Mahabaleshwar History.....

 

 

Mahabaleshwar History


The first historical mention of Mahabaleshwar dates back to year 1215 when the King Singhan of Deogiri visited Old Mahabaleshwar. He built a small temple and water tank at the source of the river Krishna. Around 1350, a Brahmin dynasty ruled this area. In the middle of the 16th century the Maratha family of Chandarao More defeated the Brahmin dynasty and became rulers of Javli and Mahabaleshwar, during which period the temple of Old Mahabaleshwar was rebuilt.

In the 17th century Shivaji Maharaj took over Javli and Mahabaleshwar and constructed the Pratapgad fort in 1656.

In 1819, the British included the hills in the territory of the Raja of Satara. Col. Lodwick (Late General Sir ) stationed at Satara, in April 1824 with a contingent of soldiers and Indian guides climbed up the mountain face reaching what is now known as the Lodwick Point.

Starting with Sir John Malcolm in 1828, a succession of them from Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone, Arthur Malet (for whom the seat at "Point Arthur" is named), Carnac, Frere and many others became regular visitors.

Present day Mahabaleshwar came into existence in the year 1829-30. In old records it is mentioned as Malcolm Peth, but in practise today it is known as Mahabaleshwar.

Added to the scores of magnificent scenic "points", the perennial springs, streams, and waterfalls of Mahabaleshwar plateau, with its year round superb climate, drew the English and others to Mahabaleshwar like honey bees to sweet nectar. By the end of the 19th century it had become an attractive popular hill station of world renown.

Raj Bhavan, the Summer residence of the Governor of Maharashtra, is also located here.

"Babington House", a magnificent colonial-style bungalow built in the shape of a cross with a deep varanda, elaborate metal work railing and extensive outhouses is considered Mahableshwar's most beautiful country house.


It was formerly one of the principal country seats of the Dubash family, a Parsi ship chandler dynasty from Bombay who sold it to the Rahejas in the early 1970s. It contains a central dining room with a 24-seater table and a lovely library pavilion with 1st edition books collected by the Dubash family, notably Jamsetjee "Jimmy" Kavasjee Dubash, a great bibliophil and art collector.

 

 

 

Mahabaleshwar Monuments :


Pratapgad Fort: Pratapgadh is truly a place to visit and remember the heroic deeds of Shivaji Maharaj. As Pratapgadh is very close to Mahabaleshwar, it is always crowded. The 45 minutes journey is wonderful. Pratapgad Fort which is 24 kms, away is a place worth visiting. It was built by Shivaji in 1656. The height of the fort is almost 3500 feet. It was built to control the rebellious Satraps of the surrounding Javali Basin. Legend has it that Shivaji was blessed with a shining sword at the temple of Goddess Bhawani here. It was the site of the famous battle between the Maratha chieftain Chhatrapati Shivaji and Afzal Khan, the commander of the Bijapur Sultanate.

 

 

Pratapgad History: The Maratha king Shivaji Maharaj commissioned Moropant Trimbak Pingle, his prime minister, to undertake the construction of this fort in order to defend the banks of the Nira and the Koyna rivers, and to defend the Par pass. It was completed in 1656.

The Battle of Pratapgarh between Shivaji and Afzal Khan was fought below the rampants of this fort on November 10, 1659. This was the first major test of the fledgling kingdom's army, and set the stage of the establishment of the Maratha empire.

Pratapgad continued to be involved in regional politics. Sakharam Bapu, a well-known minister of Pune, was confined by his rival Nana Phadnis in Pratapgad in 1778. He was later moved from fort to fort until he finally died at Raigad. In 1796, Nana Phadnis, while escaping from the intrigues of Daulatrao Shinde and his minister Baloba, assembled a strong garrison in Pratapgad before heading to Mahad.

In 1818, as part of the Third Anglo-Maratha War, Pratapgad surrendered by private negotiation. This was a great loss to the Maratha forces, as Pratapgad was an important stronghold, had a large garrison, and could suppress much of the country round Wai.

A 17-foot high equestrian bronze statue of Shivaji was unveiled by Jawaharlal Nehru, then Prime Minister of India, on the 30th of November 1957, the same year a road was constructed by the Public Works Department from Kumbhrosi village up to fort. A guest house and a national park were built inside the fort in 1960.

The fort is currently owned by Uday Raje Bhosale, the heir of the Satara princely state.

 

Kamalgad Fort : The square hill fort of Kamalgad in mahabaleshwar covers a flat area of 3-4 acres. The fort is surrounded by steep rock and can only be reached by perilously scaling this rock. Although it’s believed that The Kamalgadh fort was build during the Marathas as the other forts in the area were administered by a mokasadar from Bijapur. Early documents written now are in defunct Modi script of the Marathi language refers to the fort as ‘Kattalgad’. A detailed study of these documents is underway. In April 1818, Kamalgad surrendered after resistance to a British detachment commanded by a Major Thatcher. Under the British, it was used to execute prisoners of war.

 
 

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