Jammu & Kashmir

1.87 lakh pilgrims visited Kheerbawani temple in 2023

Kashmiri pandits participating in the annual Hindu festival at Kheer Bhawani Temple in Tulla Mulla Ganderbal. [FPK Photo/Vikar Syed.]

Clear indication of centuries-old communal harmony, brotherhood: Locals

Ganderbal: Kheerbawani’s temple in Ganderbal witnessed an unprecedented surge in pilgrims, with over 1.87 lakh devotees making the journey in 2023.

From January to December 2023, 1.87 lakh pilgrims visited the revered temple in Tullamulla in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, surpassing previous attendance records.

The temple’s cultural and religious significance is evident in the substantial influx of tourists, exceeding 1.87 lakh in the year 2023. This pilgrimage not only enriches the spiritual experience but also contributes significantly to the local economy, fostering tourism-related businesses and creating employment opportunities.

Bilal Bhat, a campaigner, social reformer and motivational speaker, said, “Every year, pilgrims from different states visit Tullamulla, and the important message is that the local community, including all stakeholders, remains on their toes to serve the pilgrims in terms of support, cooperation, coordination, and services.”

He said divisional, district and tehsil administrations remain vigilant to make all facilities available for devotees of Kheerbhawni.

“We, the people of Tullamulla, always show peace, prosperity, and communal harmony towards the masses; our hearts are always open if Kashmiri Pandits return to their homeland. We urge the administration of JK to take steps to rehabilitate all Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir,” Bilal, who volunteers every year for pilgrims on the occasion of the annual mela, said.

He said the fact that 1.87 lakh devotees visited the temple this year is a testament to its cultural and religious value. Such a large influx of tourists brings many benefits to the local economy, promoting tourism-related businesses and generating employment opportunities, he added.

Bhat said that in recent years, India has seen a remarkable transformation in its spiritual tourism landscape. This transformation can be attributed to a concerted effort to renovate and modernise pilgrim sites, upgrade supporting infrastructure, and enhance transportation systems, he said.

A local youth from Tullamulla, Ganderbal, Mir Naveed, said nearly 1.87 lakh devotees and tourists visiting the temple in 2023 “is a clear indication of communal harmony, brotherhood, and unity, which is still intact even today”.

The shopkeepers, vendors and other small traders are dependent directly or indirectly on the devotees who visit the temple, boosting the local economy of the Tullamulla village, he said.

The Civil Society Tullamulla requested the administration to make all necessary arrangements for the devotees inside and outside the temple so that they do not face any hardship during the visit to the temple.

Highlighting sustainability, another local Abdul Hameed, suggested incorporating eco-friendly measures like waste management, solar-powered lighting and renewable resources in temple construction to promote an environmentally responsible image. (KNO)

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