The annual Kheer Bhawani Mela at Tullamula in Srinagar, considered the biggest congregation of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley, was celebrated with traditional fervour on Tuesday.
Despite rain and bad weather, thousands of Kashmiri Pandits from all over the country visited the state to attend this most important festival of Pandits, where goddess Ragnya Devi is worshipped. While the local Kashmiri Muslims make arrangements for the fair, the Hindus hold night-long prayers at the temple.
The devotees, who have come here on a purely religious trip, seem to be unaffected by the recent controversy over the proposed resettlement of Pandits in separate townships in Kashmir. The proposal had evoked sharp reactions from national and regional political parties, besides all separatist groups.
For Tikka Lal and his wife Sarla, life has “moved on too much’’ over the past 25 years to even think of “resettlement” now. “We have come to attend the mela because we want to keep in touch with our roots and traditions. Our children simply refused to join us. They were born and brought up outside Kashmir. Their life is there. They are not willing to come back and settle here,” said Tikka Lal, a teacher who once lived in Magam in the Valley, but is now a resident of Delhi.
For Roshan Lal Mattu, another pandit who had settled in Jammu after 1990, the resettlement issue is just a “political gimmick”.