Saturday 25 June 2011

The history of Kutch

The history of Kutch is very old. Traces of the Indus valley civilization (3000 to 1500 B.C.) have been discovered at Dholavira – Kutch. When Alexandra the Great reached these parts in 325 BC Rann was not an arm of the sea. The eastern branch of the Indus emptied itself into the Rann which made it into a fresh water lake.
The Mauryan empire broke of the Gujrat Kutch and Sindh passed under the rules of Greeks from Bactria in 140-120 BC. Bactrian rule over Gujrat, Kathiawad and Kutch was ended by Sakas in the 1st Century and ruled upto the 3rd century. After that Samudragupta attacked the Sakas and ended their rule.

At the end of the sixth century, the great conqueror king  Sahiras of Sindu found Kutch and easy conquest. A Chinese traveller’s evidence shows that Buddhism was in fact declining and Jainism was gaining ground in
Kathiawad and Sindh.

At the end of the seventh century the Arabs conquered Sindh.Samma Rajputs of the hindu clan settled in Kutch. Some of the chiefs also settled in Sindh and were allowed by the Arabs to be independent rulers there. In the early ninth century the chief of that clan was Lakho Ghuraro, who had two wives.
After the death of Lakho Ghuraro his eldest son Unnad succeeded, but Unnad’s step brother Mod and Manai plotted against him and killed him. Later on Mod and Manai conspired to kill their uncle Vagam Chavda and declared themselves the kings of the area. That time Patgadh was under the rule of seven brothers of the Sandh tribe "Seven Sandhs", who threatened to avenge the murder of Vagam. Later on Mod and Manai killed the seven sandhs and became the masters of the city and of its dependant territories.
 At that time Dharan Vaghela was a ruler of these areas. Mod made friendship with him and he got his son Sad married to Dharan’s sister. Mod and Manai’s death in the ninth century weakened Sad’s position. Dharan killed Sad and wanted to kill Ful, Sad’s six month old son, but he was saved.

When Ful grew up he challenged his maternal grand father Dharan Vaghela to combat. Dharan Vaghela by now an elderly man preferred to make peace by giving one of his daughters to Ful in marriage. But Ful never forgot that Dharan had murdered his father.
After a few years, Ful killed Dharan. Hearing this, Ful’s wife committed suicide. She was then pregnant and her unborn infant was brought out alive from her dead body. He was named Ghao (born of the wound). After this incident Ful changed his capital to Angorgadh, near Habai. He married his second wife Sonal from the Rabari tribe who gave birth to a son Lakho in 920 A.D.

Lakho Fulani was a powerful king. He was very famous in Kutch and Gujrat. He shifted his capital to Kera and built a fort. He died fighting on his friend Grahripu’s side at Atkot near Rajkot.

 After Lakho Fulani’s death his nephew Jam Punvaro succeeded to the throne without opposition. He built a fort called Padhargadh near Nakhatrana. However he was so cruel that the people hated him. Punvaro was killed by the Jakhs. After Punvaro’s death the Solankis and Chavdas ruled over Kutch.
     In the middle of the 12th century a Samma prince named Lakho decided to seek his fortune in the Rann of Kutch. This Lakho had been adopted by a childless Samma chief named Jadeja. Lakho arrived in Kutch in 1147 with his twin brother Lakhiar. By then the Chavda power had decayed and they built themselves a new capital Lakhiarwara, about 20 miles from the ruins of Padhargadh.
After Lakho’s death Rato Raydhan came to the throne. Some Jat tribesmen who had come to Kutch before Lakho Lakhiar gave him trouble. With support of the saint Garibnath Rato Raydhan successfully subdued the Jats and made gifts of the Land of the Dhinodhar monastery to Garibnath.
After the death of Raydhan in 1215 his territories were divided between his four sons. Deda, the eldest one was given Kanthkot, Odha the second son remained ruling Lakhiarwara, Gajan was given Bara and the fourth one Hothi was given twelve villages near Punadi.

In 1510 Rao Khengarji I descended from the old line of Odha assumed power with the full approval of the Ahmedabad Sultan and took on the title of "Rao". For the next 438 years Kutch was ruled by the Jadeja dynasty till its merger with the Indian Union in 1948.

Lal Kila History

       In the central part of the Lal Kila fort is Nauba Khana (Drum House) where musicians of the emperor used to play for the royal household. The arrival of the princes and the royal family is also heralded from here. Mogul architecture can be seen inside the fort here.

      Other attractions in the fort complex include:
Rang Mahal (Palace of Colours) which is a lotus-shaped fountain made out of a single piece of marble and was used as living quarters for emperor's wives and mistresses.

Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque): Built by Aurangzeb.

Shahi Burj : Shah Jahan's private working area.

Diwan-I-Am (Hall of Public Audience): The hall where emperor used to sit and hear the complaints of common folks.
Sheesh Mahal and Khas Mahal are also special attractions in the fort complex.

Every year on August 15th, the day of Indian Independence, the Prime Minister of India would address the nation from the Red Fort.

Another attraction of the Red Fort (Lal Killa) is the Sound and Light Show which is a 62 minute audio visual spectacular showcasing the history of Delhi and that of the fort.

Tourists as well as locals usually come to this place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life and enjoy an evening in the serene atmosphere of the plush green lawns inside the walls of the fort.
Nearest Metro station for Lal Kila is Chandni Chowk
Visiting Hours: 9:30AM to 4:30PM daily (except Monday)
Entry Fee: Rs.10/-(For Indian Citizens) and Rs.150/- (For foreigners)
Entry Fee for Sound and Light Show: Rs.50/-

Timings of Sound and Light Show:
     November-January: 7:30PM
     January-April: 8:30PM
     May-August: 9PM
     September-October: 8:30PM

Taj Mahal History

              The Taj Mahal of Agra is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, for reasons more than just looking magnificent. It's the history of Taj Mahal that adds a soul to its magnificence: a soul that is filled with love, loss, remorse, and love again. Because if it was not for love, the world would have been robbed of a fine example upon which people base their relationships. An example of how deeply a man loved his wife, that even after she remained but a memory, he made sure that this memory would never fade away. This man was the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who was head-over-heels in love with Mumtaz Mahal, his dear wife. She was a Muslim Persian princess (her name Arjumand Banu Begum before marriage) and he was the son of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir and grandson of Akbar the Great. It was at the age of 14 that he met Mumtaz and fell in love with her. Five years later in the year 1612, they got married.
            Mumtaz Mahal, an inseparable companion of Shah Jahan, died in 1631, while giving birth to their 14th child. It was in the memory of his beloved wife that Shah Jahan built a magnificent monument as a tribute to her, which we today know as the "Taj Mahal". The construction of Taj Mahal started in the year 1631. Masons, stonecutters, inlayers, carvers, painters, calligraphers, dome-builders and other artisans were requisitioned from the whole of the empire and also from Central Asia and Iran, and it took approximately 22 years to build what we see today. An epitome of love, it made use of the services of 22,000 laborers and 1,000 elephants. The monument was built entirely out of white marble, which was brought in from all over India and central Asia. After an expenditure of approximately 32 million rupees (approx US $68000), Taj Mahal was finally completed in the year 1653.
           It was soon after the completion of Taj Mahal that Shah Jahan was deposed by his own son Aurangzeb and was put under house arrest at nearby Agra Fort. Shah Jahan, himself also, lies entombed in this mausoleum along with his wife. Moving further down the history, it was at the end of the 19th century that British Viceroy Lord Curzon ordered a sweeping restoration project, which was completed in 1908, as a measure to restore what was lost during the Indian rebellion of 1857: Taj being blemished by British soldiers and government officials who also deprived the monument of its immaculate beauty by chiseling out precious stones and lapis lazuli from its walls. Also, the British style lawns that we see today adding on to the beauty of Taj were remodeled around the same time. Despite prevailing controversies, past and present threats from Indo-Pak war and environmental pollution, this epitome of love continuous to shine and attract people from all over the world.