Press Trust of India

Mata Jwala temple: An abode of harmony in Kashmir

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Khrew: (Pulwama): Tucked away atop a hillock in remote Khrew hamlet of Pulwama district, the temple of Jwala Mata comes to life every year on Ashad Chaturdashi as Muslims and Hindus alike throng it to mark the birthday of the presiding deity and offer their prayers to her.

“Today is Ashad Chaturdashi. It usually comes in July. It is the birthday of Mata Jwala and people from all over the country come here. Not only Hindus, our Muslim brethren also come. We serve the devotees together,” Maharaj Krishan Raina, a Kashmiri Pandit devotee, said after taking part in the Haar Tsodah festival.

Although the Hindu-Muslim bonhomie in this village, 25km from Srinagar, is nothing new, the two communities are now praying for return of the era of harmony, peace, and brotherhood to Kashmir.

“A lot of devotees visit this place from various parts of Kashmir and outside. We pray with folded hands to the goddess to restore peace in the region so that Hindus and Muslims can live together as they used to earlier,” a female Kashmiri Pandit devotee said.

Rais Ahmad, a local resident, said Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims complement each other and the two communities have no identity if separated.

“Kashmir is known for communal harmony and it is imperative that they (Pandits) should be with us and we be with them. We are complete each other. We have no identity ias separate entities,” he said.

The importance of the festival in local dynamics can be gauged from the fact that Lok Sabha member from South Kashmir and National Conference leader Hasnain Masoodi was among those who marked his presence at the temple this morning.

“The festival is a cultural event for our area. It is an embodiment of Hindu-Muslim amity,” Masoodi said.

Community kitchens, popularly known as langars, are set up for the festival at the temple and the devotees are fed without any discrimination.

“There are community kitchens set up for the devotees. One langar is in the name of the Mata also. People come here and eat. It is the blessing of the Mata that everything is working here,” Avinash Kumar, a langar operator, said.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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