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 Srinagar
near the village of Tula Mula. 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.
The Kashmiri devotees often say this mantra in their morning prayer-"Namaste Sharada devi Kashmir purvasini Twamham prartheye nityam Vidya daanam che de hi me" meaning "I owe my full gratitude to the great goddess Sharada who lives in Kashmir I request you to fill in my mind with utmost power of concentration and studies"
It is the most important temple for the followers of Historical Vedic Religion in Kashmir, known as the Kashmiri Pandits. Around the temple is an area covered with smooth and beautiful stones. In it are large, old-growth chinar trees beneath which the pilgrims sit or sleep on mats of grass. While most of the colours do not have any particular significance, the colour of the spring water changes occasionally. When black or darkish, its believed to be an indication of inauspicious times for Kashmir.
In 1886, Walter Lawrence, the-then British settlement commissioner for land, during his visit to the spring, reported the water of the spring to have a violet tinge. Kashmiris claim to have observed a darkish or murky tinge to the water just before the assassination of Indira Gandhi and the 1989 insurgency in the valley.
Birth Of Goddess In Human Form:
Pandit Prasad Joo Parimoo, a Kashmiri pandit, is believed to have been a grahasta (house-holder) saint of tall order and as such his peers would call him Jada Bharata, who was a legendary saint of Puranas times. He used to live in Sekidafer area of Srinagar in Kashmir. He was married but didn't have any children so he is said to have finally adopted a son named Madhav Joo. He would regularly meditate at this holy spring and during one such occasion, while being in a meditative trance (samadhi), he is said to have had a vision of the deity of Mata Kheer Bhawani, who reprimanded him for his hasty decision of going for an adoption when she was herself desirous of taking birth in his family as his daughter.
Nonetheless, she is said to have blessed him with the boon and eventually Pandit Prasad Joo Parimoo's wife did give birth to a daughter, who was named Haar Maal. Approximate year of her birth would be 1870-1880. In the course of time, Smt Haar Maal got married to Pandit Narayan Joo Bhan and gave birth to a son in 1898 who later came to be called Bhagwan Gopinath during his lifetime.
A unique septagonal spring dedicated to Goddess Kheir Bhawani flows from west (sheer or head section) to the east (padh or feet). The holy spring is known to change its colour with various hues of red, pink, orange, green, blue, white, etc. which was noted by Abul Fazal and Swami Vivekananda. A black shade of the spring water is believed to be inauspicious.