Chander M. Bhat 
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Temples associated with Mata Ropa Bhawani

by Chander M. Bhat

Mata 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 96.1   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.

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