Category Archives: Proud to be an Indian

24 Oct

The Ruins of Belapur Fort

cbd belapur fort

Belapur Fort is a fort near the township of Belapur in Navi Mumbai (New Bombay), Maharashtra, India. The fort was built by the Siddis of Janjira. In 1733, the Marathas wrested control of the Belapur Fort from the Portuguese.  After the victory, the fort was renamed as Belapur Fort. In the early 19th century, the fort was captured by the British. After the British gained supremacy in the region, with the expansion of the Bombay Presidency, the strategic importance of the fort declined, and it fell into disuse.

navi-mumbai-municipal-corporation

Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation building

Once there were three watchtowers related to fort in the area. One watch tower is located opposite to Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation building. It is fully restored like a modern building and tower  is surrounded by a small garden. It’s hidden by vegetation even it’s locating next to a busy traffic junction. Fort is in ruined condition, but the traffic junction remains the name, Killa junction.  Killa means, Fort in Marathi language.

watchtower-near-navi-mumbai-municipal-corporation

Old Watchtower opposite to Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation building

Ruins under vegetation

Ruins under vegetation

belapur fort watch tower

Inside Watchtower near Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation

Second watch tower was a part of fort,  which is located inside the ruins of fort. We will get a clear view of Panvel Creek from the top of the watch tower. Once this creek area was an important place of sea route trading. And this watch tower was helpful for preventing  attack from sea. That was the actual reason behind the fort.  Nothing is remaining there, except the partially destroyed  watch tower and foundation of fort under the vegetation.

cidco guest house road

cidco guest house road

belapur fort surrounding by a small forest

Third watch tower was located in an abandoned place near by creek and nothing is remaining now.

History :

Fort was built in 1560–1570 by the Siddis, after they took control of the area from the Portuguese. It is located atop a hillock, near the mouth of the Panvel Creek. In 1682, the fort was recaptured by the Portuguese, who had managed to annex the regions controlled by the Siddis, near Belapur (at that time known as Shabaz).

The ruins of belapur fort and watchtower

The ruins of belapur fort and watchtower

In 1733, the Marathas, led by Chimnaji Appa, wrested control of the fort from the Portuguese. He had made a vow that if it were to be successfully recaptured from the Portuguese, he would place a garland of beli leaves in a nearby Amruthaishwar temple, and after the victory, the fort was named as Belapur Fort. The Marathas ruled the area until 23rd June 1817, when it was captured by Captain Charles Gray of the British East India Company. The British partially destroyed the fort under their policy of razing any Maratha stronghold in the area.

Top of Belapur fort

Top of Belapur fort

During its active days, the fort stationed four companies each of 180 men and 14 guns ranging from 4-12 pounds (2-5 kg) in weight. An underground tunnel is also supposed to exist, which many locals believe that it connects to Gharapuri Island, the site of the Elephanta Caves.

Inside the cbd belapur fort

Inside view of Belapur fort’s watch tower

Present :

The remaining parts of the fort are situated on the top of a small hill near panvel creek and CIDCO guest house.  Ruins are under vegetation. The fort is surrounded by several residential complexes. So it’s little difficulty to find out the fort and watchtower. There is narrow walk way to reach the fort and you have to find the way through bushes. CIDCO’s plans are underway to renovate the fort which is in danger of being lost to encroachments.

Panvel creek

Panvel creek

How to reach :

10 min walkable distance from Belapur – Uran road in between Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation building and Panvel creek.

Reference:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belapur_Fort
 

17 Feb

Freedom 251 – World’s Cheapest Smartphone from India

freedom_251

Indian company Ringing bells has launched digital India’s most ambitious project, freedom 251 as a part of Make in India. This phone is India’s cheapest smartphone (251 INR or $4), might be the cheapest smartphone in the world.

‘Freedom 251’ launch is in line with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for “empowering India to the last person, transforming India’s growth story”.

cheapest smartphone in the world

How To Buy or Book Freedom 251 Smartphone at 251 INR or $4 :-

Company started a dedicated website for Freedom 251. Bookings started from February 18, 6:00am onwards, and the window will remain open up to February 21, 8:00pm. The company has also said that it will complete all deliveries before June 30. Click here for Freedom 251 Smartphone Booking page – Buy at your own risk.

freedom251

Freedom 251 Smartphone Specifications :-

  • Price is the main thing, 251 INR (4 USD)
  • 4″ WVGA IPS Display
  • 1.3Ghz Quadcore Processor
  • 1GB / 8GB memory
  • 3.2 / 0.3 Camera
  • 1450 mAh Battery
  • Dual Sim
  • 3G
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 1 year warranty
  • 650+ Service centres

How is the Freedom 251 is so cheap?

We will not get a branded smartphone battery in this price. We don’t know, how they are selling for 251 INR. Might be the central government is giving some subsidy as a project of Make in India. If you have any query, you can contact them from this link http://freedom251.com/contact_us

28 Jun

Elephanta Caves – The ancient cave city of lord Shiva

shiva thrimurthi elephanta cave

Three-headed (Trimurti) sculpture of the Lord Mahadeva

Elephanta (Gharapuri – the city of caves) is one of an island in Arabian sea, about 10 kilometres to the east of the Metropolis city of Mumbai (the commercial capital of India). The ancient cave city of lord Shiva is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. All caves are carved from single stone – in between 5th A.D and 8th A.D. Gharapuri was the old name of the island. There was a single stone elephant sculpture in the entrance of the island, when Portuguese navigators came to this island, hence the new name Elephanta was derived. Presently, the elephant statue is housed at Jijamata Garden in Mumbai.

Elephant statue of Elephanta island at Jijamata Garden

Elephant statue of Elephanta island at Jijamata Garden

History:

Ancient history of Elephanta caves is a mystery. The Elephanta caves are “of unknown date and attribution”. The date of the caves is different according to different Archaeology specialists. There were some inscriptions about the ancient cave city of lord Shiva, which is missing since Portuguese ruling.  Different dynasties ruled this island, the Konkan Mauryas, Chalukyas of Badami, Rashtrakutas, Kalyani Chalukyas, Yadavas of Deogiri, Gujarat Sultanate, Portuguese, Marathas and Britain. Once it was the capital city of Konkan Mauryas and there was a major port from 2nd B.C. The Kailashnath temple at Ellora and Badami caves has many similarities to Elephanta caves. The Kailashnath temple at Ellora was built by Rashtrakutas and Badami caves built by Chalukyas of Badami. Rashtrakutas were strongly influenced by Lord Shiva,hence contributed for these caves.

Elephanta cave 1 in 1972 and 2015

There are two groups of caves in Elephanta Island. All caves were painted (fresco painting) in the past, now only traces are visible.1st group contains five caves and 2nd group contains two caves. All caves are carved from solid basalt rock, like caves at Ellora and Ajantha. Brahmanical worship had happened, until Portuguese rule began in 1534. They used this island as a watchtower and installed cannons, targeted to see from the top of a hill. There are two British-era cannons at the top. Portuguese army did shooting practice hence there is maximum damage to all sculptures in the caves except Trimurti sculpture in cave 1. Hinduism was declining on Elephanta Island under Portuguese rule. All caves were abandoned and were under vegetation from 16th AD to 20th AD. The annual festival of Shiva – Maha Shivaratri only survived to this day.

Charles II of England married daughter of King John IV of Portugal. Portuguese left the island  in 1661, since Mumbai which included elephanta island was a part of the dowry.

Nataraja Cosmic dancer

Nataraja – The Cosmic Dancer

1st cave (Great Cave) is a brilliant example of glorious ancient Hindu civilization. World famous for its carving techniques. There are many forms of Lord Shiva in 1st cave. On the south wall of 1st cave, there is an unforgettable three-headed (Trimurti) sculpture of the Lord Mahadeva, representing three essential functions: Aghora (the destroyer – most powerful in the universe) on left side, Vamadeva (master of joy and beauty) on right side and Tatpurusha (preserver of positive and negative principles of existence) in the center. Famous sculptures of Elephanta caves are Trimurti, Ravana shaking the Kailash (same sculpture like cave 16, Kailashnath Temple, Ellora), Shiva-Parvati on Kailash, Ardhanarishvara (half men and half woman), Kalyanasundara (Wedding of Shiva), Shiva Linga, Nataraja (The Cosmic Dancer), Yogishvara (Master of Yoga)and Kartikeya and Ganesha.

Ardhanarishvara (half men and half woman)

Ardhanarishvara (half man and half woman)

Cave 2, 3, 4 and 5 are broken, small and unfinished. Cave 6 and 7 are located in the eastern side of the island. These Buddhist caves are hidden from visitors. Cave 6 and 7 need more excavation. Cave 6 was converted into a church by Portuguese during their ruling of Elephanta Island.

Elephanta cave 5

Ruins of Elephanta cave 5

Presently, ASI and UNESCO are doing maintenance of the caves properly. The Underwater Archaeology Wing of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered remains of bricks from which houses were built, stonewalls, Roman Amphoras (pots used to transport a variety of things like olive, dry fruits and spices), coins and broken parts of vessels from shores of elephanta island. Even the sand on the shore, at the north and the east of the Mora bundar, is full of small potsherds. The Roman artefacts date backs to the 4th to 6th centuries. This discovery shows that Elephanta Island was a major port and was trading with the late Roman Empire. Locals believe there was an underground tunnel from Belapur fort to Elephanta Island.

Interior of Elephanta cave 1 in 1880 and 2015

People:
There are 1000+ populations living in 3 villages in Elephanta Island, namely Shent bundar, Mora bundar and Raj bundar. Local’s earning mainly depends on cave’s tourism.

How to Reach:

The island is easily accessible by ferry from Mumbai City. Typically every 20 minutes a boat leaves from Gateway of India to Elephanta Island. Ferry Cost is Rs.130/person (Return ticket). It will take 1 hour for one side traveling. 30 min walkable distance from Elephanta Island boat jetty to the caves.

Ferry timings:
Gateway to Elephanta: 9 am – 2 pm
Elephanta to Gateway: 12 noon – 5:30 pm

Elephanta island view from boat

Elephanta island – a view from boat

Quick Facts:

Country: India
State: Maharashtra
District: Raigad
Coordinates: 18.96 N 72.93 E
Local languages: Hindi and Marathi
Best Time to Visit: September to March
Closed on:  Monday
Nearest Airport: Mumbai Airport

Reference:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephanta_Caves
http://asi.nic.in/asi_underw_fieldwork.asp
http://www.oldindianphotos.in

20 Dec

Chhatrapati Shivaji The Legend

shivaji-maharaj

One of the most able administrators and ruler in India was undoubtedly Chhatrapati Shivaji. He was the founder of the Maratha Empire in India. With his flawless warrior skills and unlimited courage. Shivaji is to India what Napolean was to Europe.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj born in Shivner on 10th April, 1627. Since childhood, Shivaji was brave and never feared anything. There are many instances in his childhood that show he was a born ruler.At the age of 16, he took a pledge to establish a sovereign Hindu kingdom.

He founded the Hindu kingdom in the Deccan against all odds, fighting against the mighty Mughals. He inspired and united the common man to fight against the tyranny of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb, by inculcating a sense of pride and nationality in them.

He raised a strong army and navy, constructed and repaired forts, used gureilla warfare tactics,developed a strong intelligence network,gave equal treatment to the people from all religions and castes based on merit, and functioned like a seasoned Statesman and General. He appointed ministers with specific functions such as Internal security,Foreign affairs,Finance,Law and Justice,Religious matters,Defence etc.

He introduced systems in revenue collection and warned the officials against harassment of subjects.He thought ahead of times and was a true visionary.In his private life, his moral virtues were exceptionally high.His thoughts and deeds were inspired by the teachings of his mother Jijabai, his teachers, great saints like Dnyaneshwar & Tukaram and the valiancy and ideals of the Lords Rama and Krishna.

The tiny kingdom established by Chhatrapati Shivaji known as “Hindavi Swaraja” (Sovereign Hindu state) grew and spread beyond Attock in Northwest India (now in Pakistan)and beyond Cuttack in East India in course of time, to become the strongest power in India. After the death of Chhatrapati Shivaji & his son Sambhaji, their prime ministers or ‘the Peshwas’ became the defacto rulers. The Peshwas and the Maratha Sardars (Chieftans) like Shindes of Gwalior, Gaekwads of Baroda & Holkars of Indore contributed to the growth of the Maratha Confederacy.

Chhatrapati_Shivaji_Raje_Bhosale

The biography of Shivaji Maharaj has an answer for any problem faced by a Hindu or Indian politicians; however for this purpose the biography should be read with shrewdness and insight.

The history of India is incomplete without the history of Marathas and Shivaji is the nucleus of Maratha history. Shivaji has been a source of inspiration and pride to the past generations and will continue to inspire generations in future. We salute this legend and humbly dedicate this article to him. Please read and share the legendary life of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, before his upcoming Birth Anniversary!.

Quotes

” Shivaji was the greatest Hindu king that India had produced within the last thousand years; one who was the very incarnation of lord Siva, about whom prophecies were given out long before he was born; and his advent was eagerly expected by all the great souls and saints of Maharashtra as the deliverer of the Hindus from the hands of the Mlecchas, and as one who succeeded in the reestablishment of Dharma which had been trampled underfoot by the depredations of the devastating hordes of the Moghals.”

Swami Vivekananda

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shivaji

http://www.hindujagruti.org/hinduism/national-icons/shivaji-maharaj/

 

20 Nov

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan – The Lion of Mumbai 26 11

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Ashok Kamte, Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar, Arun Jadhav, Constable Ombale and many others. You were Heroes.. We shall never forget what you did for us till our last…. Salute to the lions!!!

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan was a Major in the Indian Army serving in the elite Special Action Group of the National Security Guards (NSG). He was killed in action while fighting terrorists in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. His bravery was honoured with the Ashoka Chakra, India’s highest peace time gallantry award, on 26 January 2009.

“Do not come up, I will handle them”, were the last words which Major Unnikrishnan told his men as he was hit by bullets while engaging well armed terrorists inside the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower during Operation Black Tornado, according to NSG officials.

Later, NSG sources clarified that when a Guardsman got injured during the operation, Major Unnikrishnan arranged for his evacuation and started chasing the terrorists himself. The terrorists escaped to another floor of the hotel and during the chase Major Unnikrishnan was seriously injured and succumbed to his injuries.

Operation Black Tornado ( Mumbai 26/11 )

On the night of 26 Nov 2008, several iconic buildings in South Mumbai were attacked by terrorists. One of the buildings where the terrorists held people hostage was the 100-year old Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Major Unnikrishnan was the team commander of 51 SAG deployed in the operation at the Taj Mahal Hotel to rid the building of terrorists and rescue the hostages. He entered the hotel in a group of 10 commandos and reached the sixth floor through the staircase. As the team descended the stairs, they sensed the terrorists on the third floor. The terrorists had held a few women as hostages in a room and locked it from the inside. After breaking open the door, the round of fire by the terrorists hit Commando Sunil Yadav, who was Major Unnikrishnan’s partner.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishan led his team from the front and engaged the terrorists in a fierce gunfight. He arranged for Commando Sunil Yadav’s evacuation and regardless of personal safety, chased the terrorists who, meanwhile, escaped to another floor of the hotel, and while doing so Major Sandeep continuously engaged them. In the encounter that followed, he was shot from the back, seriously injured and succumbed to injuries.

At Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s funeral, mourners shouted “Long Live Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan”, “Sandeep Unnikrishnan Amar Rahee”. Thousands lined up outside the Bangalore house of the NSG Commando Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan as thousands lined up to pay their respects. The funeral of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan was held with full military honours.

“My son became a hero. I am proud of him, but I didn’t want to lose him ever. Sandeep laid down his life for the country’s safety. But I don’t know whether the country has become safer today. I feel that more people should join the army,” says his Father.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishna,

You will always stay alive in our hearts..
We are breathing peace today because you sacrificed your yesterday..
We are forever grateful. And our salute to your parents, who nurtured the adoration for the motherland, in you..
Still many indian’s remembering you.
I am only a member of this unit.
Ajmal kasab needs a brutal behavior that can do justice to our soldiers like you! Ajmal Kasab should be hanged without delay. Your sacrifice for our motherland had encouraged many of like me to die for our Nation..
We realy proud of you Sir.. Jai Hind !!

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandeep_Unnikrishnan