Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vadu Tulapur and Wagheshwar Temple: A Photo Feature

Vadu Tulapur are two small neighbouring villages bordering Bhima Koregaon on Pune Ahmednagar highway. Tulapur has gained significance in history as places that witnessed the torture and execution of Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje, the son of the great Shivaji.
 While Vadu is the place where Sambhajirajes earthly remains were cremated. Today there are samadhis (memorials) erected in both the places to eulogise the martyrdom of the maratha king.
After Shivajis death Sambhaji maharaj carried forward his resistance to the mughal onslaught in the Deccan. For ten long years the Maratha mughal wars continued under Sambhajis leadership.
Sambhaji had an aide and friend in the form of one Kavi Kalash, a Kannauji Brahmin from North India. At Kalashs insistence Sambhaji had decided to spend the hot summer of 1688 in a palace built by Kavi Kalash at Konkan-Sangameshwar, a small but climatically cool township, twenty miles north from Vishalgad, and twenty two miles north east from Ratnagiri (this may have proved a mistake on the part of Sambhaji, as for once, he was away from the safe protection of the impregnable fort of Raigad). The news of Sambhajis whereabouts soon reached the mughals. The Mughal commander Muqarrab Khan then devised a daring plan to capture Sambhaji in person. They were helped in their endeavour by the estranged brother in law of Sambhaji, by the name of Ganoji Shirke, who showed the mughal army the way through the adjoining dense forests, simultaneously providing the mughals, logistics and information about Sambhajis movements.

 In Feb 1688, Sambhaji and Kavi Kalash were surrounded and captured. They were brought before Aurangzeb, who had himself encamped at Akluj (near Pandharpur). They were both humiliated in public and paraded before the crowds in a buffoons attire. Sambhaji was held captive at Bahadurgad (Pedgaon,Shrigonda) where Aurangzeb then offered Sambhaji an insulting proposition. Sambhaji should surrender all his forts and the amassed Maratha treasure to the mughals . Secondly, he should reveal the names of all mughal officers who were secretly colluding with the Marathas, and thirdly Sambhaji should convert himself to Islam and serve the emperor in near future. In return Aurangzeb would spare Sambhajis life.

But the fearless Maratha king scornfully retorted, that he would accept the emperors conditions , only if Aurangzeb agreed to marry off his daughter to him. Sambhaji then exchanged insult for insult. This audacity incensed the emperor to no end, and he ordered Sambhajis execution .Fearing that marathas might try to rescue Sambhaji, he was secretly shifted to Tulapur near Pune.For three days Sambhaji was tortured at Tulapur, on the banks of river Bhima. Aurangzeb ordered the blasphemous tongue to be pulled out, his eyes were gouged,his limbs severed . Sambhaji was subjected to a very horrific ordeal. But he bore it bravely until ,on the third day, when his head was decapitated.

His aide and confidante Kavi Kalash also remained loyal to his master till the very end. He too met the same fate as Sambhaji.
There is also another story of one mughal officer, Mian Khan, associated with Sambhajis final days. Earlier Sambhaji had given some valuable help to this Mian Khan and the latter was indebted to Sambhaji for this. This same officer was posted at Tulapur during Sambhajis torture. But when asked to gouge out the eyes of Chhatrapati, he had preffered killing himself instead.
 Sambhajis disembered remains were later sewn together by some brave people of Vadu (later to be called as Shivle Patils or the Patils who sewed the mortal remains of the king) and finally cremated there with ritual obsequies and  honours.
Thus ended the life of a reckless but brave king ( 11th March 1689) . In death he became a martyr, inspiring a Maratha fightback.
After Sambhajis death, all Maratha nobles forgetting their differences, united under the banner of Chatrapati Rajaram (Sambhajis step brother) and continued their struggle against the Mughals.
Another famous place in Tulapur is the medieval temple of Sangameshwar that was constructed by Murar Jagdev , a general in the army of Sultan Adilshah of Bijapur and his commander, Shahajiraje Bhosale, the father of Chhatrapati Shivajiraje and the grandfather of Sambhajiraje and also the jagirdar of Pune (Tulapur lies in Pune). It is said that Sambhajiraje was held in captivity in the vicinity of this very temple that was built by his grandfather.

In the medieval times, this region was known as Naagargaon. It was previously under the rule of the Rashtrakutas and later under the Seuna Yadava kings. Naagargaon was also the confluence of five rivers viz. Bhima,Bhama,Indrayani,Anduri and Sudha. It was on the banks of these great rivers that the Yadavas erected the five Jyotirlinga  temples dedicated to Lord Shiva like Grishneshwar,Aunda Nagnath,tryambakeshwar, Bhimashankar and Parli Vaijanath. Naagargaon also had a very pious Shiva temple called Sangameshwar. It was initially a very humble dwelling  and also the home of a ascetic Yogi Fatteshwar maharaj.

Later the name got changed to Tulapur when Murar Jagdev donated gold weighing (Tula) the weight of an elephant twenty times over. This Murar Jagdev had done after he was cured from a mysterious ailment by Rudranath maharaj, a disciple and successor of Fatteshwar maharaj. Also at the instructions of Murar Jagdev , Shahajiraje performed the jeernoddhar of this temple and renovated the place after clearing it of its cactus vegetation. He also constructed a ghat like structure around the temple with stone stairs leading down to the river. 

The samadhis of both Fatteshwar maharaj and Rudranath maharaj were also constructed subsequently, and which exist till date. There is also a samadhi of Ravji buwa Desai who took great care of these premises for a long time.

Also lands were granted to 24 Brahmin families and they were settled here.
However post Sambhajirajes martyrdom, this place came to be known as Narkapur or the hell town.

In the late 18th century (1790), Rajmata Ahilyabai Holkar, the dowager queen of Indore (daughter in law of the famed Maratha sardar Malharrao Holkar) reconstructed this temple and ghat  and renamed the region as Tulapur.

The temple itself has undergone several renovations since then. Till 1989 its upkeep was managed by a hermit by the name of Ravjibuva maharaj.

 After his death, the temple’s upkeep and beautification was undertaken by Dr Sudhir Nirgudkar and the Nirgudkar trust (1993) and continues till date.

The Sangameshwar temple is constructed in black stone and is divided into the sabhamandap and gabhara. 

The gabhara has this radiant Shivalinga.

Outside in the courtyard is the Nandimandap where Nandimaharaj is enshrined, along with a tall stone deepmala.

There are also minor temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Lord Hanumana and other deities.

After coming out from the temple one sees stairs leading down the ghat to the river that flows across.

The ghat adjoins with the Ahilyabai Holkar ghat that has stairs leading to the Shiva and Ganesha temples.

One also sees people enjoying a quick swim or roving in the river. On the otherside of the river one sees as island with mangrove vegetation.

Also in the vicinity of the temple lie the medeival Shiva Ballaleshwar and Ganesha temples.

A Samadhi has also been created in the memory of Chhatrapati Sambhaji maharaj on the place where he was supposedly killed.

There also lies a Samadhi dedicated to Kavi Kalash.
A little further lies the statue of Sambhaji Maharaj.

Vadu village is located a few kilometers after Tulapur

It is said that some local villagers (disregarding the wrath of the mughals) from the Vadu by the name Patils sewed the disembered parts of the corpses of Sambhaji Maharaj and Kavi Kalash and performed their funeral and obsequies in the village. 

They came to be known as Shivale Patils (or the Patils that sewed the body of Sambhaji). 

At that very spot lie the samadhis of Ch.Sambhaji, Kavi Kalash and  the Shivle Patils.

In the vicinity at Bhima Koregaon also lies a memorial dedicated to the five hundred odd Mahar soldiers of Bombay Native Light Infantry under Capt Staunton, who bravely fought  and won (1818) against the Peshwas forces, who were sixty times more in number in what proved to be the final Anglo Maratha war and which paved the way for the British empire in India.

Wagheshwar temple lies on Pune Ahmednagar road at Wagholi just outside Pune (a few kilometers away from Vadu Tulapur). It is a exquisitely carved post medieval Shiva temple.
Photographs of Wagheshwar temple:

Pics above:wall carvings
Pic above: Nandi mandap

Across the temple is a well spread lake .There is also a garden alongside.

Also next to the temple lie the samadhis of Sardar Pilajirao Jadhav , a prominent Peshwai commander and his family members. 


  1. thats the 2nd king of MARATHAS.................

  2. Legendary king.. but the way their memories are preserved is disappointing.. there's no information about their lives and works and heroics...

  3. Vaibhav,unfortunately that is the case with all our heritage sites. Nevertheless, Tulapur is quite well preserved compared to other places in Maharashtra.

  4. सर आपण जी माहिती टाकली त्यामुळे मराठ्यांचा शूर राजा शिव शंभू ना न्याय तर दिलाच न त्या बरोबर मैत्रीची अजोड मिसाल शिव शंभूचे मित्र,वजीर,सल्लागार आणि सर्व काही आसे कवी कलश ज्यांनी शिव शम्भुना मृत्यू पर्यंत साथ दिली त्याना सुद्द्धा न्याय दिला

  5. Yes, Ashwin. Today Kavi Kalash remains an controversial character. But there is no denying that he remained a true friend to Ch.Sambhaji maharaj till his very end.

  6. Did varshat fakt paach comments baghun wait wattay. Pan tumhi he faar motha kaam kela ahe. pardeshatil konti tari ghatna gruhit dharun friendship day saajra karnya peksha, kavi kalashanchya mrutyu dina diwshi to saajra kela gela pahije.