Kheer Bhawani Temple

Tul Mul, Jammu and Kashmir

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Kheer Bhawani is a temple dedicated to the Goddess Kheer Bhawani (originally just Bhawani) constructed over a sacred spring. The worship of Kheer Bhawani is universal among the Hindus of Kashmir. The temple is situated at a distance of 14 miles east of Srinagarnear the village of Tul Mul. The term kheer refers to rice pudding that is offered in the spring to propitiate the Goddess, which became part of the name of the temple. As is the custom with Hindu deities, she has many names: Maharagya Devi, Ragnya Devi, Rajni, Ragnya Bhagwati, and so on.

Maharagya was pleased with the devotion of Ravana and appeared before him and Ravana got an image of the Goddess installed in Sri Lanka. However, the Goddess became displeased with the vicious and licentious life of Ravana and so didn't want to stay in Sri Lanka. Therefore, she is believed to have instructed Lord Hanuman to get the image from Sri Lanka and install it at the holy spot of Tul Mull. Though Ragniya is a Rupa of Durga, this one is a Vaishnav Rupa in Kashmir Ragniya is also known as Tripura, while in (Sri) Lanka, the Mother Goddess was called Shayama. Sita too, is believed to have been an incarnation of Ragniya. Ragniya Mahatmya has it that those who meditate on Panch Dashi Mantra during Nav-reh, Mother Ragniya grants their wish.

It is said that the night during which Mother Goddess came from (Sri) Lanka to Kashmir was named Ragniya Ratri In Kashmir a number of shrines are deciated to Mother Goddess at Tiker, Bhuvaneshvar, Manzgam (Noor-abad) Bheda, Lo-qraer-pur, Mani-gam, Rai-than and Baed-pur, but the Shrine at Tul-Mul is the most famous one and hence the focus of yatris. 360 springs (nagas) are said to have gathered there. Ragniya is a Sattavie form of Mother Goddess, i.e. the form of tranquility and bliss.

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