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Miraj pronunciation (help·info)(Marathi:मिरज), is a town in southern Maharashtra, India that was founded in the early 10th century. It was an important Jagir of the Adil Shahi Court of Bijapur. Chhatrapati Shivaji stayed in Miraj for two months during his South India Campaign. Because of its location, Miraj has been held as a strategic bastion: it was the capital of Miraj Senior and an important junction on the central railway network. The Pathwardhan family were the hereditary rulers of Miraj until Independence. Miraj City is part of the Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad Municipal Corporation formed in 1999. The town is recognised for performance of Hindustani classical music, its medical services and as a place of religious harmony. Marathi is the most widely spoken language, while Kannada is also widely understood.
- 1 Early history
- 2 Modern history
- 3 Climate
- 4 Hindustani classical music
- 5 Transportation
- 6 Medicine
- 7 Schools
- 8 Places of worship
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
In 1024 AD, Miraj was ruled by Narsimha of the Silahar dynasty. From 1216 to 1316, the Yadavas of Devgiri ruled the town. In 1395, the Bahamanis conquered Miraj. Between 1391 and 1403, Miraj was affected by the Durgadevi famine. From 1423, Malik Imad Ul Mulk ruled Miraj. 1494 was the year of Bahadur Khan Gilani's rebellion. For two months of 1660, Shivaji Maharaj and Adilshah battled for control of Miraj. In 1680, Santaji Ghorpade became Deshmukhi of Miraj and six years later, the town was captured by Aurangzeb. In 1730, Chatrapati Shahu of Satara instructed Pant Pratinidhi to attack the town. Shahu gains power in Miraj on 3 October 1739 and brings Maratha rule. In 1761, Harbhat Patwardhan's son, Gopalrao, took the Miraj Jagir from Peshwa Madhavrao. In 1801, the Miraj was divided into two parts, Miraj and Chintamanrao with Sangli. In 1819, British rule is established and in 1948, the Princedom of Miraj becomes part of the Republic of India.
Shilahara. (1000 to 1216)
At the end of the 9th century, the Silaharas of Kolhapur gained rule of Miraj. Jattiga II (circa 1000-1020 AD), the fourth ruler of Silahar dynasty, appears in the records of his son, Narasimha (circa 1050 to 1075 AD). Jattiga II was succeeded by his son, Gonka who has been described in inscriptions as the conqueror of Karahata (Karhad), Mirinj Miraj and Konkan. The Shilaharas were able to retain the rule of Miraj despite nearby military action by Chavan-raja, the general of Chalukya Jayasirhha II.
Yadavas and Bahamanis. (1216 to 1347)
In 1216, Miraj, along with other territories of Silaharas, was conquered by the Yadavas. In 1318, the Bahamanis gained control. Historian, Tazkirat-ul-Mulk, reported that Hasan, the founder of the Bahamani dynasty, was in the employ of the Saikh Muhammad Junaidi at Gangi near Miraj. Hasan found a treasure with which he raised an army, marched on Miraj. He defeated and imprisoned Rani Durgavati, the subhedar of Miraj and captured the town's fort. At the behest of Saikh Muhammad, the name of the town was changed to Mubarakabad in 1347 (748 Hijri).
The builder of the Miraj fort is unknown. It probably predates the Bahamani sultans even though they might have repaired it and increased its fortifications. They used the fort as a base for military expeditions against South Konkan and Goa. Firishta mentions the fort in an account of the rebellion of Bahadur Gilani in 1494, which was quelled by Sultan Muhammad II (1452–1515). Muhammad II took the fort from its governor, Buna Naik, who acquiesced to the new ruler. Gilani's troops were offered the options of joining Muhammad's army and being treated with leniency or leaving. About 2000 soldiers left the fort to join Gilani's rebel forces. The main entrance of the fortress was a huge gate about 30 ft (9.1 m) high but it has been demolished in recent times.
Fall of the Bahamani Empire
The power of the Bahamani rulers wained under the influence of powerful provincial governors. In 1490, the rule of Miraj passed to the Sultanate of Bijapur. During the later years of his reign, Ibrahim Ali Shah I (1534-1558), kept his son, Ali Adil Shah I (1558-1580) under house arrest in Miraj. On Ibrahim's death in 1580, Miraj became an point d' appui (an assembly point) for Ali's troops in his assuming the thrown. Subsequently, the troops of Miraj fought with Ismail against Ibrahim Adil Sah III.
Rise of the Maratha empire
By the mid-1640s the Muslim Bijapur sultanate was weakening.Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha empire, was growing in power. He went to battle against the Bijapuris and the Mughals. On 28 November 1659, (within 18 days of Afzal Khan's, the Bijapuri sardar's, death at Pratapgad, Panhala), the western Adil Sahi district was surrendered to Annaji Datto (Shivaji's finance minister). Unlike other towns, the Miraj fort resisted. Shivaji, who was encamped at Kolhapur, sent Netaji Palkar to besiege Miraj. In January, 1660, Shivaji arrived to personally command the three-month long ongoing siege. However, news of attacks by Siddi Johar and Fazal Khan caused his return to Panhala. The siege of Miraj was abandoned and negotiations began. Under the rule of Sambhaji, Maratha generals (Santaji Ghorpade and Dhanaji Jadhav) chose Miraj as a safe place for their families while they were conducting guerilla actions against the invading Aurangzeb forces of the Mughal emperor.
In 1687, Bijapur fell to the Mughals. Miraj remained under Mughal rule until 3 October 1739. On that day, it was captured by Chhatrapati Shahu after a military campaign of two years, reflecting the fall of the last defences of the Mughals.
The state of Miraj was founded prior to 1750. In 1761, Peshva Madhavrao gave the Miraj fort to Gopalrao Patwardhan. The Patwardhans of Miraj, who took the title, Raja were instrumental in the Peshwa military campaigns against Haider and the Tipu Sultan.
The Patwardhan dynasty ruled Miraj as the capital of a principality, overseen by British rule. Miraj was part of the southern division of the Bombay Presidency which in turn was part of the southern Mahratta Jagirs, and later the Deccan States Agency. In 1820, the state of Miraj was divided into Miraj senior and Miraj Junior. The territory of both regions was distributed among other native states and British districts. The area of Miraj Senior was 339 square miles (880 km2). In 1901, its population was 81, 467. Its revenue was £23,000 and the tax paid to the British was £800. The population of the town of Miraj in 1901 was 18, 425. It lay on a junction on the Southern Mahratta Railway.
|Climate data for Miraj|
|Average high °C (°F)||30.5
|Average low °C (°F)||14.1
|Precipitation mm (inches)||4.1
|Source:  "Government of Maharashtra"|
Hindustani classical music
Miraj is a popular place for artists to perform at Urus and Navratrotsav. The administrative office of the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya is at Miraj.
- Vishnu Digambar Paluskar
- Ustad Abdul Karim Khan
- Hirabai Badodekar
- Vinayakrao Patwardhan.
- Bal Gandharva made his debut performance at HansPrabha Theatre, Miraj. In the same location, the Balgandharva Natyagruha was named for him.
- Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, a doyen of the Kirana gharana, lies interred within the Khvaja Samsuddin Mira Saheb dargah. An annual music festival at the dargah takes place in his memory.
Miraj supplies Indian string instruments such as Sitar, Sarod and Tanpura. These are made of wood and specially treated gourds. The art of instrument making was developed by Faridsaheb Sitarmaker in 1700s and his descendants follow this tradition.
Miraj is an important junction on the Central Railway. It was the only junction to have all three rail gauges - broad gauge, narrow gauge and metre gauge. The last narrow gauge train departed on 1 November 2008. Miraj now has only broad gauge railway tracks. Miraj is connected by railway to Pune on the north, Kurduvadi via Pandharpur on north-northeast and Belgaum and Goa in the south. In February, 2011, passenger trains from Kolhapur to Solapur began running on the converted Miraj-Pandharpur-Kurduvadi broad gauge track.
Miraj lies off the Mumbai-Pune-Bangalore national highway, NH4.
- Exit NH4 at Pethvati Naka Chouraya while driving from north (from Mumbai and Pune).
- Exit NH4 at Shiroli Naka while driving from south (from Goa, Belgaum or Bangalore).
The two exits from NH4 form a triangle with Sangli and Miraj which lie about 50 km from each exit. Though the time taken to travel from Miraj is variable, depending on speed and other factors, Mumbai is about 7 hours and Bangalore is about 11 hours drive away.
In the 19th century, Miraj was recognised for its Vaidyas, practitioners of traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Within India, Miraj has the highest number of hospitals per capita. In the town, there are two medical colleges( govt. miraj medical college and PVPGH).
The Wanless Hospital, a major teaching hospital, was founded in Miraj in 1894. Its founder was Sir William James Wanless (1865-1933), a Canadian missionary physician. He was sent by the Presbyterian Church of the United States. In 1928, Wanless was knighted for his service to humanity by King George V.
Open heart surgery
In April, 1962, in Miraj, Dr. R. K. Padhi, an Indian cardiac surgeon trained in Canada, and Dr. A. G. Fletcher, a general and thoracic surgeon from the USA, performed the first successful open-heart operation in India at Miraj in April 1962. The "Miraj Heart Institute" is a tertiary referral centre for congenital and acquired cardiac diseases as well as thoracic & vascular problems, both elective as also emergent, providing for the medical needs of patients from the States of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa.
- Miraj Vidya Samiti's Vidya Mandir Prashala
- Rosary High School
- Miraj High School
- Jawahar High School and Jr. College
- Kanya Shala (School for Girls)
- St.Alphonsa Convent school
- New English School
- Ideal English School
- Saint Alphonsa Convent School
- Mahila Vikas Vidyalay
- R. M. High School
- Al-Fatah English School
- Bethesda English School
- Gulabrao Patil Trust's Cambridge School
- Adarsh Shikshan Mandir
- Balvantrao Marathe Vidhyalaya Miraj
- Marathi Boys school Miraj
- Vidya Mandir Prashala & Junior College, Miraj
- S.M. Dr. Bapuji Salunkhe College"
- Miraj Mahavidyalay Miraj.
- Balvantrao Marathe Vidhyalaya Miraj (Kannya High school Miraj )
Private coaching classes
- Ideal Institute of Biology, Miraj.
- Institute of Education, Miraj.
Places of worship
- Ganesh Temple
- The "Khaja Meersaheb dargah" was built in the 1300s. It is a secular site. The dargah hosts an annual music festival during the Juloos.
- The "Ambabai Temple" hosts a concert at Navratri.
- The Rosary Church, near the railway station was built at the beginning of the 20th century and was re-dedicated in 2006. On each eighth day of September, it hosts the annual feast of Our Lady of Good Health.
- The "Ayyappa Temple" is situated near the sales tax office. It was re-dedicated in 2000. Each Saturday, Mahaprasad (Annadanam) is given through the temple trust. Its main feast is in June.
- "Shantinath Digambar Jain Temple" is situated in Shaniwar peth,Near patil Houd
- "Neminath Jain Mandir" is situated in Shaniwar peth,Near Laxmi market.
- "Swetambar Jain Mandir" is situated Near Central Bus Stand &Railway Station..
- Shree Sant Venaswami Math
- Balaji Mandir
- Siddhivinayak Ganesh Mandir
- Shani Maruti Mandir
- Sir William James Wanless - Founder of Wanless Hospital.