Thursday, December 23, 2010

ASHTAVINAYAK MAHAD - VARDVINAYAK

kanchan athalye | Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips

One of the Eight (Ashta) Ganapati (Vinayak) Temples of Maharashtra. The name of this Vinayak (Ganesha) is Varad Vinayak meaning the one who blesses all the wishes. The temple is situated in a scenic place, and the new extension to the main temple is being made. Behind the temple is a small temple of Shri Dattatreya situated in Bamboo trees.

|| Shreemad Varad Vinayako Vijayate ||
The Varadvinayak temple at Mahad is located on the highway linking Mumbai and Pune. Mahadcha Varadvinayak is considered to be one of the Ashta Vinayak shrines of Maharashtra, celebrating eight instances of legends related to Ganesha. Mahad village is situated in Khalapur Taluka of Raigad District.Mahad is surrounded by picturesque surrounding.

Legend has it that a rishi by name Vachaknavi was visited by a ruler by name Rukmangada, and during the visit the rishipatni Mukundaa expressed her attraction to the king. The king turned her down leaving her seething in anger. In the meanwhile, Indra, the king of the Devas came down to the earth in the disguise of Rukmangada and accepted her amorous moves. An illegitimate son Grutshmadha was born out of their union. The son, learning of the story of his birth was grief stricken, and prayed to Ganesha in Bhadrakavana for absolvement of the sins of everyone concerned. His prayers were granted by Varadavinayak of Bhadrakavana (now Mahad).

Shree Dhondu Paudkar in 1690 A.D found the swayambhu idol of shree varadvinayak in al lake.This idol was kept in a nearby goddess temple for some time.afterwards in 1725 A.D Varadvinayak temple was built by Peshva Sardar Ramji Mahadev Biwalkar & he gifted this to the Village.

Varadavinayak is portrayed, seated on an East facing throne. Stone images of his consorts Siddhi and Riddhi are also seen in the temple. A lamp in this temple is said to have been glowing uninterrupted for over a hundred years.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

KILLE SUVARNADURG

kanchan athalye | Wednesday, December 22, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips
Suvarnadurg is a fort that is located on a small island in the Arabian Sea, near Harne in Konkan, along the West Coast of India, in the state of Maharashtra. The fort also includes another land fort (small) called the Kanakadurga at the base of headland of Harne port on the coast. Building of the fort is credited to Sultan Adilshah of Bijapur. The forts were captured by Shivaji, founder of the Maratha Empire, in 1660. 

Subsequently, Shivaji, other Peshwas and the Angres further fortified the forts for defence purposes.
The literal meaning of Suvanadurga is “Golden Fort” as it was considered as the pride or the “ feather in the golden cap of Marathas”. Built for the Maratha Navy for defence purposes, the fort also had a ship building facility. The basic objective of establishing the fort was to counter enemy attacks, mainly by the colonialists of Europe and also by the local chieftains. In the past, the land fort and the sea fort were connected by a tunnel, but now defunct. The present approach to the sea fort is only by boats from the Harne port on the headland.
The fort is on an island in the Arabian Sea on the west coast within the jurisdiction ofRatnagiri District, off the Kanakadurga fort and below the headland Harne port. Kanakadurga, the harbour fort, built originally as a strategic link to the sea fort has a lighthouse. Harne, near the dilapidated Kanakadurg fort, is an important harbour, which is right on the edge of the land that protrudes into the Arabian Sea. This is a natural harbour known for large fishing and marketing. It is conjectured that the Kanakadurga fort and other land side forts such asBankt Fort, Fategad fort and Goa fort were built primarily as look out forts for the security of the Suvarnadurg fort. There is no landing jetty at the Suvarnadurga fort. However, the landing is on the shores of the sandy beach of the rocky island. Another feature of the area is that a narrow channel separates the Gova, Kanakadurg and Fattehgarh forts on the mainland.

The forts have recorded history linked to the Adil Shah Dynasty (1490 to 1686) of theBijapur Sultanate. However, linking its history to an earlier era of the Satavahana (230 BC to 220 AD) is considered a speculation since no proof could be established to this claim. The forts were captured by Chatrapati Shivaji in 1660 by defeating Ali Adil Shah 11 (1656–1672). Kanhoji Angre (1667–1729), popularly known as “Samudratla Shivaji” was the Admiral of theMaratha Navy; in 1696, Kanhoji's naval fleet was stationed here. However, the fort was formally handed over to Kanhoji in 1713 by Shahu Raja.
Kanhoji Angre who was also known as Angria was appointed in 1698 as Admiral of the Maratha Naval Fleet by thePeshwas. He had complete control over the west coast, from Mumbai to Vingural, except for the fort of Janjira, which remained with the British (for 200 years). Angre was considered to be a mercenary who attacked defenceless towns and also traders. He even attacked the East India Company’s ship in 1702 and refused to release the British captives (six of them). He severed his relations with the Peshwas in 1704 and was called “the Rebel Independent of the Raja Shivaji”. In spite of warning by the British that he should not attack or capture British ships, he captured their ships in 1707. He had a free run of the west coast from Surat to Dabhol and captured all private vessels. When Shivaji’s grandson was imprisoned, Kanhoji got his opportunity to stake his claim for independence. In 1713, he had captured Peshwa’s general Bhairu, which forced the Peshwa general Balaji Rao (Commander-in-Chief of the Maratha forces) to come to an agreement with him. For maintaining "fealty" with the Sataras (Chatrapati Shivaji's family stronghold), he was granted 26 forts and its dependent villages, which included Suvarnadurg. In subsequent years, these forts became strong holds for piracy. With his new ordered control, Kanhoji held complete control over a coast line stretching over a coast length of 240 miles (390 km) and 40 miles (64 km) width extending from Mumbai to Vingurla to the south. He later entered into an agreement with the British, which went against him as the British flouted all terms with him. Humiliated by this treatment by the British he decided to attack them. He entered into an alliance with the Raja of Satara, equipped his vessels and manned them by the best crew consisting of Dutchmen. He also employed a Jamican pirate as his chief gunner. Many European pirate forces had also joined his army after the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713-14 (comprising a series of individual peace treaties among several European states includingEngland, France and Spain, among others). With this force, he terrorized the East India Company.

Kanhoji relentlessly carried on his fight against the British and in 1721 joined hands with thePortuguese; when 33 British soldiers were killed, 21 wounded and many ammunition and field guns were seized by the Marathas. In 1722, when Kanhoji was to attack the English factory at Karwar, in spite of the British sending their ships 'Victoria' and the 'Revenge' to attack Kanhoji's forces, he was not cowed down; even though his Dutch Commander was killed and his 16 ships were captured. However, he died on 4 June 1729, an unvanquished hero for 31 years against all foreign attacks. It is said that "Had he been in England, like Drake, he would have been knighted and lionised as a national hero, but in India he died merely as an independent ruler who never permitted any foreign ruler to filch even a part of his precious little dominion”.
He had two legitimate and two illegitimate sons, and Sambaji his legitimate son was given control of Suvarnadurg. Following the death of one of the brothers in 1734, there were intence fights and acts of piracy continued. In spite of attacks by the British in 1732, Sambaji was back in Suvarnadurg unharmed. However by 1749, Tulaji, the step brother of Sambaji, had become very powerful and his ships sailed unharmed, even much bolder than what his father Kanhoji had achieved. This situation forced the Peshwas to join hands with the British to suppress Tulaji. In 1755, they jointly attacked Tulaji’s strong hold of Suvarnadurg and took control of the fort within 48 hours. Suvarnadurg was then given to the Peshwas that was considered a humiliating surrender by the Peshwas to the British.

Subsequent to Kanhoji's demise, Tulaji Angre took charge of Suvarnadurg and it became the seat of his power. However, he fell foul of the Peshwas. He was considered arrogant. In the war with Tulaji, Peshwas were supported by the British. The joint siege of the fort lasted from March 25 to 2 April 1755. On 12 April 1755, Commodore James captured the fort and formally handed it over to the Peshwas. However, this support proved detrimental to the Peshwas, as the British extracted, as a reward, control over the Bankot fort but only allowed the Peshwas to have control over the Suvarnadurg. In 1802, Bajirav Peshwa under attack by the Holkars was trying to take refuge in this fort but had to flee to Vasai as he was chased to the fort by the Holkars. In 1818, Captain William of the British army attacked the fort and took full control of it on 4 December 1818. Soon thereafter the other forts also came under British control. The fort was thus under the control of the Peshwas till 1818. The fort has witnessed a scene of “triumph and tragedy, of the display of heroic courage and abject cowardice.”
The Angrias are also credited with not only strengthening the fort but also establishing the ship building yard at Suvanadurg and creating a large fleet of warships to secure the west coast, the Konkan coast, from attack from theBritish, French, Dutch and Portuguese colonialists. It is also inferred that the small forts (Goa, Kanakadurga, Bankot fort, Fattegad fort and Goa fort) were primarily built by Kanhoji Angre to defend Suvarnadurg from any enemy attack from the land route.
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KILLE JANJIRA (MURUD – ALIBAG)

kanchan athalye | Wednesday, December 22, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips
Murud-Janjira is the local name for a fort situated at the coastal village of Murud, in the Raigad district. It is famous for being the only fort along India's western coast that remained undefeated despite Maratha, Dutch and English East India Company attacks.

The word Janjira is not native to India, and may have originated after the Arabic word Jazeera, which means an island. Murud was once known in Marathi as Habsan, or Abyssinian's land. Some of the people also split the name as "JAL JEERA" meaning fort in the water.

 The name of the fort is a concatenation of the Konkani and Arabic words for Island, "morod" and "jazeera".The word "morod" is peculiar to Konkani and is absent in Marathi.Thus, during the rains, the fields get flooded,but the morods never flood.The State of Murud-Janjira was known to the Maratha Empire as Habsan,the land of the Habshis.

It is really good to see this fort. the coventers of this fort is really different from other forts.Sambhaji Maharaj (Son of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj)constructed a fort on a nearby island (Padmadurg Fort, now known as Kasa). Kasa is not accessible to the public and requires special permission from the Navy.

Murud doesn't just have a Beach & the fort. It also has a Temple over the hill next to the New Bus Depot (known as Datta cha Dongar) Hill of Lord Dattatray. One can have a paranormic view of Murud  both the islands together from the hill.

Further ahead of the hill is an idga, the walk though the dense jungle is a experience in itself. The fort also boasts of a sweet water lake inside it. It is considered to be a miracle that the Fort surrounded by the salty water of the sea has a lake full of sweet water. Also the cannons in the fort are quite unique. The biggest cannon boasts a range of around 18 km. It is said that since the entire cannon could not have been transported at once they had to be brought in pieces and they were then assembled inside the fort.
When the rulers of the fort gave up their rule they settled in a near by village and named it Rajpuri (meaning end of the Rule, Raj = Rule and Puri = End)
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

MANGO

kanchan athalye | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips

King of Fruits which has the whole world drooling over its juicy pulp and out of the world flavours. Mangoes are very healthy with low fat and rich vitamin content. It contains carotene (vitamin A), Vitamin C thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and minerals like iron, phosphorus and calcium.
Mangos are an excellent source of vitamins C and A, both important antioxidant nutrients. Vitamin C promotes healthy immune function and collagen formation. Vitamin A is important for vision and bone growth.
Mangos are a good source of dietary fiber. Diets low in fat and high in fiber containing grain products, fruits, and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of some types of cancer.
Mangos contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals.
Mangos scored 93 out of 100 on the recently introduced NuVal (Nutritional Value) scoring system for overall nutritional quality.


Mango being the national fruit of India is cultivated widely across India. Major Mango growing areas include Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, UP, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Alphanso, Kesar, Ratnagiri, Dashehari, Langra, Himsagar, Lakshman Bhog, Safeda, Fajli, Chausa, Totapuri, Banganpalli, Neelum are some of the major varieties of mango grown in India.



MAHARASHTRA
Baramati, Morgaon, Dapoli, Kolhapur are the areas with Mango Orchards. The scenic coastal Konkan belt cultivates Hapoos mango. The Ratnagiri and Devgad Hapoos can be counted among the finest mangoes produced in India.

GUJARAT
Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Valsad, Savarkundala, Navsari, Sasan and Talala Gir, Kutch and Visavadar are the prominent areas for mango cultivation.

KARNATAKA
Kolar, Belgaum, Dharwad, Chikmagalur, Hassan and Haveri together forms the major mango-growing regions of Karnataka.

TAMIL NADU
Krishnagiri is the largest mango producing district in Tamil Nadu.

ANDHRA PRADESH
Krishna, West Godavari and Guntur districts.

UTTAR PRADESH
In UP, Lucknow boasts of the world famous Malihabadi `Chausa` and `Langda`. Saharanpur another major mango-bearing belt is also known for Saharanpuri `Chausa` and `Langda`. Besides Varanasi region also has acres of Mango plantations.

WEST BENGAL
In West Bengal you can have a rendezvous with the mangoes at the orchards in Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia and North 24 Paraganas districts.
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JACKFRUIT

kanchan athalye | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips
It is well suited to tropical lowlands. Its fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world, reaching 80 pounds (36 kg) in weight and up to 36 inches (90 cm) long and 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter. The Jackfruit is one of the three auspicious fruits of Tami Nadu, along with Mango and Banana.
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CASHEW

kanchan athalye | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips

It is a small evergreen tree growing to 10-12m (~32 ft) tall, with a short, often irregularly shaped trunk. The leaves are spirally arranged, leathery textured, elliptic to obovate, 4 to 22 cm long and 2 to 15 cm broad, with a smooth margin. The flowers are produced in a panicle or corymb up to 26 cm long, each flower small, pale green at first then turning reddish, with five slender, acute petals 7 to 15 mm long.
 What appears to be the fruit of the cashew tree is an oval or pear-shaped accessory fruit (sometimes called a pseudo carp or false fruit) that develops from the receptacle of the cashew flower. Called the cashew apple, it ripens into a yellow and/or red structure about 5–11 cm long. It is edible, and has a strong "sweet" smell and a sweet taste. The pulp of the cashew apple is very juicy, but the skin is fragile, making it unsuitable for transport.

The true fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney or boxing-glove shaped drupe that grows at the end of the accessory fruit. The drupe develops first on the tree, and then the peduncle expands into the cashew apple. Within the true fruit is a single seed, the cashew nut. Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense the nut of the cashew is a seed. The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing an allergenic phenolic resin, anacardic acid, a potent skin irritant chemically related to the more well known allergenic oil urushiol which is also a toxin found in the related poison ivoy. Some people are allergic to cashew nuts, but cashews are a less frequent allergen than nuts or peanuts.

In Goa, India, the cashew apple (the accessory fruit) is mashed, the juice is extracted and kept for fermentation for 2–3 days. Fermented juice then undergoes a double distillation process. The resulting beverage is called fenny.
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KARVANDA

kanchan athalye | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips

The Karvanda fruit is a rich source of  Iron and contains a fair amount of Vitamin C. It is antiscorbutic and very useful for cure of Anaemia
Mature fruit contains high amount of pectin and, therefore, besides being used for making Pickle, it can be exploited for making Jelly, Jam, Squash, Syrup and Chutney.The roots of the plant are heavily branched and make it suitable for stabilising eroding slopes.
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JAMBUL

kanchan athalye | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips
 A fairly fast growing species, it can reach heights of up to 30 m and can live more than 100 years. Its dense foliage provides shade and is grown just for its ornamental value. The wood is strong and is water resistant. Because of this it is used in Railway Sleepers and to install motors in wells. It is sometimes used to make cheap furniture and village dwellings though it is relatively hard to work on.
Jambul trees start flowering from March to April. The flowers of Jambul are fragrant and small, about 5 mm in diameter. The fruits develop by May or June and resemble large berries. The fruit is oblong, ovoid, starts Green and turns Pink to shining Crimson Black as it matures. A variant of the tree produces white coloured fruit. The fruit has a combination of sweet, mildly sour and astringnent flavour and tends to colour the tongue purple. The seed is also used in various alternative healing systems like Ayurveda (to control diabetes, for example.), Unani and Chinese medicine for digestive ailments. The leaves and bark are used for controlling blood pressure and gingivitis. Wine and vinegar are also made from the fruit. It has a high source in vitamin A and vitamin C.

Sometimes the name 'Jambul' is wrongly translated as 'Blackberry'. Blackberry is a different fruit and should not be confused with Jambul.
In Maharashtra, Jambul (locally know as Jambhul) leaves is use as marriage pendals. There is a famous song in Marathi,'Jambhul Piklya Zada Khali Dhol Kunacha Wajato' which means "under the full fruity jambul tree dhol (drum) is beaten in joy". This song is pictured on the famous Indian star Smita Patil
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THE FIRST PESHWA - BALAJI VISHWANATH

kanchan athalye | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips
Balaji Vishwanath, was the celebrated Peshwa of Maratha Empire and served a lot to establish the empire.

Shreewardhan is an important village in central Konkan. Situated at the south end of Raigad district, this naturally beautiful village is a birth place of First Peshwa of Maratha Empire, Balaji Vishwanath. Majestic sea-shore has added to the beauty of the village. It is adorned by dense vegetation of coconut and betel nut trees. Structure of the village is well planned with mostly all roads being parallel to each other. It's spread in about 4.2 square km.


Holy place Harihareshwar village, known as 'Dakshin Kashi’ is 16 k.m. from Shreewardhan. Shri Somjai is distinguished Temple in Shreewardhan. Besides Laxmi-Narayan, Maruti, Bhairawnath, Datta, Kaleshri, Kusumadevi, Ganpati, Jivaneshwar Temples you will also find Mosques in Shreewardhan
There is a betel-nut research center to study on ‘Band’ disease. Fishing is main occupation of this area. Seaport is about 2 k.m. from Shreewarhan. You can have a view of ships docked here. Half-circular tall cypress trees forest and fresh wind blowing through them, white sand of seashore, blue sea, green mountains attract tourist.

Shreewardhan is one of the village which has become holy by footprint of a great patriot and warrior, First Peshwa of Maratha Empire Balaji Vishwanath. Shreewardhan is a birth place of Peshwa.There is splendid statue of Balaji Vishwanath at his Wada.
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KONKAN - PARADISE LOST TO PARADISE REGAIN

kanchan athalye | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips
Konkan has 720 km. Long sea face extending from Dahanu and Bordi in the north up to Goa proceeding southwards. If you have liking for sand, sea and surf, this state has a great many interesting option in store. You could arrange trips or get away on a weekend. You could indulge in adventurous water sports or relax on golden sands. If you are interested in Forts and their history Konkan is the perfect place for your tour. It offers you a vast choice of majestic forts like Malvani, Murud, Sindhudurg, Vijaydurg,Suvarnadurg, and many more .
There's so much you can do during beach holidays. Study temple and churches. Stroll through whispering coconut groves, hills and valleys. Look for tiny, picturesque villages. Acquaint yourself with different people and their lifestyle. Savor the flavor of konkan cuisine Solkadhi, Bangda, Pomfret, Curry, Modak, Rice, Chapattis, dishes with Jackfruit, Kokam and the world famous Alphonso Mangoes.
Away from the pollution of cities, these towns offer a clean, calm and thoroughly refreshing environment, Konkan is the only place in India, where you can observe the fall of the land right up to the sparkling sea.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

THE RAIGAD ROPEWAY

kanchan athalye | Monday, December 13, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips
 Background
The Shri. Shivaji Raigad Smarak Mandal (SSRSM) was founded by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1886. The SSRSM undertook the task of making the Fort Raigad more accessible to the people. In 1990, the then Government of Maharashtra, accepted the proposal of SSRSM for the construction of a ropeway. M/s Triveni, a construction firm of Naini, Allahabad, an undertaking of the Central Government submitted a proposal of Rs. 8 Crores for the project. The project was a non-starter due to the prohibitive cost and requirement of foreign exchange.
Completion of the Project: In 1994, Jog Engineering Limited (JEL), in the national interest undertook to construct this awe-inspiring ropeway with their own personal investment, by entering into a Build, Operate and Transfer Agreement (BOT) with SSRSM. In spite of several formidable difficulties, the project was completed on 3rd April 1996 and was inaugurated by (Late) Prof. Rajendrasinhji, the then Sarasanghchalak, RSS. The cost of construction was Rs. 3.1 Crores only, as compared to Rs. 8 Crores as quoted by the government agency. The shackles of inaccessibility were broken and the impregnable Fort was brought within easy reach of all-the young children, the old and the disabled alike. A dream fulfilled at last!

Ropeway Package: It includes a visit to the Museum located at Lower Station of Fort Raigad. The Museum has been created with the help of renowned historians like Shri. Babasaheb Purandare, Shri. Ninadji Bedekar and others. It displays photographs of various forts in Shivaji's empire, artifacts, farmans and weapons used in those historic times. The visit to the Museum is followed by a Film Show on Fort Raigad. The educative film is tastefully created by a team of historians and provides a preview of various aspects of the monument that the tourist is about to see. This value addition makes the trip very memorable and meaningful. A conducted tour of the Fort gives in-depth information to the tourists, besides answering their queries.

ROPEWAY FACTS
Founder: (Late) Shri V. M. Jog

Construction commenced: November 1994

Costruction completed: March 1996

Cost of the project: Rs. 3.1412 Crores (as of March 2002)

Inaugurated by: (Late) Prof. Rajendrasinghji, Sarsanghchalak, RSS.

Vertical height: 420 metres

Rope length: 760 metres

Electrical motor capacity: 70 HP

Cabin weight: 100 kg. Each

Backup/safety measures: On failure of electricity provision of generator, diesel engine and manual operation. Stranded passengers can be safely transported by using rescue ropeway.

Since February 2004 the ropeway is being operated and maintained by Millennium Properties (P) Limited.
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MARLESHWAR

kanchan athalye | Monday, December 13, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips

 Marleshwar is a place in Sangameshwar subdivision of Ratnagiri Districtin the Indian state of Maharashtra. Marleshwar is very much popular for the Cave Shiva Temple where one can see venomous snakes who do not bite the devotees. This has resulted in increasing faith in the place and every year thousands of devotees visit the place and perform ablutions in the nearby Bav river.
Dhareshwar is a waterfall on the Bav river which is another tourist attraction of Marleshwar.There are many stories about Marleshwar. On the day of 'Makarsankranti' marriage of Marleshwar and Girijadevi takes place. Local villagers celebrate the marriage ceremony with great enthusiasm. Besides on 'Mahashivratri' and 'Tripuri Poornima' there is fair. At the beginning of 18th century, this 'Shivling' was in Muradpur, which was brought here in the cave after tyrant Muradkhan started vexing people of Muradpur. This temple is known as 'Trambakeshwar' of Konkan. Marleshwar name may have come from Maral village.
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BARA BALUTEDAR

kanchan athalye | Monday, December 13, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips
The Bara Balutedar System is a servant systems in Maharashtra, India's Villages which occurs some castes who used to work for the farmers in their surroundings.

Today, according to act 1958,the village servants are free from their work.

Names Of  Bara Balutedar In Marathi.  
1) Chougula 
2) Mahar (Watchman ) 
3) Sutar ( Carpenter )
4) Lohar ( Blacksmith ) 
5) Kumbhar ( Potter ) 
6) Chambhar ( Shoe maker ) 
7) Nhawi ( Barber ) 
8) Sonar ( Goldsmith ) 
9) Joshi ( village astrologer ) 
10)Parit (Washerman) 
11)Gurav (Idol-Dresser) 
12)Koli ( Water Carrier )

Bara Balutedar were Village Servants.- They were hereditary village servants. They are of two kinds (i) those useful to Government, and (ii) those useful to the community.

The village servants useful to Government are the Mahars and the Ramosh's (Ramosis). They are remunerated by watans, which take the form of grants of land either entirely free of assessment or subject to an annual reduced assessment (called mamul judi) or cash payment from the Government treasury, or both. The Mahars help the village patil and the talathi in the collection of revenue and do all duties in connection with village administration. They attend on the Mamlatdar and other higher officers when they visit the village. The Ramosis watch the movements of criminals and help the village patil in the discharge of his duties connected with the police administration.

The village servants useful to the community are known as balutedars. At the time of the old Maratha rule there were twelve of them called Bara Balutedars. Some of them have either disappeared or are in the process of disappearing from village economy, but others are still in existence with their usefulness reduced owing to modern conditions of life. Under the baluta system, the balutedars have certain rights and privileges at ceremonies, etc. Their services are remunerated by the cultivators in the shape of an annual payment in sheaves of corn and a few seers of other grain grown in the field, such as wheat, hulga, gram, Tur, groundnut, etc. For special services rendered on ceremonial occasions payments are made in cash, corn or clothes. Sometimes food is given. The big cultivators who have occasion to indent on their services more frequently than the small cultivators make larger payments.
The balutedars whose services are still in demand in villages are the carpenter (sutar), the barber (nhavi), the idol-dresser (gurav), the water-carrier (koli), the shoemaker (chambhar), the watchman (mahar), the blacksmith (lohar), the washerman (parit), the potter (kumbhar), and the rope-maker (mang). There has been a tendency among them to leave the villages and seek their livelihood in cities and towns. The silversmith (potdar) as a balutedar has entirely disappeared. The village astrologer (gram joshi) is employed at the sweet will of the cultivators. All the religious ceremonies of the cultivators and allied classes are done through the gram joshi, for which he is given cash payment called " daksina". Some religious-minded cultivators give him some quantity of corn and other presents in kind.
The Mulla functions at the religious and other ceremonies of Muslims. He also kills the sheep and goats, for which he receives some mutton.

The barber, as a balutedar, does many duties not connected with his profession. At the time of a marriage ceremony, when the bridgroom goes to the temple to pray, he holds his horse and receives a turban as present. At village festivals or marriage ceremonies he sometimes acts as a cook. He also serves food and water to the guests on such ceremonies. It is his privilege to act as a messenger at marriage ceremonies and call the invitees for the function. He does massage to persons of distinction at the village. He plays on the pipe and tambour at weddings and on other festive occasions.
The water-carrier not only supplies water to the villages but also keeps watch during floods in the case of villages situated on river banks. He is also useful to the villagers to take them across the river with the help of a sangad (floats joined together).

There are several Mahars in a village. The cultivators select one of the Mahars for their services, whom they call "Ghar Mahar ". He is expected to clean the open space near the houses of the cultivators and also their stables. Occasionally he furnishes them with firewood. It is the right of Mahars to take charge of dead animals and sell their hide to the shoe-maker.

The castes whose work was considered less important by the farmers were known as alutedar.
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

KILLE JAIGAD

kanchan athalye | Sunday, December 12, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips

Last village in Ratnagiri Tehsil is Jaigad. After crossing the creek in the village, one reaches the Guhagar Tehsil. Jaigad is the natural port and famous since ages. When major transportation was by sea – routes. This is one of the rare ports where ships can directly berth to the jetty. This was the major port in 50’s when Goa – Mumbai ship service was in full stream. Over the time with advent of national highways and closure of ship services, Jaigad lost its glamour and now is a remote port.

Lighthouse situated in the fort guides ships traveling between Dabhol (near Dapoli) and Ratnagiri. With the proper development of this natural port, Jaigad can once again be the hub of marine activity and has the potential to become an alternative port to Mumbai. Its scenic location and natural port facility are the silent features of the Jaigad Fort.
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NIVATI-BHOGVE

kanchan athalye | Sunday, December 12, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips
Nivati and Bhogve are two unexplored beaches. Nature had showered these places with amazing beauty.

Bhogve:
Bhogve is isolated but scenic village. Whole village is in grip of green surroundings and also has a beautiful beach. Tourists gets crazy by visiting this clear and untouched beach. Meeting point of sea and Karli river is also a major attraction, watching more than hundred seagulls at this place is a pleasant experience.

Nivati:
Nivati is neighborhood village of Bhogve. Nivati has historical significance due to Nivati Fort. Though fort doesn’t have anything special to watch, but view of Nivati beach from fort is marvelous.
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Monday, December 6, 2010

FORT SINDHUDURG

kanchan athalye | Monday, December 06, 2010 | Best Blogger Tips
Sindhudurg (Sindhu = sea, Durg = fort) was built by the great Maratha warrior King Shivaji in 1664. Shivaji selected the strategic rocky island location, then known as 'Kurte' for the fort ,himself - to counter foreign forces, and to keep the nearby Siddis of Murud-Janjira in check.



Structural Details:
Over 4000 mounds of iron were used in the casting and foundation stones were firmly laid down . The construction was started on November 25, 1664. Built over a period of thirty years, the sea fort is spread over 48 acres (190,000 m2) with a two-mile (3 km) long rampart, and walls that are 30 feet (9.1 m) high and 12 feet (3.7 m) thick. The massive walls were designed to serve as a deterrent to approaching enemies and to the waves and tides of the Arabian Sea. The main entrance is concealed in such a way that no one can pinpoint it from outside.At a time when Samudra Gaman (travelling by sea) was banned by scriptures, this construction on an island represents the revolutionary mindset of its builder.

About The Families Staying In The Fort:
Families staying at the fort are known as Mavlas, who were the soldiers during the king's regime and they are known to be their ancestors. Basic occupations for them are farming, fishing and guiding tourists in the fort. Among the 15 families there are two Muslim families who are given the responsibility of playing the drum (Nagara) in the evening at the time of prayers and that practice has been followed since the king's regime as no one else was allowed to do that as Shivaji Maharaj never discriminated among religions. The houses the locals staying on the fort are very much the same since they were built ,the locals inhabiting the area can renovate the house interiors, but not the exterior, and also cannot sell their houses. As there are no hospitals, no shops, no facilities, life is difficult on the fort. The only mode of transport is waterways which,again,is risky.

Attractions At The Fort:
(1)There are three sweet water reservoirs in ramparts of the fort , and even if the water in the nearby villages dries in summer, these wells do not dry; they always contain water in them.
(2)There is a coconut tree which has a branch, if you see a coconut tree it will never have a branch but this tree not only has a branch but also gives fruit. This tree was struck by lightning a couple of years ago.
(3)There is a passage which is hidden in a temple which looks like a water reservoir, this passage goes under the fort for 3 kilometers, and 12 kilometers beneath the sea, and from there 12 kilometers in a nearby village which was used as a rescue door if the enemy entered the fort; this way was for the women to move out.However,this passage has been partially closed to public view,ever since it was abandoned, by the British rulers.
(4)The entrance gate is hardly visible from anywhere, and unless you are not a regular visitor, and if you are not and you are trying to enter through a boat which is the only possible option apart from air, you would bang at the rocks around the fort which can't be seen to naked eyes, hence you have to be very familiar with the fort ,to enter.
(5) A handprint and a footprint of Shivaji Maharaj is also embedded in one section of the fort. There is also Atmeshwar Mandir ,a famous Shivling, and is beautiful place for Adhyatmik Sadhana (Spiritual Activities).
(6)There is a Temple of Shivaji Maharaj, built by his son Rajaram: The only temple of Shivaji in the world.in this temple,festivities like Shivaji Jayanti(birthday of Shivaji),Ram Navami,Janmashtami,Mahashivrathri,Ganesh Chaturthi,etc also take place.
(7) Daily Pooja(worship)and maitainance is done by mainly two families-that were assigned this job since the fort was built, one of them is Shriram Sakpal.
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