TULMULLA (GANDERBAL): Hundreds of Kashmiri Pandit devotees thronged the Kheer Bhawani temple at Tulmulla in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on Monday for the annual Zeshta Ashtami festival.
The devotees walk barefoot, carrying rose petals and offering milk and kheer (pudding) at the spring in the temple, which is sacred for the Pandits.
Kashmiri Muslims had put up signboards en route the temple to welcome the Kashmiri Pandits.
A Kashmiri Pandit Ashok Kumar, who had come from Jammu, said, “There is a vast difference in the situation. People have welcomed us with open heart. We felt safe in the Valley.”
Ashok, who hailed from Sopore and had migrated in 1990, said he was hopeful that if the situation further improves, there is a possibility that migrant Pandits would return to Kashmir.
The Pandits en masse migrated from Valley after the eruption of militancy in 1990.
The Pandits believe that the colour of the water in the spring which flows below in the temple is an indicator of the situation in the valley.
Ashok said the colour of holy spring in the temple is green and white this year.
“It is auspicious colour and signifies peace and tranquillity,” he said.
According to him, the colour of the spring was red and black in the 1990s, when Kashmir was in the grip of militancy.