RAJPURI

Rajpuri [Invariably, all ports of Konkan which had fairly good trade in the past are silted today to such an extent that the waters at the shore are too shallow to admit vessels of any size within a distance of 100 yards. This necessitates ferry service from the shore, to the point where the steamers are anchored. These boats, worked with oars, and carrying passengers and cargo to the steamers, involve much inconvenience besides extra charges in transporting goods> in various stages. Much of the goods are for this reason sent by roads though their development in and around Murud and Shrivardhan is yet to take place.] (Murud Peta; 18° 15′ N, 72°55′ E; p. 1,288, RS. Khopoli,42 m. NE.) previously called Danda-Rajpuri on the south shore of the Rajpuri creek near its mouth and about a mile to the east from the island fort of Janjira is the birth of the famous Balaji Avaji Citnis whose father Avajl was the Diwan of the Sidis of Janjira. Though it has now only 1,288 people, has, at different times in the history of the Konkan, been a place of consequence. Vincent and Lassen have identified Raj puri with Ptolemy’s (A. D. 155) Balepatna, and the Palaipatnai of the Periplus (A. D. 247). But the important trade centre of Mahad on the Savitri in Kolaba, with the large group of early Buddhist caves in the Pale hill closeby, seems a more likely identification [Vincent’s Commerce of the Ancients, II. 431; Lassen’s Ind. Alt. III. 183.]. Puri, which was the capital of the Konkan Silaharas from A. D. 810 to A. D. 1260, has by some been supposed to be Rajpuri. But Rajpuri has no ancient remains and seems to be too far south for the capital of the northern Silaharas. The position of Puri is doubtful. The Mora landing or bandar on the north-east corner of Gharapuri or Elephanta is perhaps the most likely indentification according to Jervis. But this is doubtful, as Rajpuri was the head of a district at the beginning of the fourteenth century [ Jervis’ Konkan, 81.]. The first certain reference is towards the close of the fifteenth century, when, in 1490, after a long siege, the town was reduced by Malik Ahmad, the founder of the Nizam Shahi dynasty [Ahmadnagarchi Nizamshahi, Kunte PP. 10-11.]. So long as Ahmadnagar power lasted Rajpuri remained a place of considerable trade. In 1514 Barbosa notices it under the name of Banda or Danda [ Stanley’s Barbosa, 71.], and about the same time the Gujarat histories mention it as a place of trade and the head of one of the twenty divisions of the Gujarat dominions [. Bird’s Gujarat, III and 129.]. In 1538 Dom Joao de Castro calls Danda a great and noble river with a town of the same name hid among palms and brushwood. The entrance had four fathoms at low tide. Inside were two islands one of them strengthened by a fort [. Primeiro Roteiro da Costa da India, 48, 163, 167.]. In 1608 it was spoken of as a rich trading town [ Kerr’s Voyages, VIII. 308.], and in 1659, it, or rather the island of Janjira, was recommended by the Presidency of Surat along with Bombay and Versova as places naturally strong which could be fortified and made a safe retreat for the Company’s servants and property [ Bruce’s Annals, I. 548.]. In 1670 it was noticed by Ogilby. During the next twenty years it was the scene of the unceasing struggles between the Marathas and the Sidis. About 1700 the traveller Hamilton described it as a town of the Sidis who had generally a fleet of Moghal vessels and an army of 30,000 to 40,000 men. It was a good harbour, supported a large number of black cattle, and supplied Bombay with meat when on good terms and with fish when otherwise [ Hamilton’s New Account, I. 244. ]. About 1780, under the name of Khande Rajpuri is entered in Marathi records as yielding a revenue of £947 (Rs. 9.470) [ Waring’s Marathas, 239.] Since the rise of Bombay the trade of the town has died away. In 1881-82 was valued at.£2.190 (Rs. 21,900), of which £99 (Rs. 990) were imports and £2,091 (Rs. 20,910) were exports.

In the vicinity of Rajapuri is the old historical fortified place of Khokari, now deserted. In it could still be seen a few old Muslim Dargahs of prepossessing architecture.

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