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
Mr. C. M. Bhat
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Ragyna-Pradurbhave in its last chapter mentions at about this shrine.
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
Vivekanada along with some gurubhais and disciples and a party of Europeans
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.