SHRIVARDHAN FORT History

Srivardhan (Srivardhan taluka; p. 10,299, RS. Khopoli, 63 m. NE) about twelve miles south of Janjira, an ancient place of historical importance is mentioned as being visited by Arjuna Pandav in his pilgrimage, is well placed for trade and in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries under Ahmadnagar and afterwards under Bijapur was a port of consequence. It appears in the accounts of leading European travellers as Ziffardan. In 1538 Dom Joao de Castro described it as with little water in the pier at low tide but inside large and roomy. [Primeiro Roteiro da Costa da India, 47.] It or rather Haresvar about three miles to the south, is notable as the birth-place of Balaji Visvanath, the first Pesva (1713-1720) who was the desmukh of the town. In 1713 Srivardhan was one of the sixteen fortified places in the Konkan ceded by Balaji Visvanath Pesva to Kanhoji Ahgre of Kolaba. [Grant Duff’s Marathas Vol. I, 328.] Srivardhan has still a considerable trade which in 1959-60 was of the value of Rs. 15,66,555, of which Rs. 15,07,827 were imports, and Rs. 58,728 were exports. The trade consists chiefly of betelnuts which are highly valued in Bombay and coconuts to a certain extent. On Caitra full-moon (April-May) a yearly fair is held in honour of Bahiri when about 12,000 persons attend it, and articles valued at about Rs. 3,000 are sold.

A Pesve memorial was built on the same place where once stood the Pesve Mansion. The new construction is proposed to house a kindergarten, a gymnasium, a ladies’ club and a big hall. The important temples in the town are-Somjaldevi, Jeevanesvar and Narayandev. It is believed that a person with a snake-bite is cured if taken to the Somjai temple. The Jeevanesvar temple is built in Hemadpanti style. Members of the Pesve family used to visit Narayandev temple which is near the Pesve memorial.

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