Amid tight security, nearly 4,500 devotees, including members of the Kashmiri Pandit community, on Friday left from the Nagrota area to attend the annual Kheer Bhawani mela in Kashmir, officials told Press Trust of India.
The annual Kheer Bhawani Mela, celebrated on Zeisht Ashtami, will take place on May 28 at the shrines of Tulmulla (Ganderbal), Tikker (Kupwara), Laktipora Aishmuqam (Anantnag), Mata Tripursundri Devsar (Kulgam), and Mata Kheerbhawani Manzgam (Kulgam) in the Valley.
The four-day pilgrimage commenced today as Divisional Commissioner (Jammu) Ramesh Kumar, Relief Commissioner K K Sidha and prominent Kashmiri Pandit leaders jointly flagged off the yatra from Nagrota area, ensuring the safety and well-being of the devotees.
“The relief department, administration, and security forces have made comprehensive arrangements to ensure the success of this pilgrimage,” DC Kumar told PTI here.
This year, an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 migrant Kashmiri Pandits from various parts of India and abroad are expected to visit the five renowned temples in the Valley during the annual fair.
The administration has implemented rigorous security measures, including sniffer dogs, metal detectors, and thorough verification of devotees. A large number of security personnel are escorting the yatra, ensuring the safety of the pilgrims.
President of the Mata Kheer Bhawani Welfare Society Kiran Watal said, ”The LG administration and police have provided excellent arrangements and security measures. Everything is progressing smoothly. This is the first time in the history of this yatra that such massive arrangements have been made.
Vikas, a devotee from Ganderbal district, said, ”After a wait of five years, we are finally able to participate in the Mela. This opportunity fills us with great joy.”