Zyeth Atham Mubarak! The auspicious day and grand feast of Zyeth Atham (also called as Jyeshtha Ashtami) celebrations for the Kashmiri Pandits begin with these warm greetings.

The grand, pompous celebrations of the day mark the yearly celebrations of Jyeshtha Ashtami that is celebrated at Mata Kheer Bhawani Temple in Kashmir, also known as Tulmula. Celebrated with full gusto and vigour, Zyeth Atham marks the pradurbhava of the Goddess Ragnya (Kheer Bhavani or Ragnya Bhavani Mata).

Tulmula Temple in Kashmir
Tulmula Temple in Kashmirallevents.com

What is Zyeth Atham?

The celebrations usually fall on the eighth day of the bright half of Jyeshtha (May–June) and the date often varies per year.

Lakhs of devotees throng Tulmula Temple every year on this day. Sometimes, the gathering includes more than a lakh of people.

The grand festival, also known as Kheer Bhavani Mela has many devotees visiting the temple to take the blessings of the presiding goddess, Goddess Ragnya Bhawani. Inside the huge temple premises, there are small temples and idols of other gods like Lord Shiva, Ganesha and Goddess Parvati Mata.

Separate shran or snan kunds are allotted for ladies and gents visiting the temple on this day. The devotees take a bath or sprinkle the water over their faces, hands, and feet from here before paying homage to the residing Ragnya Bhavani Mata.

Mata Kheer Bhawani
Mata Kheer BhawaniWikimedia

By doing so, according to the belief of the Kashmiri pandits, the goddess takes away all their worries. After cleansing themselves, the devotees walk directly towards the inner temple of the goddess. The inner shrine is beautifully located on an elevated temple platform with spring water across the four boundaries.

Celebrations for the day

The central part of the festival is the main aarthi which is conducted with all the devotees lighting diyas, buring dhup or incense sticks, and offering their token of love to the goddess and Lord Shiva by offering milk, loaf-sugar, and flowers into the spring.

No specific or ritualistic procedure is performed but devotees are prescribed for the Puja at the Kheer Bhavani temple. According to Bhringish Samhita, the Devi, whose mantra is of fifteen syllables, accepts offerings of milk, sugar candy and ghee only - 'sa kshira-kharuladi bhojanam'.

The havan prasad from the temple consists of dal, chawal, dum aloo, and kheer.

Meanwhile, another similar festival held at the shrine on Asharha Ashtami. According to the beliefs, the sacred spring of the shrine miraculously changes its colour having been discovered on the Saptami of that month.

As coronavirus cases increase across the nation, all kinds of celebration for the day are called off.