occasion every year. 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.
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