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Ahmednagar (Marathi: अहमदनगर, Urdu: احمد نگر) is a city of Ahmednagar District in the state of Maharashtramarker, Indiamarker, on the west bank of the Sina river, about 120 km northeast of Punemarker and 120 km from Aurangabad. Ahmednagar is the largest district in the Maharashtra state of India. Sugar, milk and bank co-operatives thrive here. Ahmednagar is home to 19 sugar factories and is also the birthplace of the cooperative movement. Due to scarce rainfall, Ahmednagar often suffers from drought. Though citizens learn multilingual (e.g. English, Hindi, Marathi, Urdu) education in schools, Marathi is the primary language for daily-life communication. Hindi is also widely understood and spoken, though of the Dakhani (or Hyderabadi) dialect, with a lot of grammar and loan words from Marathi. In general the Hindu and Christian population prefers Marathi, while Muslims and others use Hindi. Ahmednagar has recently published a plan of developing the city by year 2031.

Demographics

As of 2001 India census, Ahmednagar had a population of 307,455. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Ahmednagar has an average literacy rate of 84%, higher than the national average of 79.9%. 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.

History of Ahmednagar

Faria bagh, c.
1880
town was founded in 1494 by Ahmad Nizam Shah on the site of a more ancient city, Bhingar. With the breakup of the Bahmani Sultanate, Ahmad established a new sultanate in Ahmednagar, also known as Nizam Shahi dynasty. It was one of the Deccan sultanates, which lasted until its conquest by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1636. Aurangzeb, the last great Mughal emperor, who spent the latter years of his reign, 1681-1707, in the Deccanmarker, died at Khuldabadmarker near Aurangabad in 1707, and a small monument marks the site.

In 1759 the Peshwa of the Marathas obtained possession of the place and in 1790 it was ceded by the Peshwa to the Maratha chief Daulat Rao Sindhia. Ahmednagar was invaded by a British force under General Wellesley and captured. It was afterwards restored to the Marathas, but again came into the possession of the British in 1817, according to the terms of the Treaty of Poona.

Numerous Mughal-era buildings dot the environs. Ahmednagar Fortmarker, once considered the second most unimpregnable fort in India, was used by the British to house Jawaharlal Nehru (the first prime minister of India) and other Indian Nationalists before Indian independence. A few rooms there have been converted to a museum. During his confinement by the British at Ahmednagar Fort Nehru, he wrote the famous book The Discovery of India.

Ahmednagar is home to the Indian Armoured Corps Centre & School (ACC&S), the Mechanised Infantry Regimental Centre (MIRC), the Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (VRDE) and the Controllerate of Quality Assurance Vehicles (CQAV). Training and recruitment for the Indian Armoured Corps takes place at the ACC&S. Formerly, the city was the Indian base of the British Army's Royal Tank Corps, amongst other units. Currently the town houses the second-largest display of military tanks in the world. The exhibit is open to the public.

Religion

Inside view of Church in Ahmednagar
The majority of the population in Ahmednagar is Hindu. But there are small other religious groups such as Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians. According to Census, Hindus are 82%, Muslims 9%, Christians 5% and others are 4%.

Islam arrived in Ahmednagar during the Aurangzeb and Nizam Empire. There are many Muslim Monuments like Chand bibi mahal, Farha Baug, Ground Fort and Many Darga.

Christianity arrived in the 18th century when the British took over the area. From the Maratha empire onwards Christianity has been Ahmednagar's third-largest religion. Ahmednagar's Christians are also called Marathi Christians because of their use of the Marathi language. There are many Christian churches and monuments.

Famous Personalities

  • Anna Hazare, a Social Leader and Right to Information Act (RTI) Activist. Anti Corruption Movement. Under his leadership, Ralegan Siddhi village is considered as a model of environmental conservation.
  • Chand Bibi, Razia Sultan has got more attention than courageous Chand Bibi. Chand Bibi was ahead of her time. In 1595, she fought against mighty Mughal emperor Akbar at Ahmednagar Fort. Sadly, in 1600, she was killed by few of her own short-sighted people branding her as traitor.
  • Spike Milligan - Terence Alan Milligan - Spike Milligan (Irish comic genius) was born in Ahmednagar Military hospital, at 3.30 pm on April 16, 1918. He worked on 'Those Crazy People' (later named as The Goon Show) weekly radio show with Peter Sellers, that ran for 10 series. Miligan was a comedian with social conscience. He is appeared in few movies like The three musketeers (1973). He died on June 24, 2002.
  • Cynthia Ferrar - Cynthia Ferrar (missionary, born 20 April 1795) studied at Planfield (New Hampshire, USA) and was a teacher in New Hampshire and Boston, USA. She lived in Ahmednagar from 1839 to 1862. In this period, she organized schools for girls in Ahmednagar region and directed them. She died on Jan 25, 1862, in Ahmednagar.
  • Anna Leonowens, educator, feminist, and author of The English Governess at the Siamese Court (1870), was born in Ahmadnagar on 6 November, 1831.
  • Michael James Stuart Dewar- Dewar was born in Ahmednagar, on September 24, 1918. Dewar was educated in Oxford University (D.Phil. in 1942). He is well known for his contributions to theoretical chemistry. In 1970s/80s, he worked on the semiempirical computational chemistry methods- MINDO, MNDO, AM1 and PM3 that are in the MOPAC computer program.
  • Ram Nagarkar - a writer/actor in Marathi language. He has written and acted in 'Ram Nagari' - an autobiography converted to comedic play/movie in Marathi language. The play deals with the topic of caste i.e. being a low-caste barber. Ram Nagarkar's native place is Sarola Kasar a village in Ahmednagar Taluka.
  • Rachel Manija Brown wrote a book All the Fishes Come Home to Roost, a satirical account of her life in Ahmmednagar as a child between the ages of 7 and 12. Brown's parents were followers of Meher Baba, but Brown herself was a skeptic from a young age and felt herself to be a "misfit" both as a non-believer among Baba devotees and as the only resident Western child in an Indian town.
  • Shahu Modak (1918-1993), a Marathi/Hindi movie actor was born in a Christian family in Ahmednagar. He primarily acted as Lord Krishna in 29 mythological films.
  • Dnyaneshwar wrote Dnyaneshwari in Newasa town of Ahmednagar district.
  • Shri Ramakrishna Saraswati Kshirsagar Swamiji (1934 - 1999): Swamiji worked for the rejuvenation and revival of Vedas, Vedic Hindu traditions and Vedic ideology. Datta Kshetra have been formed by divine power of Ramkrishna Saraswati.
  • Sant Nilobaraya, last known saint in Sant parampara. Samadhi temple located at Pimpalner, Taluka-Parner. It is treated as Prati Pandharpur (holy) by devotees.
  • Sai Baba of Shirdi (d. 1918) is a famous saint who devoted his life in Shirdimarker, a small village in Ahmednagar district about 83 km from the city of Ahmednagar.
  • Meher Baba (1894-1969), religious figure who proclaimed himself to be the Avatar, the most recent incarnation of Vishnu. Established Meherabadmarker ashram around 9 kilometres south of Ahmednagar on the 'Nagar-Daund' road. Also established Meherazadmarker (his residence and now also a place of pilgrimage) about 13 kilometres north of Ahmednagar on the 'Nagar-Shirdi' road.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru wrote the book The Discovery of India in Ahmednagar.
  • Padmashri Dr Vitthalrao Vikhe Patil was a Father of Co-operative Movement in India. He was one to Set Asia's First Co- operative Sugar Factory at Pravaranagar which was then visited by Jawaharlal Nehru & Indira Gandhi. He was awarded "Padmashri" at the hands of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, President Of India in 1961.
  • B. R. Ambedkar wrote the book Pakistan or Partition of India in Ahmednagar.
  • Bapusaheb Bhapkar (Prabhakar Kondaji Bhapkar aka Hiraprabha): Great Social Worker
  • Hirabai Bhapkar : Great Social Worker. She was First lady president of district local board (Zila Parishad)
  • Vishnu Ramkrishna Karkare, one of the accused to serve Life Imprisonment in the Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, had his lodging business in the town, The Deccan Guest House.
  • Sadashiv Amrapurkar
  • Prof. Madhu Dandawate, a prominent political leader of the then Janata Party, now known as BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party).
  • Com. Ram Ratnakar
  • Late Shri. Ravsaheb alias Pralhadpant Mohniraj Vidyasagar (Dharmadhikari), famous personality in the field agriculture and education together. He did a lot of scientific experiments on farming during the Britishmarker government in India. Being a teacher in Jilha Parishad School, in his tenure, he taught Sanskrit grammar to some of the British rulers.
  • Anand Rishiji Maharaj founded many educational institutions. The government issued a postal stamp on him.


Places of interest

  • Chand Bibi Palace - The place has Salabat Khan Tomb, it is a three-storey structure made of solid stone. It is 13 km from Ahmednagar city. Situated on the top of a hill, it has a view of the city lights at night. It is visible from almost anywhere in Ahmednagar City.
  • Ahmednagar Fortmarker - The fort was built by Ahmed Nizam Shah. India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru wrote a book The Discovery of India in this fort when he was detained by the British in 1942.
  • Renuka/Durga Goddess Temple - This temple is located in Kedgaonmarker (around 3 km from Ahmednagar Railway Station, 5 km from Ahmednagar ST bus-stand) which is near Nagar-Pune highway. Navaratri (nine nights) festival is a celebration of nine nights of battle between the Goddess Durga and demon-king Mahishasura. Eventually Goddess Durga killed Mahishasura on the ninth night and thus the festival signifies the triumph of good over evil.
  • Alamagir - Alamgir is situated near Bhingar on Pathardi road. Aurangzeb died at the age of 91 at the very same place, his body was taken to Khultabad, near Aurangabad & buried there. This historical place also houses a Masjid & Baradari where meetings used to take place. The library near the masjid has rare Qurans, dating back to the time of emperor Aurangzeb. One of the Qurans here was written by the emperor himself.
  • Vishal Ganpati Mandir - This Ganeshji temple is located in Maliwada area in Ahmednagar City. This temple has a great importance to the people of Ahmednagar.
  • Siddhatek Siddhivinayak - Temple of God Ganesh.
  • Shirdimarker - home to the late Sai Baba, revered by Hindus and Muslims alike, about 83 km from Ahmednagar City.
  • Meherabadmarker, where the samadhimarker (tomb) of the spiritual master Meher Baba is a place of pilgrimage, visited by thousands each year, particularly on the anniversary of his death, Amartithi. His residence was at Meherazadmarker (near Pimpalgaon village), approximately nine miles north of Ahmednagar.
  • Ralegaon Siddhi - a village which is a model for environmental conservation.
  • Shingnapurmarker - Shingnapur is known for Shani (planet Saturn) temple and all houses with absolutely no door. This is probably the only village in world where you don't need locks.
  • Harishchandragarh - a hilly fort.
  • Avhane, Shevgaonmarker - Temple of Ganesh (Nidrista/Sleeping).
  • Pimpalner - Samadhi Temple of Shri Sant Nilobaraya, 2 km west of Ralegan Sindhi, Parner Taluka. Also called Prati Pandharpur.
  • Pedgaonmarker - Baleshwar Temple, Temple of Laxmi Narayan
  • Trimbakji Dengale's Wada : Nimgaojali, a small village in Sangamner taluka of Ahmednagar district, came into limelight in the last phase of the Maratha empire. Trimbakji's spacious wada has now lost its former glory. Some of the portions of this two-centuries old structure are in dilapidated condition. The seventh or the eighth generation descendants of Trimbakji are now residing in this Wada.
  • Haregaonmarker - Place in Ahmednagar where majority of people is Catholic and the feast of Mother mary Celebrates every year by the local Church.


References

External links




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