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When Swami Vivekananda performed puja at Khir Bhawani

By Mohan Kishen Tiku

The Khir Bhawani shrine is situated to the north of the Srinagar city at a distance of 24 km. The shrine is dedicated to Goddess Ragni Devi popularly known as Khir Bhawani. There is a spring where the water occasionally changes colour and this curious phenomenon attracts a number of yatries every year.

Swami Vivekanand's visit to Kashmir

Picture Courtesy: Mr. C. M. Bhat 

As regards the age and sanctity this famous shrine of Kashmir, the award of the “Tirth Sangrahi” and the tradition is unanimously the same. This shrine of Kashmir is as old as the human being in Kashmir. It is said that it was during the period of Ramayana, that Goddess was moved from Lanka (Ceylon) to Satisar (Kashmir). In Ceylon, Rawan began to perform evils. He performed the act of Sita haran, where upon Shri Ram invaded Lanka. Rawan began to perform penance for one thousand years. Goddess was pleased to see this, and gave darshan to Rawan. She as per request of Rawan selected North-Western corner of Lanka as Her abode, and sitting at the back of Anant-Serpant. The Goddess appeared in human form and gave darshan to King Rawan in nine different forms from time to time.

Rawan being now the devotee was given Kingdom of Lanka. At the time of invasion of Lanka by Shri Ram, Hanuman was ordered to take away the Goddess on the back of Anant-Serpant to Satisar--(Kashmir). The night when Maharagni came in Kashmir is named as Ragni-Ratri, and Goddess is worshipped as Maharagni.

For more than three centuries people knew nothing of this sacred spring which was subsequently discovered by Pandit Govind Joo Gadroo of Bohri-Kadal of Srinagar. Goddess appeared to him in a dream and he was ordered to visit the place. He arranged a boat and went to the Tulla-Mulla village--the abode of Goddess with a number of earthern vessels filled with milk, and when he reached the spring he poured milk into it. There is another version of process which is said to have brought the shrine to the notice:

One Kashmiri Pandit saw a vision in which he was asked by an Angel that the spring of Khir Bhawani lay among the swamps of Tulla Mulla village. The Pandit was surprised on this account. It was a difficult task for him to reach the main spot of the holy spring. A voice came to him and asked Pandit to engage a boat near Shadipore and from this place a serpant will guide him. As soon as the spot will be reached the serpant will jump in a spring which is the abode of Goddess. He did as was told and reached the main spot. Thus was the divine-spring of Kashmir discovered. Krishna Pandit along with other persons from the city inaugurated worship of the Goddess-first of its kind. After the pooja was finished, it is said that a piece of birch was seen floating over the water of the spring. The piece was collected and to his great surprise he found a ‘Sholaka’ written on it. Now gradually the place became known all over the Kashmir and outside too.

The main spring is dedicated to Goddess Khir Bhawani. It is an irregular spetagonal shape with apex called Pad (feet to the east). The Southern and Northern sides are a bit longer than the western side, commonly called ‘Sher’ (head). In the Centre there is an islet on which a temple must have existed. Sikandar Bud Shikan destroyed this temple also. Maharaja Partap Singh, got erected the present marble temple under the supervision of Pandit Ved Lal Dhar (father of Bal Kak Dhar)--Rais of Kashmir in the samvat year 1969.

On Durga Ashtmi, the 8th of the bright fortnight of Chet and on Jeth Ashtami large fairs are held at this shrine, which is attended by the devotees. People going there for worship do not take fish, meat or eggs, and must take a bath before they enter the main place.

Muslims of this place offer flowers through their Pandit friends, while addressing the Goddess as ‘Maj-Bhagvati’. (Mother Goddess). This shrine is reached by road and by boat too. The shrine is under the control of Jammu and Kashmir Dharmarth Trust.

Ragyna-Pradurbhave in its last chapter mentions at about this shrine.

This year the fair took place on 30th May. The State government made all possible arrangements for the convenience of the pilgrims. From Jammu a number of Kashmiri. Pandit migrants and locals left for Srinagar to join pooja at the shrine. Pilgrims from other parts of the Republic also reached the Srinagar for the function.

Swami Vivekanada along with some gurubhais and disciples and a party of Europeans reached Kashmir in June 1898 AD. On June 26, the party visited Khir Bhawani spring. Swami along with the party did bhajan at this shrine, and after some time did perform pooja. Then he sat down, in japa. No more Hari, it is all Mother now,” said so Swami. He brought to the notice of the Maharaja Partap Singh the neglected condition of this spring temple.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel



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