Press Trust of india

Pandits miss Kashmir visit on ‘Jyestha Ashtami’

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Jammu, May 30 : Many Kashmiri migrant pandits gave a miss to a visit to their roots in the Valley on ‘Jyeshtha Ashtami’ which was celebrated in a subdued manner due to the COVID-19 pandemic with most of the devotees offering prayers to goddess Ragnya Devi from their homes.

The usual hustle and bustle at the main Mata Kheer Bhawani temple in Ganderbal district of south Kashmir and its replica at Durga Nagar in Jammu was missing with only a handful of priests and some Kashmiri pandit devotees making it to the temples.

“After our migration from Kashmir about three decades back, we used to wait for the annual mela to reconnect with our roots by visiting our patron goddess Ragnya Devi at Tulmulla and using the occasion to visit our ancestral places as well but this time the outbreak proved a spoilsport,” R K Bhat, a Kashmiri migrant pandit, said.

Bhat, who is one of the members of the management committee of Mata Kheer Bhawani temple, built by the community at Durga Nagar in Jammu after their migration, said this was for the first time that they missed a visit to Kashmir on Jyestha Ashtami in many years.

He said thousands of pandit devotees, who could not visit Tulmulla, used to come to this temple to offer their prayers at the goddess Ragnya Devi.

“This is almost deserted and only a handful of devotees living in its close vicinity came here to offer their prayers while maintaining social distancing,” he said, adding the management had already clarified that there would be no congregation at the temple in view of the pandemic and the guidelines of the government.

Maharaj Krishan, another Kashmiri pandit, said the visitors offered prayers to seek blessings of the goddess to eradicate this infection which has brought life to a standstill across the globe.

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