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24th October '2013
Kheer Bhawani turns normal
Picture taken on October 23, 2013

The colour of the water in the spring of the famous shrine of Kheer Bhawani in Tulla Mulla near Ganderbal is reported to be back to normal greenish tinge. More than a month back the colour of the water had turned red sending alarming signals among many people including Kashmiri Pandits. There is a belief that the colour of the water is an indication about the coming events. In normal times the spring water remains bluish white. As per the statement of the local Pujari (the Hindu priest) who has been a care taker of the shrine for almost 50 years or so, the colour sometimes changes to black foretelling the approach of bad times in Kashmir. According to him, the water had turned black after the assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi in 1984. It had again turned completely dark black in 1990 before the Pandit mass migration.

Colour of spring in early September

Last month during the controversial Shalimar concert of Zubin Mehta, the water had turned red. There were many theories about this phenomenon. Even the Pujari was surprised as he had not seen the red colour during his entire stay in the shrine. Some scientists and experts had theorised that the water colour may have changed due to sulphur content or due to red algae bloom. Mr. G M Hajam, the Tourist Officer of Tulla Mulla/Manasbal area who had been following this strange happening has informed that the restoration of the water to original colour was a result of the dewatering done by the Shrine Trust. They had used a dewatering motor to pump out the water and after few days the water assumed the normal colour. Mr. Hajam was informed by Ghulam Mohammad Dar, a local employee of the shrine working with the Pujari that the colour had changed due to adulterated milk poured into the spring. According to him the devotees visiting the shrine would buy local natural milk and pour it into the spring as a mark of devotion to the Goddess. However, some devotees had brought with them the pasteurised milk in plastic pouches and poured it into the spring. After that the water had turned red and smelly. He attributes this phenomenon to adulterated/chemically treated milk. Now, the devotees are again buying the local milk and the colour remains normal. After all, the Goddess refuses to accept the adulterated offerings but the poor common Kashmiris have become immune to adulterated milk and all other food stuff! In any case, the assumption of normal colour by the holy spring must have sent a wave of relief among the devotees all over the world who had been alarmed by the red colour of the spring.

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