Located 18 miles (29 kms) north of capital Srinagar, the Kheer Bhawani shrine at Tulmula village in Ganderbal district, attracts thousands of people from all over the country.
The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Rajnya Devi, popularly known as Kheer Bhawani. The name 'Kheer Bhawani' is derived from the fact that thousands of devotees offer milk and 'Kheer' (pudding) to the sacred spring, as they believe the pudding turns black to warn of impending disaster. Devotees believe that the colour of the spring inside the shrine, annually predicts Kashmir's future. Legend says that Mata Ragnya flew from Sri Lanka during Demon king Ravana's reign, to Kashmir and established her seat beside a spring in the then Tullamulla village. Be it Hindus or Muslims, devotees from all across India throng the temple during the Kheer Bhawani festival.
The annual pilgrimage to this temple is a sort of homecoming for many Hindu Kashmiri Pandits who migrated from the state when terrorism was at its peak in the valley. It is at this temple that the age-old tradition of communal harmony comes to the forefront as the local Muslims set up stalls for the convenience of Kashmiri Pandits who visit the shrine, and have been traditionally welcoming their Pandit brothers with milk during the festival.
Around 250,000 devotees, mostly migrant Hindus, participate in a 'Maha Yagna', a traditional offering, at the shrine. Stalls are erected and all kinds of wares are sold at the fair. The enthusiasm of Muslim residents of Tulmula is a perfect example of Hindu Muslim brotherhood in Kashmir. It is also a perfect example of religious harmony that is so special to Indian culture.
A replica of the temple in Tulmulla village, is installed at Bhawani Nagar in Janipura area in Jammu, the winter capital of the state. Recently, more crowd is witnessed in this temple during the holiest festival of Kashmiri Pandits.
Festivals - Jammu and Kashmir