Vasai


Vasai

Infobox Indian Jurisdiction
native_name = Vasai | type = city | latd = 19.47 | longd = 72.8
locator_position = right | state_name = Maharashtra
district = Thane
leader_title =
leader_name =
altitude = 11
population_as_of =
population_total = 2913243| population_density =
area_magnitude= sq. km
area_total = 6693
area_telephone = (91)250
postal_code =
vehicle_code_range =
sex_ratio =
unlocode =
website =
footnotes =

Vasai or Bassein is a historical place near Mumbai, Maharashtra.

History

Vasai is a unique place of religious harmony. Vasai was under Portuguese rule for a long periodand Vasai culture has a significant Portuguese influence.

Vasai or Shurparak had 5 rivers. Two of them embark Shurparak’s limits namely Vairarini in North and Ulhas in South. These formed Vaitarna Creek and Ulhas or Vasai Creek respectively. While the small rivers named “Pandu Nadi”, “ Preta Nadi” and “Gaarudi Nadi” which ran from the Tungar Hills met the Sea through the land of Shurparak forming the Bolinj Creek, Sopara Creek and Vagholi Creek. All of these creeks are now getting dried off. Bajipur the original name of Vasai as it appears in Padma Purana, which was later restored during the rule of Peshwas (so many mistake Bajipur to be named after Peshwa Bajirav). The Harivansha Purana’s Vishnu Parva Chapter 39, Verse 28, and Chapter 40, Verse 39, mentions “Shurparak” to be a city 500 bows broad and 500 arrows in length (Note: Bows and Arrows were the earlier Hindu Units of Breadth and Length). According to Buddhist monks, in one of his former births Gautama Buddha was Bodhisat Supparak, that is Bodhisattva of Shurparaka (Sopara). The Yadava Kosha also mentions “Shurparaka” as one of the chief places in Aparanta. The eighth edict of Ashoka shows that Shurparaka was the capital of Aparanta. In the Stone Inscriptions the name “Vasai” appears in the Kanheri Cave writings and as "Vasya" in the Karla Cave Inscriptions. Vasai is mentioned as “Bussy” in Ain-I-Akbari Ch. II-66, of Abu Fazal . It is called “Baxay” in Barbosa Pg. No. 68.Finally, after Indian independence it was renamed as Vasai. Sopara had maritime links which has been attested even by Masudi, Ibn Haukal and Al Beruni between 9th and 11th century.

People from various faiths and countries used to come to Bharat for higher studies in Philosophy, Medicine, Astronomy, Engineering, Music, Art etc. Thus they used to visit “Surparaks” too, which was once a great center of Indian Wisdom. Thus we find mention of “Surparak” in Bible too where many persons mentioned in Old Testament came to acquire knowledge and information. Thus, Sopara is referred in the Old Testament as Ophir, the place from which King Solomon brought gold; 1 Kings 9:28, 10:11. Cf. Psalms 45:9, Isaiah 13:12. Josephus identifies Ophir with Aurea Chersonesus, belonging to India (Antiquities 8:6:4). Septuagint translates Ophir as Sophia, which is Coptic for India. This refers to the ancient city of Soupara or Ouppara on the western coast of India.

Vasai was the seat of the various political powers namely Guhashayas, Mauryas, Sudhanva, Guptas, Satvahanas, Shilahaaras, Yadavs, Moghul, Portuguese, Marathas, British, Union of India (Since 1947 called Free India). Vasai boomed as a seat of knowledge where students and scholars from as far as Europe came to learn and also propagate their philosophy. It was trade center for spices, grains, sugar, and the ship building industry. The salubrious climate and the burgeoning profits saw many wealthy merchants in the Buddhist rule and "fidalgos"in the Portuguese rule ; blue blooded Portuguese nobles resided here in lavish villas. It later became the town where the Portuguese aristocracy sent their illegitimate sons rather than exhibit their illegitimate offspring. The floor of St Francis Church is paved with the graves of the Portuguese nobility along with their royal insignia.

Vasai has always been the largest contributor of scholars for the Vedic Religion, Jain-Buddhist sects and priests to the Bombay Archdiocese. This place is a place known for the one of the four famous sarovars, Nirmal Sarovar of Vedic religion, called Mahasmashan during times of Lord Parashurama, it was one of the 84 Gacchas of Jains, it was the centre of learning for the Maitreya Buddhist sect, the sacred place with 3 tombs each of 5th, 7th and 38th Jagadguru Shankaracharyas namely Vidyaranya Swami, Padmanabha Tirtha Swami, and Narayan Upendra Swami. The diocese has also contributed India's only Catholic saint St. Gonsalo Garcia.

Chronological Order Of Vasai's History

The important events in the recorded history of Vasai (other than the religious manuscripts is as follows.)• Around 3000 B.C. – Pandavas visit Shurparak (Sopara) on their way to Prabhas, they halted at a place where a well was built centuries ago, now this is located in place called Pandav Vihir at Chulne Gaon. • Around 2000 B.C. – Utkala (ancient Orissa) Naresh Guhashaya of Chandra i.e. Somavanshi Kshatriya clan ruled Shurparak. • Around 1700 B.C. – Shripaala charita chapter III mentions, King Mahaasena rules Sopara and his daughter Tilaksundari married King Shripaala. During this period Sopara’s Buddhist Stupa (Burud Raja’s Mound) and the present hillock of Nirmal Church was considered as one of the 84 gachchas of the Jain Sect. Here debated used to be held on the banks of Nirmal sarovar among the scholars from the Gacchas and Vedic Scholars attached to the Vilameshwar temple established by Lord Parashuraama. Suppara Jataka, believed to be of 6th century B.C., talks of Sopara as a prosperous port trading with ports of Southwest Asia, Gujarat, Malabar and Sri Lanka, its experts (navigation pilots- bodhisattvas), and the seas that they voyaged across.

• Around 1500 B.C. – Here was the prevalence of Vedic Dharma and people used to worship Shiva, Varuna, Kubera, Shakra, Brahma, Hari, Shankara and various mataas that is devis. The considered Asuras, Mahoragas, Yakshas and Danavas with evil poswers. Burud Raja, a great Dharmic raja rules Sopara.

• Around 1472 B.C. – Rule of Ashok Maurya starts. During the Mauryan dynasty empire, communication between central and Northern India was established through trade routes. Two main trade routes connected Maharashtra with North India. One such route linked Sopara to Ujjain via Nasik, Pitalkhora, Ajanta and Maheshwar. The clue to trade routes is provided by the location of early rock-cut caves situated along ancient roads. Thus, the road from Sopara, the coastal route to Kolhapur ran through Kalyan, Mahad, Khed and Karad. During his period Yavana Dharmarakshita, the Aparanta missionary came and preached contemporary religious principles in Shurparak. Purna, the son of a rich sopara merchant by a slave girl, whose worth and skill raised him to be one of the leading merchants of Sopara turned most of the people of Kunkana 9now called Konkan) into Buddhism, and here the Burud Raja’s Kot was turned into Bauddha Vihara.

• Around 800 B.C. – Daamaniya and Mahaarashtrika kings rule Shurparaka.

• Around 700 B.C. – 690 B.C. – Shurparak was ruled by Samrat Kuber, the by his son Samrat Bindusar.

• Around 540 B.C. – About 540 B.C. that is about 50 years before the advent of Adi Shankaracharya in Shurparak, this famous port town was visited by Emperor Vijaya of Cylone. There he made huge grants to the Buddhist Monks

• 530 B.C. – Samrat Sudhanva rules Bharata Varsha. Sudhanva had a sun and a moon crescent along with a Holy Pot on his every edict.

Shankaracharya Samadhi at Nirmal

• 527 B.C. – Adi Shankaracharya, the greatest Acharya or Cardinal religious leader of Hindus, arrives in Shurparak on Kartik Shukla Trayodashi enroute from Gokarna to Saurashtra. Stays at Vimaleshwar Mandir, whereas Sureshwaracharya , His disciple stays on other banks of Vimala Sarovar where he establishes the Shivalingam wins over the debate with Jains. On victory Adi Shankaracharya names the Shivalinga as “Sureshwar” and establishes a moorti of Saraswati (Ubhaya Bharati) and names it Sureshwari.Adi Shankaracharya along with shishyas and the defeated Jains (who come back to their original vedic fold at their will after knowing the futility of Jain Philosophy), take a Holy bath at Vimala Sarovar on the Poornima Day and performs the Kartika Swami Pooja at night with the Deepotsava. The whole of Shurparaka enjoys this festival and till date this ritual of Deepotsava to commemorate the Debate Victory of Jagadguru Shankaracharya over Jain Sect.

• 495 B.C. – Shurparak was ruled by son of Samrat Sudhanva, Samrat Veerdhanva, and the succeeded by Samrat Jayadhanva during whose reign the famous mythology of Jeevdhan happened. Later during the rule of Jayadhanva’s son Samrat Veer Sinh, it was handed to Ahoka Gupta of Magadha.

• 400 B.C. – Magadha king Ashoka Gupta’s rule starts in most of the Bharat varsha, hence Shurparak too goes under his regime.

• 422 B.C. – Ashoka Gupta’s son Jalauk travels through the length and breadth of Bharat along with his Rajaguru, the 5th Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Vidyaranya, untiringly traveled to defeat Jains and Buddhists in the philosophical debates and established Hindu Vedic Dharma on firm footing. During His visit to Shurparak after defeating Jain and Buddhists scholars from Shurparak, Kanheri and other places , attains Samadhi on Kartik Krishna Tryayodashi B.C.404 at Vimaleshwar Mandir.His Samadhi is located in the Vimaleshwar Mandir. Some Kashmiri Pandits visit Swami Vidyaranya here at Shurparak requesting him to ask Jalauk raja to build a mandir in Shri Nagar where Adya Shankaracharya defeated the Kashmiri Shaivas. Here King Jalauk was ordered to build a Mandir in Srinagar (Kashmir) at the site where Adi Shankaracharya stayed for some time. Jalauk obeys the orders of Swami Vidyaranya. These Brahmin families settled in Shurparak to serve Swami Vidyaranya. Even today their descendent families stay in Sopara.

• 373 B.C. – 7th Jagadguru Shankaracharya Padmanaabha Yirtha Swami during His visit to Shurparak attain Samadhi at a hillock near to Vimaleshwar Mandir. This was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1550s but the fragments of the original Samadhi were preserved by the local people near Shankaracharya Mandir. • Around 225 B.C. – Rule of Ashoka Gupta of Kalinga and Magadha. This has been mentioned in the 8th and 9th rock edict of Ashoka. During this era Vasai had 18 Gates, 64 Yoginis (jeevdani being one of them), Kshetrapaala Mandir (now located at Brahman Ali Papdi), as per the ancient “Nagara Rachana Shastra”.

• 228 B.C. – 198 B.C. – King Krishna Saatavahan rules Shurparak later hands over his empire’s rule of North Konkan to his son Ugradev. Saatavahan Kings continue the symbol of Sudhanva Samrat in their edict viz. a sun a moon crescent and a holy pot. This symbol shows the followance of the then Jagadguru Sankaracharya’s orders showing unity among Somavansha and Surya Vansha Kshatriyas. Ugradev Raja reconstructs the Vasai fort.

• 200 B.C. – King Ugradev rules Sopara.

• 56 B.C. – Samrat Vikramadatya, the Great of Ujjain obtains Shurparak and obtains one of the Panchadands. During his period to the rajya of Shurparak remains under the hands of Saatavanah Kings, loyal to Samrat Vikramaditya. Their names Simruk, Krishna, Shatakarni Purnotsanga , Skandasthambi, etc.

• Around 10-50 A.D – Kshatrap Ushavadatta (also called Ushavadaat) , son of Kshatrap Nahapaan ruled Shurparak and builds large Dharmashalaas and Anna Chhatras. He was very religious and very kind.

• Around 50 A.D. – Jivdatta (Jivdaat), son of Ushavadatta too was very religious like Ushavadatta. He then becomes king of Shurparak. Jain ascetics from Gujarat wanted this generous king to follow their fold for their monetary benefit. Thus appoint Vajrasen for this task.

• 60 A.D. – 80 A.D. – Jain preacher Vajrasen converts four sons of Jivadatta into Jain Sect. Thuys these four sons become the founders of the four families, that is Kuls hence their descendants are called “Chaukalsis”.

• Around 90 A.D. – Gautamiputra Shatakarni establishes his rule over the western strip of India including Shurpaaraka.His silver coin is also seen in the Sopara Mound, revealing that his coins were in usage in Sopara.

• Around 120 A.D. – Satavahan ruler Rishabha Datta ruled this region which finds its mention in the edict at the 10th cave in Nashik. During the same period 38th Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Shivananda Saraswati establishes a Parishad of Vaidik Sanyasis at place called Nangol in Shurparaka (Sopara).Here the Sanyasis and Sadhus of the Charaka order lived near Rahatirtha, presently called Ramkunda at Sopara.

• Around 160 A.D. – Gotamiputra Yajnashri Shatakarni ruled Shurparak and thus the north Konkan by defeating the Nahapan kings and reestablishing the yajnya culture from vedic dharma. His rule marked the crest jewel in the history of Satavahan kings. His rule saw skillful masons, coppersmiths and goldsmiths. The present hamlets of the “Kasar and Sonar people” in Sopara belong to this period. Renovates the Vasai Fort.

• 280 A.D. – Ramachandradev Yadav of the Somavanshi Yadav Clan start rule in Shurparak. Now the Yadav rule starts and last till 1071 A.D. for around 9 centuries.

• 300 A.D. – 400 A.D. – Nala Dynasty and Maurya Dynasty rules Shurparak for some period.

• Around 400 A.D. – 500 A.D. – Shurparak goes into the hands of Trikutaka Empire. During this period three Trikutaka rajas ruled Shurparaka successively viz. Indradatta, Dahrasen and Vyaghrasen.

• Around 850 A.D. – Dridhaprahaara Yadav rules.

• Around 900 A.D. – Seunachandra (I) Yadav and then Dvaadiyappa Yadav rules.

• Around 916 A.D. – Bhillam (I) Yadav rules. Here starts relationship with the Shilaahaara Kings, with the marriage of Bhillam Yadav with Lashtiyavva the daughter of King Shilahaara Jhanjha.

• Around 1017 A.D. – King Aarakeswar Shilahaar rules Shurparak.

• Around 1030 A.D. – 1069 A.D. – Yadav Seunachandra (II) of Somvanshi clan ruled Shurparak including Vasai. His raajaguru was Sarvadevaachaarya. On his commands Bimba Yadav rules Shurparak. Here the name of village “Chincholi” appears. “Sonaarbhat”, a colony of skilled Sonar’s (goldsmiths) find first mention in this period.

• 1072 A.D. – Rule of Shri Haripaala Shilahaara. A great Religious congregration of Vedic Religion was conducted at Shurparak and various scholars from different parts of Bharat Varsha (Undivided Hindustan) were honoured and many of them were requested to stay at Shurparak. Sri Haripaala Shilahaara donates a fruit orchid at village Ranjali to great scholar Vishnu Upadhyay who was a Kanyakubja Brahmin. He was such a great scholar that in 1059 A.D. a donation of 10 Drammas (the currency of Eastern India) was donated to Him for his nobel activities like running Veda Patha Shala. The Mahapradhan Ahamalladev donates the revenue of Ane Wadi to a scholar Brahmadeva Deva Bhatta. During this eccassion Vasudev Padwal, Mahapradhan Padmashiva Raul, and Pradhan Vasugi Nayak were present.

Here we find the name of Vattaaraka modern day name Vatar. Here during the religious congregration various lands were donated by Raja Haripaala to many Brahmins of various branches, thus the 12 villages around this Vattaraka were given to Brahman Scholars many of them Rigvedi, Yajurvedi, Saamavedi and Atharvavedis. But these Brahmins later during the crises went away in the Vatodara region and Nasik region only to leave behind some of their traces which later faced conversions from Portuguese and intercaste marriages and inter gotra marriages with the local Kshatriyas, Agris and Koli clans. Thus during the Portuguese all this region was depleted with pure Brahmin society.

• Around 1138 A.D. – King Pratap Bimba Chalukya, brother of Govardhan Bimba raids Shurparak from northern side of Vaitarana. Captures Shurparak and remakes the old city of Mahikavati i.e. Kelve Mahim. His empire extends from Daman to Valukeshwar (Walkeshwar).

• Around 1148 A.D. – Pratap Bimba Chalukya dies in 1147 A.D., Mahi Bimba ascends to throne of Mahikavati (Mahim).Taking advantage of new power, Krupal Shilahaara captures back Shurparak, but his boundaries remain limited to Shurparak, i.e. from North coast of river Ulhas to the southern bank of famous Vaitarni River.

• 1138 A.D. – 1185 A.D. – A round this period Sopara becomes epicenter of various political activities with this famous city going into hands of many rulers during this short time period*

• Around 1160 A.D. – Aparaditya Shilahaara attacks Sopara and arrests Mahi Bimba from Pratap Bimba’s family and keeps him in the prison of Sashti. According to the treaty Mahi Bimba leaves claim from Daman to Dahisar and hands over this land to Aparaditya Shilahaara. Pratap Bimba (II), son of Mahi Bimba now establishes new Mahim in Mumbai and rules there till 1267 A.D.

• Around 1161 A.D. – King Mallikarjuna Chandra Dev rules Vasai. His colleagues being Prabhakara Nayak, Paadhi Anant, Devshiv Rajguru and Shaivaite Temple Priest Bhopa Dharmashiva and Avajha Upadhyay Laakhnak. Here it should be noted that all the above names belong to Eastern India. The name Mallikaarjuna is very common in the Rajmahendri (Rajmundri) district of Andhra. The surnames Nayak, Paadhi, Raajguru, Bhopa, Avajha Upadhyay all are the names very common even now in Orissa. All these names are taken from the inscribed stone obtained from Sopara and now kept safely in Royal Asiatic Society Mumbai. Here we get the mention of three names of places in old Shurparak namely “Shilaarvaavak”,”Padhaalasak”, “Katkhadi”.General Ambud, a Somavanshi Kshatriya from Gujarat, from Anhilvaad, whose lineage runs back to orissa somavanshis, tried to attack Mallikarjun Shilahaar and for this settles near Dahanuka river (Dahanu).At the same time Mohamedeans attack Anhilvaad and thus the somavanshi sena stays near Dahanuka .They help Yadavs to conquer North Konkan and defeat Shilahaaras. In return Yadavs accommodate these Somavanshi kshatriyas in Dahanu.

• Around 1161 A.D. – 1195 A.D. – Aparaditya Shilaahaara rules Vasai. He was called “Maharaajaadhiraaja Konkana Chakravarti”.Here during this times we find names of villages “Saatuli” (Now Sativli), “Nandui” and name of Brahmin named Vedaanggraasi. Shilaaharas rule Shurparak. Ambassador of Shilahaar King Aparaditya, named “Tejakantha” defeats the scholars of other faiths in a grand debate organized at Shurparak and then Aparaditya had honour of sending the Shurparak delegate Tejkantha to literary conference at Shardi in Kashmir for further proving his scholarship. There a mention of his visit to Shankaracharya Hill in Srinagar to receive blessings are found in the Kashmiri records. There he visits the relatives of Kashmiri Brahmins at Sri Nagar whose relatives were settled at Vasai. Even today the Brahmins of Vasai with surname Pandit who are locals, claim themselves to be descendants of Kashmiri Brahmins.

• 1195 A.D. – 1232 A.D. – Keshiraaja Shilahaara rules Sopara. He was also called “Maharaajaadhiraaja Konkana Chakravarti”. During his rule, his feudal Raja Anurodha ruled Shurparak. During this period a great saga of Bimbadev Rana starts at Shurparak. Bimbadev Rana, was the illustrious son of Kanauj Vidyapur’s King Shankardev Rana and Devi Mankoji Bai. After Shankardev, the step brother of Bimbadev named Mahipaal Rana ascends the throne by backing of the Mohamedeans, though Bimbadev was original heir of Shankardev. Thus Mankojbai leaves Kannauj with her son Bimbadev Rana, gets help from her brother Hedurao and King of Sorat Ankush Rana (whose nation was also facing Mohamedean wrath). All these came to Devgiri to meet illustrious Ramdevraya. Seeing the valour of Bimbadev Rana, Ramdev hands over the kingdom of Paithan to Bimbadev as his feudal. Bimbadev acquires fame for his able administrative skills. But at the same time, an innocent Brahman was killed by Ramdevrao. This act was condemned by the regional Kings. Even Bimbadev Rana who had highest regard for the meritorious Brahmins now refused to remain as feud of such a King. In such a religious dilemma now Ramdevrav got some support from the “Patane Prabhu” community and some “Palshi Clan”, and using the support of these people he continued his kingdom. Seeing this, Bimbadev Rana preferred to leave Paithan and ascend towards Konkana and defeated King Anurodha, feud of Shilahaar on the place of confluence of River Vaitarana and Sindhu Sagara. During this campaign Raja Bimbadev Rana got support from the old Gujarati Somavanshi Kshatriya friends of Hedurav and Raja Ankush Rana, who had settled in Sopara about a century ago. After this campaign, Bimbadev donated 66 villages to his 66 Sardars and this was none other than the “Sasti” island. He honoured the Brahmins here and felicitated Somvanshi heads namely Thakur, Raut, Chaudhari, Mahapatra (Mhatre), Save (Saave) and Gharat. He also honours and released orders in 1204 A.D. that the somavansha kshatriyas are eligible to use “Chattra Sinhasana and 5 Kalashas”. Thus since 1204 A.D. these Somavanshi Kshatriya clan (Both from Orissa Somavanshi clan who had settled in Shurparak in 280 A.D. and Gujarati Somavanshi clan) come to be known as “Panchkalshis”. But his kingdom does not last long, after his death Shilahaaras took over Shurparak.

• 1233 A.D. – Rule of Ramachandra Dev Shilahaar starts. The head of Konkan was I (Vi)shwar Dev and head of Shurparak Pranta was Kanher Dev, who was born by the grace of Kanher Dev Shiv Mandir located in Krishnagiri (Kanheri) Caves.

• 1255 A.D. – Rule of Jetugi Dev Shilahaar Konkana Chakravarti starts. His ministers were Shri Udayiprabhu, Maayi Naayaka (from Orissa), Daada Prabhu, Jasami Naayaka (From Orissa). A great astrologer of International fame named Shri Khidev (from Orissa) resided in Nivayi Garden in Sandor, Vasai during these times. During this period a Raajapatha (Royal Road) was built in Sopara passing through Nirmal. Here at Sandor the Shilahaara Kings renovated the Revatirtha Mahadev and installed a Nandi there. This place is now called “Relbav”.

• 1290 A.D. – Rule of Yadavs of Somavanshi Clan of Eastern India, thus they carry in their names the title “Chandra Dev”. King Iyarandev and later King Naarandev rule Shurparak for a short time.

• 1294 A.D. – Bhimdev Yadav starts rule over Shurparak and Mahikavati. He established Suryavanshis and Sesha Vanshis in Mahim and Shurparak. Bhimdev also brought Agales (i.e. Agris) from Mungi Paithan in Paithan District on banks of Godavari, who work as Patharvat (Road Makers), Mithagre (Working on Salt Pans). In Portuguese rule Agaris were forced to work as sanitary cleaners by Portuguese. Agris are considered to be clan originating from a Kshatriya Prince Yayati and his maid servant (dasi) Aagalika. Bhimdev Yadav gave a new look to the city of Shurparak. The city comes to a new repute from the educational and cultural point of view. Bhimdev Raja invited 101st Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Sukhabodha Tirtha to Shurparak around 1296 A.D. and requested a dharmic justice to purify Anhilvaad Somvanshis assisting them to take Prayashchitta about the abhakshya bhakshana (about eating flesh of horse) during the war with the Mumbai Somvanshis and Mohamedeans.

• 1350 A.D. – Internal conflict starts between descendants of Bhimdev and Seshvanshi’s. The Somavanshis of Anhilvad assist Seshavanshis and defeat Yadav dynasty. Survanshis flee to Sashti and Chaul. Now Shurparak goes into hands of Seshvanshis with only three clans of kshatriyas left namely Anhilvaad (now called vaadval) Somavanshi Kshatriyas, Seshavanshi Kshatriyas and Chaukalshi Kshatriyas.

• 1394 A.D. – 1414 A.D. – Rule of Natharao Sinda Bhedari- Bhongle from Sheshavanshi Kshatriya Clan. He was the first king to build the Vasai Fort. Vasai was called Bajipur in the Puranic Records. (Bajipur is original name of Vasai, as mentioned in Padma Purana, but people mistake it to be named after Bajirav Peshwa.

• 1414 A.D. – 1507 A.D. – The political crisis reign the Shurparak and Mahikavati with clashes between Somavanshis, who now called themselves Paanch Kalshis and Seshavanshis. Thus Shurparak becomes very weak politically. This period was most tragic for India since, during this period, the west coast of India had practically no ruler at all, and this news spread out as far as Europe. Now European empires sent off their voyagers to discover the possibility of rule in India. At the same time, Mohammedeans prepare themselves to take advantage of this weak rule.

• 1507 A.D. – 1530 A.D. - Moghuls from Gujarat continuously raid Vasai under leadership of Mahmud Begada, and ultimately in 1513 A.D. Mirat-I-Ahmadi mentions the hold of Mahmud Begada till 1517 A.D. Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat and foe of Humayun, hold Vasai since 1517 A.D. and start heavy destructions between 1513 – 1530 of Stone Temples of Hindus and Burud Raja’s Palace, destroy stone lined “Tirtha Sthalas “Lakes and reservoirs. Now Bahadur Shah from Gujrat had complete hold over Vasai. But his rule was considered as the rule of pirates by Portuguese and the local kings. Now the town was called Baxay. It was filled with the men of Bahadur which comprised of Moors (Muslims of mixed Arab and Berber descent). (Ref. Jordanus’ Mirabilia Pg. 23). These pirates started merchandise exchange and started great movement of shipping from Malabar laden with arecas, cocoa and spices, which were later, sent along Red Sea.

• 1526 A.D. – Portuguese establish the first factory.

• 1529 A.D. – Hector-de-Sylveria attacks Ali Shah - burns and plunders Vasai. Religious Conversions start under guidance of hoary Franciscan missionary Fr.Antonio-de-Porto.

• 1532 A.D. – Governor of Diu Malik Tokan of Bahadur Shah re-fortifies Vasai. Establishes 15000 Cavalry and Infantary.

• 1533 A.D. – Portuguese General Nuno-da-Cunha along with Diogo-de-Sylveria and Manuel-de-Macedo bring 150 Ship – 4000 men (half Europeans, Half Goanese) and attack Vasai. Bahadur Shah cedes Vasai. Religious Conversions restart under guidance of hoary Franciscan missionary Fr.Antonio-de-Porto. Thus the rule of King of Portugal Joao III starts. It should be noted that he is that King of Portugal at whose request Inquisition formally started in Portugal.

• 1536 A.D. – Antonio Galvano opposes Moghul Attack on Vasai, lays foundation corner stone for the reconstruction of Bacaim Fort.

• 1537 A.D. – Antonio Galvano furiously pulls down certain Muslim Mosques and in their place builds Cathedral of St. Joseph. Portuguese empire seemed to favour the Franciscians. Though this continued till 1634 A.D., but due to the changes in the Papal intimacy towards Jesuits (famously called Troops of Pope), Portuguese empire had to allow them in Bassein too.

• 1539 A.D. – Muslims see this act as danger to Islam in this region and calls “Jehad” and pray to Moghul Emperor. Moghuls attack Bacaim, but the Portuguese valour thrashes them.

• 1542 A.D. – 1580 A.D. – Clergymen under guidance of fathers of Jesuit College start conversions of natives into Christianity by preaching’s and back supported by the brutal forced conversions of around 10000 natives by infantry led by Antonio Galvano. Basically Portuguese backed Franciscians. Immediately at the advent of Portuguese rule, the Jesuit missionary of zeal Francis Xavier from Spain, arrive in Vasai not once in 1544 A.D., and twice in 1548 A.D. and train the pastors for Evangelisation. Francis Xavier is famous for his quotation, “ Every time a new convert smashes his idol and destroys his temples, where he worshipped before conversions, my joy knew no bounds”. Soon the Portuguese stripped lake banks pulled down around 200 temples and used the stones in building Portuguese Churches, forts and houses, religious and state buildings whose ruins still remain in Bassein. About 1550 A.D. when the Jesuits appeared in full might, the power of the Franciscians was much reduced by dissensions and schisms.

• 1583 A.D. – Bacaim becomes full fledged trade centre with trade of rice, corn and timber for ship building. St. Joseph Cathredal construction completes, 5 Convents, 13 Churches, an orphanage (for the illegitimate children of the Portuguese ) and a hospital built in the city of Bacaim. Of which Dominican Church was built in the Fort under the invocation of Sam Goncalo. Jesuits intensify their evangelization movement to increase support against invaders of other faiths and to increase the number of Catholics as against Protestants, which were on rise in Europe. The methods adopted for conversions were numerous, which is clear from the “Monita Secreta” which reveal “Secret Instructions of the Jesuits”, which even show that they were involved in the various secret conspiracies like famous “Gunpowder Plot” in Europe. Jesuit way of missionary work is also revealed from the fact that in 1738, English rulers at Bombay have observed Jesuits to be hostile and treacherous.In Vasai, the various clever methods adopted for conversions were imperialism, oppression, inculturation, acculturation or deculturation, waving off tax named “Tethis” to all the converted natives. Torture of unconverted natives (Shamedis, Bhandaris & Kolis) which was VERY BRUTAL.

• 1587 A.D. – Conversion movement by Jesuits fathers supported by brutality implied by Portuguese rulers on the unconverted natives including Hindus,Musalmans and Parsis come to such a limit that the Europe shivers with reports of such brutality to the effect that King Philip II of Spain in 1587 A.D. feels pity of the status of natives in Bacain strongly opposes such misdeeds of religious institutions in support with Infantary.

• 1607 A.D. – Bacaim gets international acclaim to be place of Shipbuilding, place of export of building stone; (these stones are used to construct all Goanese Churches).

• 1603 A.D – 1612 A.D. – Portuguese start heavy persecutions upon unconverted natives that made many Hindus, Musalmans and Parsis leave their homes and live in the dominions of Shah Jahan. (Ref . Goez 1603 & New Account I.180)

• 1612 A.D. – Muslims besiege Bacaim but fail considerably.

• 1618 A.D. – Due to curse followed by such brutality, on May 15, 1618 morning 2 A.M. earthquake and diabolical storm destroys churches and dwellings of Jesuits, Augustinians and Franciscans. A succession of disastors fall heavily on Bacaim. Superior of the College Emanuel Acosta dies this night. Jesuit Fathers repent for their sins on native unconverted and pray in the church with groans. Sudhanva (520 B.C.) had a sun and a moon crescent along with a Holy Pot on his every edicts, which was maintained by all Hindu kings thereafter. This symbol continues in various various edicts found at Vasai as also some Portuguese churches and Hindu temples in Vasai continue to draw this symbol. This is a practice which is followed in no churches other than at Vasai. Portuguese accepted this demand at the request of native converts, who refused to part off with their Hindu customs, thus even today all the rituals and dress code of the native Christians remain the same as their original religion Hinduism. Even the native converts refuse to part off with their traditional caste, and hence call themselves as samvedi Christians, Bhandari, Koli and so on.They continued to wear their traditional dhoti, Kupari Laal Topi, nauvaar saadi of red or blue colour. Maintained their ornaments like Putala Haar, Lahaan Shiran, Vajrateek, Dole, Paashi Haar, Ketak and Gulaab Phule, Thushi, Sonyachi Kanthi and Kot, Duledi, Bormaal, Chude, Navale, Dandakade, Vaalaa, Gof, Toda, Mangal Sutra and all such soubhagya alankaara including green bangles. Only Portuguese refrained them from applying Kumkum to distinguish themselves from the native unconverts.

• 1618 A.D. – 1634 A.D. – Portuguese give conversions a slow down and start maintaining good relations with native unconverts to avoid conflicts, curses and thus grow their trade in rice, pulses, grains and cocoanuts. They allow 200 native Christians to stay within the walls of Bacaim along with better class of Christians. Though craftsmen and Hindus were not allowed to live within the walls. The Jesuit college gets reformed with fine library of commentaries, works on history and morals, increase hospitality and made public places of entertainment unnecessary. In mean time Marathas under Shivaji came to know of plight of unconverted natives of Bacaim and the ill treatment meant on converted natives by Portuguese. They keep close watch on Portuguese rule.

• 1665 A.D. – In August 1665 Christian Father Domieo Vierra Congratulate Moghuls on defeating Shivaji.

• 1674 A.D. – 600 Arab pirates from Muscat landed at Bacaim and plundered all churches outside of the walls and did cruel violence on native converts and unconverts. This marked the decay of Portuguese power. These Arabs settled in the now what is called as “Hathi Mohalla “ and later spread in Papdy. Seeing this as right opportunity, Shivaji recommends More Pandit to settle in Kalyan and forced Portuguese to pay one forth of Bacaims revenue.

• 1676 A.D. – Shivaji, the great Hindu Warrior cautiously advances near Bacaim and fortifies Saiwaan. He invested Bacaim , but the Surat Campaign leaves him witrh less time to conquer Bacaim.

• 1690 A.D. – Bacaim striken by pestilential plague continuing the Bacaim city along with Ahmedabad, Surat, Deccan and Bombain for seven to eight years. About two thirds of the city lost the life in this deadly disease. During this period Phadke of Aggassi renovated the Bhavani Shankara Mandir.

Shankaracharya Samadhi at Suleshwar, Nirmal

• 1693 A.D. – Jagadguru Shankaracharya Narayan Upendra Swami of Jyotish Peetham arrive in Vasai during his onward journey from Rameshwaram back to Jyotishpeetham. But due to the continuing plague, decides to stay in Nirmal to prevent his staff from the plague. Here he attains Samadhi. This is located in the open ground near “Sureshwar Mandir”.

• 1702 A.D. – The economic crises in London adversely affect the trade from Vasai.

• 1728 A.D. – Portuguese Officer sent from Goa observes that outposts, stockades, forts and grassion of Bacaim was in poor state with only unskilled and untaught and undrilled robber like soldiers left in the fort. Portuguese take strong steps to restructure the Bacaim’s administrative structure.

• 1737 A.D. – 38 A.D. – *1737 A.D. – 1738 A.D. – Knowing the continuing plight of the unconverted natives and ill behaviour of such robber like soldiers. Even the Britishers at Bombay were annoyed at the hostility and treachery of the Jesuits. Grabbing this opportunity to reestablish the Hindu religion in its original form, Marathas march towards Bacaim. They seize Arnala to drive out the Portguese. General Shankarji Pant informed Chimaji that Arnala fort is a strategic for the naval forces that were on route to attack the Portguese. Chimaji approved the assault on the fort. Shankarji Pant consulted and sought assistance of the local people to attack the Arnala fort; among them were Govindji Kasar and Gavraji Patil from Bolinj. Shankarji sent Gangaji Naik, Bajirao Belose and Rayajirao Surve to lead a battalion of 400 soldiers to lead the attack on Arnala fort. This attack was coordinated along with naval force commanded by Manaji Agre. Maratha navy was no match for the Portuguese firepower. Agre's navy was routed. On March 28, 1737 Maratha forces attacked the fort and surprised the Portuguese who were caught with their guard down. The Portuguese retreated and gave up the fort. The Maratha victory was commemorated with a plaque installed on the northern wall of the fort and is still visible today. The Maratha victory was commemorated with a plaque installed on the northern wall of the fort and is still visible today. Soon after the Maratha victory, Shankarji Pant began reconstruction of the fort. By January of 1738 three bastions were completed. The three bastions were named Bahirav, Bhavani and Bava. The construcation was completed by March of 1738. Later Marathas occupied Versova and Dharavi.

• 1739 A.D. – Seize of Bacaim begins on 17 th February 1739 under able leadership of Bajirav’s brother Chimnaji Aappa. Marathas exhibit besiegning force, skill, courage and perseverance and thus Portuguese lose their commander Sylveria-de-Menezes. But Portuguese Garrison defends with highest courage and constancy with hand grenades, musketry and mortars. Angre’s fleet plays and brave role and opn 16th May 1739 Marathas defeated Portuguese with might. Portuguese offered to capitulate, but requested to allow marching out with honours which Marathas accepted, as a mark of humane protocol to the defeated army. The loss of Portuguese was about 800, and that of Marathas was 5000 and 7000 injured. But Bacaim fell from Portuguese as a stately tree never to rise again.

• 1739 A.D. – Bacaim was named as Bajipur. To restore the Hindu Culture and resettle the unconverted natives from the tortures they incurred upon by the Portuguese Rule, Peshwas brought a flight of well trained, well learned Brahmans to purify the native converts willing to reconvert to their original Hindu fold and made them fit to take their place in their old castes. To the converts unwilling to come back to Hindu Fold or to those who were born out of Portuguese Peshwas left their Churches unhurt to enable them to follow their faith freely.

Chimnaji Appa restores the Nageshwar Mandir near Naga Kunda, Hanuman Mandir which existed in the Fort from the times of Bhongle Raja. And also revives the oldest Trivikram Mandir in Fort and Vamana Mandir of Aggasi said to have been established by Shri Vamadev Tirtha Swami in 388 B.C. Restored Bhavani Shankara Mandir of Aggasi, Papdy Kshetrapaleshwar Mandir which existed from time immemorial but renovated by Bhongle Raja and destroyed by Portuguese. Also rebuilt and restored Jagadguru Shankaracharya Mandir at Nirmal. Also reestablish the Padmanabha Tirtha Swami Samadhi Ruins on the outskirts which were destroyed by Portuguese. Shankarji Keshav , the Subhedaar of Vasai took lead in all these activities.

• 1767 A.D. – Dutch wished to establish the factory at Bassein.

• 1774 A.D. – The Bassein town was taken by British but was again restored to the Marathas. • 1780 A.D. – British led by Godrad attacked Vasai from 13th November to 10th December and acquired Vasai from the Marathas.

• 1783 A.D. – Under the treaty of Salbai (March 1782) Bassein was restored to Marathas. • 1802 A.D. – 31st December, the Treaty of Bassein was concluded. • 1817 A.D. – Bassein with the rest of North Konkan passed to British. British soon start establishing modern Catholic Churches including Our Blessed Lady of Mercy, Our Blessed Lady of Remedies, St. Michael the Archangel (Manickpur Church), Church of St. Thomas the Apostle at Sandor, Our Blessed Lady the Mother of God (Pali Church), Our Blessed Lady of Grace (Papdy Church)

• 1830 A.D. – British attempted to revive the industry in Bassein by starting the Sugar Factory, but the scheme failed from the death of Mr. Lingard the promoter.

• 1838 A.D. – Bassein almost became deserted with just a small population of fishermen, hunters, native converted and native unconverted ones. The population dropped down from 60499 in the beginning of 1802 A.D. to 10356 in 1881 A.D.

• 1852 A.D. – The ruined Portuguese Church of N.S.-da-Vida was converted by British to a sugar factory. But the factory was soon closed due to losses incurred because of poor administration.

• 1856 A.D. –Road was built connecting Bassein to Manickpur

(Umela).

• 1860 A.D. – The land of the fort was leased for thirty years to Major Littlewood, whose son cultaved the fields in the fort for some time. Franscian Church was closed by bastion of Sam Sebastian under the pressure of British and Mrs Littlewood.

• 1864 A.D. – Bassein Municipality was established. A new town beside Par Naka was established in the village of Malonde. The Bassein Municipality limit included Old Fort, Malonde, Dhauli, Sandore, Mulgaon and many gardens and fields between Bassein and Papdy.

• 1869 A.D. – Mamlatdaar Office gets established. • 1872 A.D. – Balwantrao Hari Naik Dispensary was estrablished in the house given byYashwantrav Balavantrav Naik.

• 1947 A.D. – British Rule Vasai. • 1947 A.D. – 2007 A.D. – Rule of Union Government of India rule Vasai from New Delhi by the democratically elected representatives.

Religion and Culture

Vasai has basically 12 communities:

*Brahmins
*Saraswats
*Palshi
*Kudal Deshkars
*Panamali (Somavanshi Kshatriya Samaj)
*Bhandari (Seshavanshi Kshatriya Samaj)
*Shamedi i.e. Kupari
*Sandori Christians
*Aagri
*Koli
*Chambhar

In all the above 11 communities half the population was converted to Christianity around 1570 A.D.

Panamali (Somavanshi Kshatriya Samaj)

VocabularyThe word "Somavanshi Kshatriya" means the 2 nd caste in the hierarchy of the Hindu Varna System."Soma" means "Moon" , thus these kshatriyas belong to the "Chandra Vansha" i.e. "'Moon Dynasty of Warriors".

Somavanshi Kshitriya Alias. Vadval/Pachkalshi/Panmali/Paan Bhandari:

Sopara and Mahim are said to be the land of confluence of the Somavanshi Kshatriya clan, one from Utkala and other from Gujarat and still other from Magadha and Mahishmati. The Somavanshis of Vasai & Palghar taluka have a unique history.

#The history of Somavanshis in Vasai date back to B.C.2000 to the rule of Utkal (now Orissa) Naresh Guhashaya. Raja Guhashaya ruled Shurparak during 2000 B.C. Since then Shurparak was the place ruled by able Kshatriyas of Somvansha.
#Later during 14 th century B.C. Somavanshis Maurya clan ruled Sopara , thus bringing in some Somvanshi Kshatriyas from Magadha Pradesha.
#Later the clan of Somavanshi Raja Sudhanva of Mahishmati and Laat ruled Sopara from B.C.600 to B.C.200. Thus some Somavanshi families from Mahishmati too came to Sopara.
#Later around 280 A.D. Ramachandradev Yadav of the Somavanshi Yadav Clan of Telangana start rule in Shurparak. Now the Yadav rule starts and lasts till 1071 A.D. for around 9 centuries. During this rule many Telangana Somavanshi Kshatriyas migrated to Sopara.
#Later around 1138 A.D., King Pratap Bimba Chalukya, brother of Govardhan Bimba, of the Somavanshi Kshatriya clan from Dekkhan raids Shurparak from northern side of Vaitarana. Captures Shurparak and remakes the old city of Mahikavati i.e. Kelve Mahim. Thus Somavanshi Kshatriyas from Dekkhan starts residing in Shurparaka (Sopara), but mainly in Mahim.
#Around 1161 A.D. Senapati Ambud, a Somavanshi Kshatriya from Gujarat, from Anhilvaad, whose lineage runs back to orissa somavanshis, tried to attack Mallikarjun Shilahaar and for this settles near Dahanuka river (Dahanu).At the same time Mohamedeans attack Anhilvaad and thus the somavanshi sena stays near Dahanuka, later called Vadval .They help Yadavs to conquer North Konkan and defeat Shilahaaras. In return Yadavs accommodate these Somavanshi kshatriyas in Dahanu.
#Raja Bimbadev Rana in 1204 A.D. gift the Simhasan and 5 Kalashis to the Somavanshi Kshatriyas of Sopara, Mahim and Dahanu as a mark of encouragement to Kshatriyas. But the Somavanshis of Sopara, who belonged to the royal clan of Samrat Sudhanva were only allowed to carry “Panchachattris” on their heads during marriage.

Thus Vasai carried Somavanshi Kshatriyas from Utkala, Magadha, Mahishmati, Dekkhan, and Anhilvad(Gujarat).Later all these Somavanshi Kshatriya clan got united and there started the marriages between the Somavanshis of Sopara, Mahim and Dahanu. Thus now all of them are called either Somavanshis , Vadval or Panchkalshis. All of them consider Jagadguru Shankaracharya as their traditional Guru and visit Nirmal often. They worship Goddess Bhuvaneshwari Mahalakshmi or Vajrabai (Vajreshwari) or Ekvira Devi or Mahikavati Mata as their Kulaswamini. Those who worship Bhuvaneshwari Mahalakshmi belong to the Somavanshi Clan of Utkala (Orissa). Those who worship Vajreshwari Mata belong to Magadha and Anhilvad. Those who worship Ekvira Mata are descendants of Dekkhan Somavanshis belonging to Devgiri or Mungi Paithan. Those who worship Mahikavati Mata are descendants of Mahishmati’s Somavanshis.

Normally the surnames of Somavanshis are Thakur, Raut, Chaudhari, Mahapatra (Mhatre), Save (Saave) and Gharatha. These are the six important families of Somavanshi Kshatriyas. Of these Thakurs were locatedin Mahim, Rauts in Bajipur, Chaudhari’s in Sopara, Mahapatra (Mhatre) in Nirmal region, and Saave in Kelva. Later some of these clans were segregated and were named as Vartak, Patil and those who went to Mumbai region were called Churi.

These Somavanshis , consult Brahmin Purohits during the marriage. This was according to the orders given to Kshatriya clan by Bimbadev Rana in Shake 1124. (See Bimbakhyana).After the consent of Brahmins the marriage process starts. During marriage the “Varaja” (Bridegroom) sits on a Sinhasana, made of wood. The size of Sinhasana was 3.5 ft*3.5. ft. The four sides of Sinhasana were decorated by 4 Kalshis or 4 Banana branches decorated with 4 green coconuts. Beside the “Varaja” a big Banana Trunk of height around 3 feet used to be kept and on it a Coconut figure made from Banana trunk was kept as 5th Kalasha. On this kalasha “6 Kamtyas” used to be kept as the mark of 6 Surnames, 6 Villages of Somavanshis and 6 faces of Brahmachari God Kartikeya. A dome (Ghumat) was made on the Sinhasana. Thus the “Naval” used to start for the Marriage procession. Somavanshis of Sopara used “Panchachattris” also. The bridegroom used to wear “Raanav Patta” (given by Bimbadev Rana), “Veer Kankan”,and “Todar” (ornament of Feet). The bride cladded with various customary ornaments like Putala Haar, Lahaan Shiran, Vajrateek, Dole, Paashi Haar, Ketak and Gulaab Phule, Thushi, Sonyachi Kanthi and Kot, Duledi, Bormaal, Chude, Navale, Dandakade, Vaalaa, Gof, Toda and would arrive in marriage tent seated on a well decorated bullock cart. After marriage the “Varaja” gives her Mangaal Sutra and all such soubhagya alankaara including green bangles and Kimkum (Pinjar).The “Mangalsutra” is traditionally made in Somvanshi community with a gold pendent woven in a Haldi Dhaga and embedded with “Moti” and “Pachu”. At the passage of times, when the Shurparak lost to the hands of Mohamedeans and later to Portuguese, such use of Sinhasanas were thought to be useless. People felt shame to use them since they felt themselves shy to use Sinhasans who were unable to defend their region from the foreign adharmic invaders. Thus only horse was used for bridegroom in coming times. Later at the advent of Peshwa rule , Peshwas promoted Somvanshis to use Sinhasanas and till 1926 A.D. Sinhasana was used for marriage. The last marriage when Sinhasana was used was of Panduranga Bhaurav Patil” whose descendants now reside in Dadar-Mumbai.

Now this community is engaged in business of flowers, agriculture and jobs in Mumbai region. Many Somvanshi women are employed as teachers in various BMC School and Zilla Parishad Schools. The present generation has acquired higher educational qualifications and are more and more of them are preferring jobs abroad.

The prominent people of this community include Padmashri Bhausaheb Vartak and the present politician Hitendra Thakur who has been consecutively been the MLA of Vasai Taluka since last 15 years. But his work has got the praise from wider areas, though there is hardly any crime which is not charged on him.

The present new trend in Somvanshi community is that , since they are called “Panmalis”, they have started acquiring OBC Reservation facilities of the Government. But the real history shows that they were not Backward classes nor they were Economically Backward. Some Somvanshis call this politico-selfish trend of acquiring Government reservations for Job and Studies as shame on the community name.

Thus Somavanshis were customarily and historically very nice and cultured.

Palshi

Palshi community consists of 7 Kul (Sapta Kul).They originally belong Sapta Sindhu Region of Kashmir, which is now called “Shardi” near Muzzafarabad in POK .These people are very honest, gentle and scholarly people with fair complexion, height and physical stature; typical of Kashmiris. King Bindusar brought them to Prathishthanpur around 700 B.C for 3 jobs. 1) Mooli, 2)Vali and 3)Pali.

1) “Mooli” means to recognize medicinal roots from forests and prepare medicines from them.

2) “Vali” means assisting and administrating various temples and Dharmashalas on behalf of Rajas.

3) “Pali” means organizing and coordinating people to perform various mega-yajnas and poojas. Administrating the goods required for the Pooja and Yadnya and make provisions for the presiding Brahmins.

Palshi’s are considered next in social importance after the Brahmins. They have high regard in the Bhandari, Panchkalshi and Shamedi families. In case these people find it difficult to get some officiating Brahmin priest for their religious ceremonies, they invite a member from Palshi family and perform the ceremony in his witness. These seven Kuls (Families) were brought to Shurparak to defend Bauddhists and Jains and restore the “Tirtha Kshetra” of Nirmal. These Palshis since then have contributed greatly for the development of Shurparak and thus Vasai. These people normally reside in Tarkhad, Nirmal, Vagholi and Sopara.

It is speciality of this community, that their valour was such great that none of their families converted themselves to Christianity as happened to Shamedis and Bhandaris. That's why these families enjoy high respect among Hindus of Vasai and Mahim. Every marriage ceremony of Panchkalshis and Shamedis are considered incomplete without the presence of Palshis. Shamedis and Panchkalshis find themselves unfortunate if a Palshi refuses to attend the ceremony.

The Vasai Agris reverted in 1820.The priest who purified and took them back was Ramchandra Baba Joshi, a Palshe headman. One Bhai Mukund Joshi, also a Palshe headman, succeeded Ramchandra. The name of the priest who admitted the Agris in 1828 (November 12) was Vithal Hari Naik , a Palshe gentleman of Vasai. Thus Palashi’s have a great role in saving the Hindu religion in Vasai.

Shamedi (Kupari)

The Shamedi (Mistakenly called as Samavedi by the Britishers)are an Indian community, originating from a group of classical musicians and dancers. They are Nayaks and Gayakas, believed to have been originated from Orissa, who live in 12 villages around the Nirmal Sarovar of Bassein (Vasai), earlier called Shurparak.

Their deity is Nirmaleshwa, located towards right of the 7th Jagatguru Shankar acharya Padmanabha Tirtha Swami Samadi and outside the 5th Jagadguru Shankaracharya Vidyaranya Swami Samadhi Mandir on the Nirmal hillock.

The word “Shamedi” is the colloquial term ofrom the original Sanskrit word “Shamaneedresh” (“Shaman = Entertainment”, “Edresh = “Attributed”), meaning those workers in the royal court entertaining the King. The then king appointed these people to offer music services at the Samadi place, thus they were called “Samaadhi” which later became “Shamedi” meaning the Samadhi Temple musicians. Shamedis used to offer the “Sanai – Choughada – Mridanga – Bheri – Veena” during the dawn and night worship at Nirmal Jagad Guru Shankaracharya Samadhi Mandir, Shri Sureshwar (Suleshwar) Mandir and the Bhavani Shankara Mandir (Agassi).

Their Family deity is considered to be the goddesses Bhuvaneshwari and Vimala. These goddesses are said to reside in the Utkala, present day Orissa. The Shamedi (Samvedis)are an Indian community, originating from a group of classical musicians and dancers. They are Nayaks and Gayakas, believed to have been originated from Orissa, who live in 12 villages around the Nirmal Sarovar of Bassein (Vasai), earlier called Shurparak.

Their deity is Nirmaleshwa, located towards right of the 7th Jagatguru Shankar acharya Padmanabha Tirtha Swami Samadi and outside the 5th Jagadguru Shankaracharya Vidyaranya Swami Samadhi Mandir on the Nirmal hillock.

Shamedis came as expert singers to Shurparak (Bassein) during the Buddha era 1500 BC from the place called Utkala , now named as Orissa. Some historians place the date of their arrival in Vasai as late as 1825 A.D., since none of the Shamedi person has any written or cultural evidence of their existence before the advent of Peshawas. Nor is there any mention of Shamedi community in the Bakhar of Sashti or Mahikavati. During the Buddhist rule, their following of Vedic Dharma was loosened. At the advent of Adya Shankaracharya in Nirmal around 497 BC, the Buddhist Monks were defeated in the debates and returned to the Vedic Fold. Hinduism in the Samedis returned and they started strict following of the Vedic Dharma. They regarded Adi Sankara Jagadguru as their cardinal preacher. This is quoted in Holy Text "Siva Leela Amrut".There are seven surnames related to this profession.

#The one who used to compose poetry- drama and act in the drama used to be called as “Nayak” the family of Nayak’s later was called by surname “Naik”.
#The musicians who used to play the musical instruments made of Brass or Bronze (Vartakam) were called “Vartakah”. This community later was called by surname “Vartak”.
#The main Singer or main actor in the drama was called as “Mahapatra”, the community of these Mahapatras were later called as “Mahatre”.
#The chief musical director who used to guide the group of musicians were called “Jyoshih”.The community of these Jyoshis were later called by surname “Joshi”.
#The commentators of the Musical programme were called “Vache”, later these were called “Vaze”.
#The one who used to make- up the actors by decorating them with “Patt” i.e. dress, crown etc. were called “Pattolika”. These makeup men community were later called “Pattils” i.e. “Patil”.
#The surname "Deshmukh" is also found in some shamedisThese 7 surnamed people belong to the following Gotras viz. 1) Bharadwaj 2) Kashyap 3) Atri 4) Kaushik 5)Vashishtha 6) Angirasa.

The traditional profession of Shamedis was to present Music, Dance and Dramas at the Royal Palaces and in the Holy Mandiras as a part of the social awareness of religion. Later during the period of Raja Pratap Bimba the profession shifted to that of cultivating sugarcane and nagavel leaves. The cultivation of paddy was added to the profession in the late 17 th century.

Later during the 18 th century after the opening of the Mumbay (Bombay) as the chief city, the profession switched over to the gardening of flowers and wadis.

Presently many Shamedis are engaged in the professions like Politics, School Administration, Construction and Business.

Agari

The name Agri comes from Agar, a Salt-pan or bounded farm. The Agri of Maharashtra are also know as Agle and Kharpatil The tradition common among them is that they originally dwelt at Mungi Paithan and were transported to the Konkan by Bimbaraja. Two son's Agla and Mangla, were born to the sage Agasti; the former the ancestor of the Agris, the latter of the Mangelas (Fishermen). The first was told to support himself by the manufacture of salt from the sea, the latter by fishing.

Some Surnames Bhamber, Bhoir, Bholekar, Chavan, Choudhari, Danki, Dasalke, Dhumala, Driyacha, Dukre, Gaikwad, Gavad, Gavil, Shivasi, Gharat, Ghodinde, Gondhali, Gulvi, Jadhav, Joshi, Kadu, Kalaj, Kamane, Karbhari, Kari, Keni, Khambalker, Khanda-Agle, Kharik, Khuntale, Kokati, Kotval, Kutilkar, Madhovi, Mali, Mandre, Mhatre, Mohile, More, Mukadam, Mukul, Naik, Navare, Pangdi, Patil, Pavar, Sare, Sasai, Shelar, Shirke, Sigola, Thakur, Vaghoda, Vaze, Yadav. Christian Agris, who got purified again to Hinduism in 1820 and other in 1828. They are also know as Nave or New Marathas. Their manners and customs are the same as those of other agris and they worship the Hindu gods. The chief evidence of their having once been Christians is to be found in their surnames, which are Gomes, Soz, Fernan, and Minez. The Vasai Agris reverted in 1820.The priest who purified and took them back was Ramchandra Baba Joshi, a Palshe headman. One Bhai Mukund Joshi, also a Palshe headman, succeeded Ramchandra. The name of the priest who admitted the Agris in 1828 (November 12) was Vithal Hari Naik , a Palshe gentleman of Vasai.

Kupari

“Kupari” also called “Kadodi” is a well populated, peace loving and cultured Christian community of Vasai Taluka mainly residing in in northern Vasai in villages of Nirmal, Agashi, Nandakhal, Gaas, Bhuigaon, Umraala, Naanbhat, Shrilaiwadi, Bolinj, Mardes, Wagholi, Gomes Ali, Rajodi. The population is about 45,000 to 50,000. Kupari community has the greatedt percentage of population among Vasai Christians, and Vasai Churches. But their representation in the parish activities is very limited and rather believe in peace and harmony among brethors of their same community from Hindu religion.

This community is nothing but the converted Shamedis. The assaults by the Franciscans during 1529 A.D. and 1618 A.D. encouraged these people to Christianity. Since then this converted Shamedis were called “Kupari” or “Kakodi”, which in Prakrit Language means the “Ones who fell from the High Religious Ideals”.The language spoken by the Kupari community is also called Kadodi , which is a mixed dialect of Marathi, Konkani, Andhrese,Marwari with very few words derived from Portuguese, and which is similar to the language spoken by their counterparts the Shamedi community. 97% of this population is Roman Catholic, and the remaining minority is a mixed population of various Christian Protestant sects. The traditional costume of Kupari consists of a dhoti, shirt and a red cap with earring pierced in the left ear for men, and a red blouse with red checkered kashta (a type of sari) for women. It was this community who refused the Portuguese to part off with their old Hindu customs, thus even today all the rituals and dress code of the native Christians remain the same as their original religion Hinduism. Even the native converts refuse to part off with their traditional caste , and hence call themselves as samvedi Christians, bhandari Christians, koli Christians and so on. Thus they continued to wear their traditional dhoti, Kupari Laal Topi, nauvaar saadi of red or blue colour. Maintained their ornaments like Putala Haar, Lahaan Shiran, Vajrateek, Dole, Paashi Haar, Ketak and Gulaab Phule, Thushi, Sonyachi Kanthi and Kot, Duledi, Bormaal, Chude, Navale, Dandakade, Vaalaa, Gof, Toda, Mangaal Sutra and all such soubhagya alankaara including green bangles. Only Portuguese refrained them from applying Kumkum to distinguish themselves from the native unconverts.

Thus this community, among Vasai Christians, is responsible to save the unique Vasai’s tradition. Presently Fr. Correa is in fore front in saving the unique old Shamedi Kupari tradition of Vasai.

andori Christians

Sandori Christians have gained a peculiar importance in the Christian community of Vasai. These are mainly from the Sonar (goldsmith), Sutar (Carpenter), and some Bhandari communities of the native Hindus who were converted during the times of Portuguese. The culture of Sandori Christian difer from that of Kuparis from the fact that they have a slight different dialect and normally have pork (pig’s meat) in their food. The villages of Holi, Sandor, Saloli, Acton, Girij, Tarkhad, Vasalai and Papdi seem to be of one culture. Sandori Chritians have done lot for the social development and thus Sandor area have lot of good and developmental institutions.

Temples In Vasai

*Vrushi Valmiki Mandir, Naigaon Koliwada

*Sai Baba Mandir, Amol Nagar, Naigaon (W)

*Gaodevi Mandir, Panju Gaon, Naigaon (W)

*Dakshanmukhi Hanuman Mandir,Manickpur

*SaiBaba Mandir, Bhabola

*Ram Mandir, Papdy

*Kshetrapaleshwar Mandir,Papdy

*Ganpati mandir, Vasai Depot

*Mahalaxmi Temple, Vasai

*Anandi Bhavani, Merces

*Shani Mandir, Ramedi

*Kartike Mandir

*Shani Bagwan Mandir, Vasai gaon

*Swaminarayan Mandir, Sai nagar

*Sai Mandir, Sai nagar

*Swaminarayan Mandir, Samta Nagar

*Sai Baba Mandir, Diwanman

*Hanuman Mandir, Diwanman

*Shankar Mandir, Diwanman

*Rameshwar Mandir ,Gokhivare

* Sai Baba Mandir, Gokhivare

*Jain Derasahar, Ambadi Road

*Hanuman Mandir, Papdy

*Naleshwar Mandir, Alkapuri

*Vaishno Devi, Virar

*Shiv Mandir, Takri Virar

*Agashi Jain Mandir, Virar

*Agashi Shani Mandir

*Shari Mandir Kopri Virar

*Hanuman Mandir, Sainath nagar Virar

*Sai Baba Mandir, Veer Savarkar Road Virar

*Shiv Mandir, Veer Savarkar Road Virar

*Amba Mata Mandir, Virar

*Hanuman Mandir, opp Virar Talao

*Ganesh Shiv MAndir, Chandansar Virar

*Chantamani Mandir, Manvel Pada Road Virar

*Sai Mandir, Virar west

*Vajreshwari Mandir

*Ganeshpuri Mandir

*Ganpat Durga Mandir, Nagindaspada

*Aayappa temple

Churches in Vasai

*Cathedral Of St. Joseph , Now called St. Joseph (Built by Viceroy Dam Joao De Castro by pulling down Musalmaan Mosques built by Bahadur Shahs General by pulling down Umraleshwar Mahadev Temples) , Umrale Gaon (1546 A.D.)
*Nossa Senhora da Vida (1548 A.D.)
*Church Of Saint Joseph, Umrale built by Viceroy Dom Joao de Castro (1546 A.D. renovated on 1973)
*Church Of Invocation of St. Antonio
*Nossa Senhora de Annunciada
*Holy Cross Church , Nirmal (1557 A.D.)
*Our Mother Of God Church, Palle (1595 A.D.)
*Nossa Senhora da Ajuda built in the Sandor village for the converts by Donna Irina (1564 A.D.St. Gonsalo Garcia was present as a boy for the foundation ceremony of this chapel The chapel was destroyed by Muslim Arab invaders from Gujarat in 1571, and was reconstructed in 1573. In 1679, Arabs from Gujarat once again attacked and damaged the church. In 1690, a certain Muslim invader by name of 'Nayati Kakaji' of Sopara also attacked and damaged the church.. This is now known as St. Thomas the Apostle Church , Sandor, 1566
*St. James Church, Agashi (1568 A.D.)
*Holy Spirit Church, Nandakhal (Built in 1573 A.D. by razing the Nandeeshvar Mahadev Mandir along the “Nandika Tirtha” lake mentioned in Padmapuran by Fr. Malchoir Gonsalves a close friend of St. Xavier).
*Dominican Church of Invocation of Sam Gonsalo (1583 A.D.)
**(Gonsalo Garcia Church), Gaas Gaon.
*Nossa Senhora dos Remedios (Ramedy) Dhauli Church – (1557 A.D.)
*St. Thomas the Apostle, Sandor Church (1838 A.D.)
*St. Michael The Archangel , Manickpur Church (1606 A.D.)
*Our Blessed Lady of Grace , Papdy Church (1574 A.D.)
*St. Rock , Gokhivre (1930 A.D.)
*St. Peter , Arnala (1931 A.D.)
*St. Peter, Koliwada (1933 A.D.)
*Holy Family , Bhuigaon (1946 A.D.)
*Fatima Mata , Chulan Gaon (1964 A.D.)
*Nirmala Mata Church (1974 A.D.)
*St. Paul , Naan bhat (1975 A.D.)
*St. Mary Magdelena (Mulgaon)
*Our Lady of Mercy, Merces, (1606 A.D.)
*St. Francis (Giriz)
*Infant Jesus (Merces)
*Ignatius Loyola church (Ambadi)
*Infant Jesus Church (Evershine City, Vasai East)
*Holy Trinity church(Gomesali)
*St. Paul , Naan bhat (1975 A.D.)
*Gomes Aali Church (2004 A.D.)
*Rajodi Church (2004 A.D.)
*YEHOVAH SHALOM CHURCH OF CHRIST, Umela Phatak.

The Vasai region was never disturbed by the intra-Catholic Padroado-Propaganda conflict as the region remained firmly faithful to the Archbishop of Goa and refused to accept the authority of the Vicars Apostolic of Bombay and their successors, the Archbishops of Bombay.In 1886, the northern part of the Archdiocese of Goa was carved out as the Diocese of Damao, including the Vasai region, and it was only in 1928 that the two dioceses (Damao & Bombay) were merged, so that the Vasai region came under the Archbishops of Bombay for the first time in 1928.Now it comes under the Dioceses of Vasai.

chools In Vasai

* Rishi Valmiki Vidyalay & Jr. College, Naigaon Koliwada
*B K S English High School
*Dr. M.G Parulekar High School
*G.J Vartak High School
*Holy Paradise High School
*Vidya Vardhini's College of Engineering and Technology (Vartak college)
*Thomas Baptist High School and Junior College (2004 science batch was the best)
*St. Francis Xavier High School
*St. Peter English High School
*Carmelite Convent English High School
*St. Augustines School
*Vidya Vikasini English High School
*New English School
*St. Anthony's Convent High School
*St. Thomas High School
*Holy Family Convent High School and Junior College
*Fr. Stephens Academy High School
*Maharashtra English School
*Nirmal Mata Girls School
*St. Aloysius Convent School
*Huzaifa Urdu High School
*Nazareth Convent Girls' School
*Holy Family School, Bhuigaon
*St Elizabeth Convent Holi
*The Ambassador High School, Waliv, Vasai East
*R.P. Wagh High School, Ramedy, Vasai
*St Gonsalo Garcia College of Arts,Commerce and BSC IT, Vasai
*Rajiv Gandhi Hindi High School, Vasai
*Royal English High School,Anand Nagar,Ambadi Road,Vasai(West)

Places of Interest

*Naigaon Jetty
*Bassein Fort
*Suruchi Baug
*Chimaji Appa Playground
*Clean Coast Line (Best for Couples)
*Bhuigaon Suruchi Baug
*Bhuigaon Sea Beach
*Rangaon Sea Beach (Famous For Watermelon in Summer Season)
*Ayyappa Temple
*Vajreshwari Temple
*Ganeshpuri Temple
*Jivdani Temple in Virar
*Agashi Jain Mandir
*Agashi Shani Mandir
*Arnala Beach
*Kalam Beach
*Tungareshwar Forest
*Tungareshwar Mandir
*Nityanand Baba Ashram
*Sadanand Baba Ashram
*Sirsad Jain Mandir
*Shani Mandir

Theatres

*Janki Theatre - Vasai Gaon
*KT Multiplex - Anand Nagar
*Broadway Multiplex and Mall - HDIL - Evershine City
*Parvati Cinema Hall - Ambadi Cross
*Sapna Theatre - Vasai Gaon
*Koul Multiplex and Mall - Coming Soon - Kaul Heritage City
*Dattani Mutiplex and Mall - Coming Soon - Babhola

Gymnasiums

*Vrushi Valmiki Gym, Naigaon Koliwada
*Mamasaheb Mohol Gym, Vasai Gaon
*Shivashakti Gym, Vasai Gaon
*Sunny Gymnassium "Health is Wealth and its Tax Free"
*Joe' Gym, Vasai Road
*Talvalkar' , Vasai Road

Restaurants & Bars

*Whitefield Restaurant & Bar, Naigaon (W)
*Caza Restaurant & Bar, Naigaon (W)
*Rose Restaurant & Bar, Naigaon Koliwada
*Reva
*Bageecha
*Gold Coin
*Kinara
*Kubera
*Priya
*Dwarka
*Celebrity
*Neelam-e-Punjab
*Green Garden (serves authentic local and different foods)
*Mahesh
*Vrindavan
*Rishikesh
*Kasbah
*status
*panchavati
*haridwar
*green house
*Onam
*Akshaya
*Jalsa
*planet 50-50
*Carnival
*Liberty
*Sai Leela
*Vinit
*Chillies
*Ambika
*Food Land
*Swagat
*Sagar Chineese (Ramas Chineese)

References

*Da Cunha's Bassein
*Fryer's New Accounts
*Trans. Bom.Geog. Soc VII
*Hamilton's Gazzetteer I
*Dikinson's Report
*Blue Book
*Treaties Engagements and Sanads
*Nairne's Konkan
*Bom. Quar.Rev. IV
*Churchill's Voyages
*Ovington's Voyages
*Orme's History Frag.
*O Chron. de Tis. I
*Bruce's Annals
*Hamilton's New Accounts
*Mandelslo's Voyages.
*Cordara's History of the Jesuits
*Madras Journal V
*Pyrard de Laval
*Portuguese Asia III- By Faria-y-Souza
*O Chroniosta de Tissuary III
*Hakluyt II
*Gladwin's Ain-i-Akbari II
*Harris I
*Ferishta-By Briggs
*Bird's Mirat-i-Ahmedi
*Kerr Voyages VI
*Stanley's Barbossa
*Gov. Res. 1393 of 1829
*Thana's Statistical Account - Part I
*Journal Of The Bombay Asiatic Society for 1882
*Hardy's Manual of Buddhism - 2nd Edition
*McCrindle's Periplus
*Wilkinson's Ancient Egyptians
*Champolion's L'Egypte I
*History of Antiquity I
*Beke's Sources of the Nile
*Vincent's Commerce Of The Ancients II
*Smith's Dictionary of the Bible
*Manning II
*Heeren's Hist. Res. III
*Max Muller's Science of Language Pg 190-192 Ed. 1861
*Robertson's Ancient India I
*Acad. Des. Insc. XV II
*Reinaud's Memoir Sur l'Inde
*Ritter's Erdkunde
*Bunsen's Egypt III
*Jahn's Hebrew Commonwealth
*Cunningham's Anc. Geog. I
*Duncker's History of Ant. I
*Caldwell's Dravidian Grammar , Intro.
*Yule's Cathay, I
*Lindsay's Merchant Shipping I
*Bible
*Bom. Arch. Sur. X
*Dowson's Classical Dictionary
*Trans. Sec. Ori. Cong.
*Masudi's Prairies d'Or. I
*Jour. B.B.R.A.S.XII
*Jaubert's Idrisi, I
*Reinaud's Abul Fida, II
*Philostorgius III
*Arch. Sur. of India. Report VIII
*Spencer's Principles of Sociology I
*Arch . Sur. Report VI
*Senart's Journal Asiatique III
*Government List of Civil Forts , 1862
*Rao Saheb Mandalik In Jour. Bom. Br. Roy. As. Soc. X
*Report On Portuguese Defences O Chron. de. Tis I
*Surpur Shurparak Sopara By D.C.Nene
*Aadya Shri Parshuram Kshetra- Nirmal Surpur By. V.Godbole
*Shri Vajreshwari Mahima By H.Lele
*Saatvahan aani Pashchami Kshatrapa Yaancha Itihaas Ani Koriiva Lekha - Dr. V.V.Mirashi
*Gazeteer of the Bombay Presidency- Thane District - Vol 13 Part 2,Ed 1882
*Vasai Cha Sapramaan Aprasiddha Itihaas - Vedmurti D.Vaidya Shastri
*The Portuguese and the Marathas - Dr. P.S.Pissurlenkar
*Karaveer Riyasata - S.M.Garge
*Vasai cha Killa - Fr Corea
*Samvedi Christincha Itihaas - Fr. Corea
*Aai Jeevdani- B.A.Dhapre
*Shri Kshetra Tungareshwar Mahadev Mandir - D.S. More
*Vasaitil Khristi Dharma va Kshristi Mandir- R.D'Silva
*Bhagwan Parshuram Bhumi - B.Patil
*Karveer Math - Karveer Math Publication
*Shri Shivaleelamruta - Shridhara Swami
*Shrimad Shankaracharya Sammata Nirmal Mahatmya
*Bhagvatpaada Adi Shankaracharya S.P.Smrutigrantha
*Shri Shankara Vijaya Churnikaa
*Skanda Purana
*Padma Purana
*Mahabharata Vanaparva Ch 118
*Harivansh Vishnu Parva Ch 39
*Shripaala Charita Ch III
*Suppara Jataka
*Bhagvata Purana
*Raghuvansa IV
*Zend Avesta I ccclxxiv
*Stone Inscriptions from Royal Asiatic Society and Cions preserved in Prince of Wales Museum Mumbai.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.evasai.ning.com/ Vasai Youth Discussion Forum which is a part of www.evasai.com]
* [http://www.vasai.wordpress.com/ Blog on All about Vasai which is a part of www.evasai.com]
* [http://www.evasai.com/ A local community portal locally featuring information about Vasai]
* [http://www.vasai.com/ Premier portal featuring information about Vasai]
* [http://mumbai.maps.googlepages.com A customized Google Map showing High Resolution Satellite Images of Vasai]


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