Kashmiri Pandits leave for ‘Kheerbhawani’ festival in valley

Jammu: Hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits on Monday left for Kashmir Valley to attend the annual “Kheerbhawani” festival in the northern Ganderbal district.

Forty-seven state buses, and dozens of private vehicles and taxis carrying over 2,000 Pandits left in a convoy in time to attend their holiest festival of Mata Kheerbhawani, a senior state government official told IANS here.

The festival at Kheerbhawani shrine in Tullamula village of Ganderbal district starts from Tuesday.

The shrine of the Hindu goddess, Mata Ragyna, was built by Dogra Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1912.

Later, Maharaja Hari Singh carried out renovation of the shrine.

It houses a temple of the deity and a spring which local Pandits believe to be sacred. They offer milk and “kheer” (rice pudding) at the spring.

They also believe the colour of the shrine’s spring foretells the events that would take place later in the year.

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