Forgotten Temples of Kashmir Part - 21

 

Shehjar Newsmagazine
Forgotten Temples of Kashmir
Photo series Part-21
An effort to preserve and record Hindu cultural and religios heritage of Kashmir
TEMPLES ASSOCIATED WITH MATA ROPA BHAWANI
Shrine at Vaskura
Exclusive images and report from a remote village in Kashmir provided for Shehjarby
Chander M. Bhat
ata Ropa Bhawani’s life starts with a legend. It is said that one Pandit Madhav Joo Dhar, who lived in Srinagar in ealry 17th century, regularly used to visit Sharika temple at Hari Parvat and pray for hours together with great devotion. During one such visit, on the first day of Navratra in the year 1620 AD, when he got engrossed in his prayers, Mata Sharika pleased with is devotion appeared before him as a girl child. Madhav Joo, being religious and spiritual man, realized that the girl child was none other than Mata Sharika herself, who had blessed him. To show his gratitude, he worshipped the child and showered on her all the love and affection of a father. Mata Sharika was so happy with her devotion that she asked him about his wish. Madav Joo is said to have asked for a daughter to be born in his house. Mata Sharika granted this wish and thus Ropa Bhawani was born to Madhav Joo’s wife on Poorna Amavasya in the month of zeeth (Jyeshta) in the year 1621 AD. The place happened to be hear Safa Kadal. Her parents named her Alakheshwar. She was also called Sharika Ansha Roopa, hence the name Ropa Bhawani. Since Madhav Joo himself was a deeply religious and spiritual man, he initiated her onto the same path and guided her like a Guru in her pursuit for realization of God. She was the contemporary of Rishi Pir. Her ancestor Jadmeru Pandit had come back to the Valley during the reign of Emperor Jahangir. At an early age, Alakheshwari was married to a boy, Hiranand Sapru Soon her married life turned into a hell, as botrh her mother-in-law and husband would ill-treat her. Like her father, she would visit Hari Parvat to perform her Sadhana and at time she would even go at midnight. This would raise the suspicion of her mother-in-law as well as her husband, who would doubt her integrity. Ultimately, one day she left in-laws house to pursue her inner voice. Ropa Bhawani wanted to perform her Sadhana in solitude and did so at Cheshma Shahi, Manigam and Vaskura. These places, including her birth place at Safa Kadal, ultimately became Ropa Bhawani Asthapanas. Her soul left for heavenly abode on maag gat’tu pachh satam in the year 1721 AD at the age of 96. All the shrines associated with Mata Rupa Bhawani were captured by me except that at Manigam.

Notes and References:
1. Encyclopedia: Kashmiri Pandit: Culture & Heritage by C.L.Kaul, published by Ansh Publications, 2009.

Dharamshala at Cheshmi Shahi

Spring in the Temple complex at Cheshma Shahi

Santum Sanitorium at Cheshma Shahi

Chashmi Shahi Temple


Entrance of Mata Shrine at Safakadal


Santum Sanitorium at Safa Kadal

Foundation stone of the Shrine at Safa Kadal

Shiv Linga, inside the Safa Kadal shrine


Dharamshala at Vaskura


Shri Alakh Trust, Vaskura


Santum Sanitorium at Vaskura


A well dug by a blind man in the complex of Vaskura Shrine

*Born on 20th March, 1960 in Murran a village in North Kashmir, Chander M. Bhat is presently working as an Assistant Supdt. Posts, in Department of Posts, Govt. of India. His articles regarding Posts and of non-political nature stand widely published in various papers and magazines of the country. A booklet 'How to Collect Stamps" published by the Department of Posts, has earned him genuine accolades. He worked on the project of tracing the roots of his co-villagers and of the village Murran, resulting into the culmination of a widely acclaimed book "Murran -My Village". Man with depth, Chander M. Bhat has also another book, "Ocean by Drops" (collection of poems) in his vase having colorful poems. His book "Ancient History of Jammu and Kashmir", confirms his researching capability. Various research papers like "The Splendor that is Amarnath" and "Vitasta" The Sacred River of Kashmir" are valuable additions to his works that has proved very fruitful and guiding force in the exile period of Kashmiri Pandits community of which the author is also a member.

Presently the author is working on "OOL - THE NEST" a six volume project on all the 595 (each volume of about 2500 pages)Kashmiri Pandit villages of Kashmir.

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