Tullamulla’s Spiritual Milestone
The heart of central Kashmir, Tullamulla, witnesses an extraordinary pilgrimage surge, as over 1.87 lakh devotees converge at Mata Kheerbawani's shrine, underscoring the enduring cultural and religious significance.
By Raja Syed Rather
The sacred abode of Mata Kheerbawani in Tullamulla, nestled in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, experienced an unprecedented surge in pilgrims during the year 2023, setting a historic milestone with a staggering 1.87 lakh devout individuals undertaking the spiritual journey.
Authorities conveyed that from the commencement of January to the culmination of December 2023, an extraordinary 1.87 lakh pilgrims graced the revered temple, surpassing all preceding attendance records. The temple’s cultural and religious eminence manifested in the substantial influx of tourists, exceeding the remarkable count of 1.87 lakh in the year 2023. This pilgrimage not only elevates the spiritual odyssey but also yields significant contributions to the local economy by fostering tourism-related enterprises and fostering employment opportunities.
Bilal Bhat, a dedicated campaigner, social reformer, and motivational speaker, emphasized, “Every year, pilgrims from different states visit Tullamulla, and the important message is that the local community, including all stakeholders, remains on their toes to serve the pilgrims in terms of support, cooperation, coordination, and services.” Bhat lauded the vigilance of divisional, district, and tehsil administrations in ensuring the availability of all necessary facilities for the devotees of Mata Kheerbhawni.
“We, the people of Tullamulla, always exhibit peace, prosperity, and communal harmony towards the masses; our hearts are always open if Kashmiri Pandits return to their homeland. We urge the Government of J&K to take steps to rehabilitate all Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir,” asserted Bilal, who dedicates his time every year to volunteering for pilgrims during the annual mela.
He underscored that the fact that 1.87 lakh devotees visited the temple this year is a testament to its cultural and religious value. Such a substantial influx of tourists brings manifold benefits to the local economy, promoting businesses associated with tourism and generating employment opportunities, he added.
Bhat remarked on the notable transformation witnessed in India’s spiritual tourism landscape in recent years, attributing it to a concerted effort to renovate and modernize pilgrim sites, upgrade supporting infrastructure, and enhance transportation systems.
Mir Naveed, a local youth from Tullamulla, Ganderbal, expressed that nearly 1.87 lakh devotees and tourists visiting the temple in 2023 “is a clear indication of communal harmony, brotherhood, and unity, which is still intact even today.” He highlighted the dependency of shopkeepers, vendors, and other small traders on the devotees, underscoring their role in boosting the local economy of the Tullamulla village.
The Civil Society Tullamulla appealed to the administration to make all necessary arrangements for the devotees both inside and outside the temple, ensuring a seamless and comfortable experience during their visit. Emphasizing sustainability, local resident Abdul Hameed suggested the incorporation of eco-friendly measures such as waste management, solar-powered lighting, and renewable resources in temple construction to promote an environmentally responsible image.