Maratha Artillery

२८ जुलै १७८७, लालसोटचा रणसंग्राम

मराठे आणि राजपुतांच्यामध्ये झालेल्या लालसोट च्या चित्तथरारक लढाईचा परामर्श. महादजींनी आपली मनाची स्थिरता अजिबात ढळू न देता, संयम दाखवत मराठयांना सुखरूप परत कसे आणले, त्याची चित्तवेधक कहाणी. …

‘वज्रादपि कठोरानि, मृदुनि कुसुमादपि’

मित्रानो, आज आपण महादजी शिंदे यांच्या जीवनाचा एक आगळावेगळा पैलू उलगडून पाहणार आहोत. महादजी शिंदे यांनी आयुष्यभर हातात तलवार धरली आणि लढाया केल्या हे सर्वास ठाऊक आहेच. परंतु ज्या हातात त्यांनी तलवार धरली त्याच हातात नित्यनियमाने स्मरणी सुद्धा धरली व सवड मिळेल तेव्हा त्याच हातात लेखणी सुद्धा धरली. …

Narsimha at Halebeedu

Narsimha- The most ferocious Vishnu

Hiranyakhsa, a demon, who kidnapped the earth, got killed by Varaha, the incarnation of Vishnu. He had a brother named Hiranyakashyapu. After learning about his brother’s death, he went to the jungle and offered penance for thousands of years to Lord Brahma to get revenge. Impressed by his devotion, Lord Brahma appeared in front of him and asked him for a boon.   Hiranyakashyapu exclaimed, Lord Brahma, if you want to give me something, please offer me something I really seek. The cause of my death should not be the thing dry, wet, the water, the fire, the wood, the insect, reptile, the stone, the air, any of the weapon, the mountain, by the men, the gods, monsters, the Gandharvas or the daemons, the dinners, the monkey or any animal in the world. It should not be through any of the Matruganas like Durga, etc. My death should neither occur inside the house nor outside. Nor should it be during the day or night and even more, altogether the means for the death generated by you should not be the cause of my death, o gracious god, I ask the same from you. After receiving these powers from Brahma, unavoidable things about to happen. The monster, after acquiring mysterious boons, started abusing his powers. Deamon King Hiranyakashipu took over all the three worlds, driving the sages and hermits away from heaven.  Hungry for some more power juice, Hiranyakashipu decided to gain some more boon from Brahma. He went towards mount Kailasa and, under a tree, started worshipping Brahma again. Seeing this, already agitated gods came running to Brahma, requesting him not to grant the Demon any more powers. Son of Brahma, an imp of a sage Narad muni, assured deities that Hiranyakashipu won’t get additional boons from Lord Brahma. He and…

Varaha at Halebeedu

Varaha – The Celestial Boar

The Beginnings This is one of those stories that are older than ancient times when the earth was just being created. Brahma had four sons naming Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana, and Sanatkumara, roaming around in three worlds. Once, they decided to pray to Lord Vishnu and hence, reached the gates of Vaikuntha where Lord Vishnu was residing. Jay and Vijay, beloved doorkeepers of the Vaikuth considered them just ordinary four boys and by insulting them, chased those four away. Offended by the treatment, the Sanakadi brothers exclaimed – “You both have been engulfed in Rajas and Tamasi Gunas (superior and dark virtues). You do not deserve to be near Lord Vishnu. Demon life will better suit you.” Saying, that, they curse both Jay and Vijay to be demons. Realizing the mistake, both doorkeepers apologized immediately to the sages. After calming down, sages accepted the mercy petition and reduced their sentence to three lives. And for each life, Vishnu will liberate them from their sins. Hence, in their first life, Jay – Vijay born as Hiranyaksh and Hiranyakashipu. Next, they were born as Ravan and Kumbhakarna in Treta Yug, and for third life, they were liberated by Krishna, in the form of Shishupala and Dantavakra in Dwapar Yug.   King Daksha Prajapati, had three daughters. One was Sati, who married Mahadev, and the other two were Diti and Aditi. One of the legendary Sapta Rishi, Sage Kashyap married both Diti and Aditi. Aditi gave birth to Gods Surya and Agni. Diti, was pregnant, and after carrying her child for hundred years in her womb, Hiranyaksha was born, and with him, the Demon race began.  Hiranyaksh, grown to become a mighty demon. He went and performed penance for thousands of years to Brahma and Brahma granted him unlimited powers. Brahma also said that he…

Jalakateswara Temple, Vellore

Palar is one of the important rivers in Southern India, flowing from the hills of Yelagiri, meeting the Bay of Bengal at Kalpakkam. The ancient town of Vellore is located on the banks of this river. Vellore has been blessed with a very rich history indeed. Many empires such as Vijaynagara, Bijapur Sultanate, Marathas, Mughals, and British ruled here, playing their parts in history. No wonder, these dynasties impacted Vellore deeply. Each old building standing as of today narrates this history. One of those constructions is the Jalakanteshwara temple. 1556 AD. It was the toughest time for the Vijaynagara empire. Due to an unrecoverable loss at the battle of Talikota, the Vijaynagara empire has lost its favorite city of Hampi, and now they were forced to retreat deep into their southern territory. Vijaynagara kings took the help of local Nayakas, or the chieftains ruling the smaller areas of Tamil Nadu, and continued their battle with the green forces. One of those Nayakas was Chinna Bommy Reddy, a subordinate chieftain of Vijaynagara King Sadasiva Raya. In 1566, just one year after the devastating blow of the Talokota battle, he constructed a brilliant fort of Vellore, surrounded by the deep trenches with thousands of hungry crocodiles lurking around in waters. The Myth  In the vast area of the fort, in one corner, there was a giant anthill, which was surrounded by stagnant water. Chinna had a dream, where Lord Shiva appeared in front of him and ordered him to build the temple on the location of that giant anthill. The next day, when Chinna Bommy Nayaka went to the location, he saw a Shiva Lingam right in the middle of that anthill. Immediately, he started building a temple around that anthill, today, we know as Jalakanteshwara. Jalakanteshwara is a Tamil word, translating…

Sajira fortification

Fort Sajira, Tamil Nadu

Dakshin Digvijay of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj:On an auspicious day of Dasra, dating 6th October 1676, Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj marched out of the Raigad Fort, accompanied by 25000-foot soldiers and a cavalry of 40000, with his legendary Sword Bhavani, pointed towards Southern India. Reaching to Adilshahi region, he divided his army, giving one part to his Chieftain Hambir Rao Mohite, who attacked Adilshahi. After few days, out of nowhere, Chhatrapati Shivaji emerged near Bhaganagar with half of the Army and crossing the Adilshahi region in between. Till this date, no one knows, nor is a documented evidence for how exactly he traveled with so many men without being noticed. Staying for one month in Bhaganagar, enjoying the hospitality of Kutubshaha, he made a deal with Kutubshaha concerning the distribution of the area to win over. Kutubshaha helped him with his most advanced artillery support along with four thousand foot soldiers and one thousand strong cavalries. Just like a hot knife cutting through butter, this invincible army started winning over the southern region, winning the most impregnable fortress in India – the fort of Ginji. After winning over Ginji, this army surrounded the legendary fortress of Vellore. Krushnaji Anant Sabhasad was a contemporary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, working in the Maratha courts, who has written detailed accounts on the life of Chhatrapati Shivaji. While writing on the siege of Vellore, he writes, ‘there is no other fort like the Vellore on this entire earth. A treacherous trench of overflowing water surrounds it. The water is unfathomable and contains more than then thousand crocodiles. The core of the fort has been protected with four layers of thick fortified walls. Outermost fortification is so wide, that two carts side by side, can easily go along on that wall.’ Ramachandra Neelkanth Bawadekar, also known as…