Life-sketch and philanthropy
Jagdu Shah was a renowned merchant who lived in Kutch, India in the 13th century. He owned many ships, which he used to travel west to Persia, Arabia and Africa. He traded mainly in grains, cotton and spices He also was a great philanthropist and even today is remembered for his charitable and philanthropic deeds.
Jagdu Shah was son of a Jain merchant named Solsha, who later migrated from Mandavi to Bhadreshwar. He inherited his father's business and expanded trade and earned great wealth. He married a pious lady named Yashomati and had one son.
He was given titles of honour like Sheth and Shahsaudagar and Daan-veer. Jagdu Shah was so rich that when in years 1257–1259, a great famine struck Kutch he distributed free food continuously for three years across Cutch and Kathiawar, saving thousands of lives. His name and fame for this generosity gained so much that famine came to be known as Jagdu Shah's famine. Today, there are various stories,poems,etc. about his generosity in many languages.
Jagdu Shah is known to have renovated the old Bhadreswar Jain Temple around 1259, that is 1315 according to the Vikram Samvant calendar. Further, he is said to have built a fort around Bhadreshwar for protection of port-city. Also he is said to have spent funds for renovation of Hindu temples. Further, he is credited to have even built a mosque in Bhadreshwar, for the benefit of Muslim traders, who used to come by ship for trading. These mosques called Duda Masjid and Duda vaav located at Bhadreshwar, are very old and which are reliably dated to the late 12th century, meaning they predate the well-known Islamic architecture of Ahmedabad by 250 years or so, making them in all likelihood the first mosques built in India
Jagdusha is also accredited to have rebuilt and repaired the historic Jain temples at Vasai, near Bhadreshwar in Kutch. It was here, a Jain Muni, named Deva Suri, apprised him of a famine, which will strike after a few years and instructed him to store grains for such an event and spend his wealth for benefit of mankind.
Further, he is accredited to have built the existing temple of Goddess Harsiddhi located at ancient port of Miyani, near Porbandar. It was believed that if the eyesight of Goddess Harsidhhi fell on the ship, whose original temple was top of the hill, it would be burnt or wrecked. Incidentally, Jagdu Shah happened to travel in the sea, which fell within goddess's territory. Six of the fleet of seven ships of Jagdu Shah got submerged into sea facing the temple. Jagdu Shah then prayed to deity for his safety and his ship reached shore safely. Apprehensive of the deity's curse, Jagdusha went to the temple and observed fast for three days to propitiate the goddess. She was pleased and Jagdusha and gave him darshana. He then implored her to come down the hill, so that her eyes would not fall on in coming ships. He promised the goddess that he would build a new temple for her. As the legend goes, the deity agreed to acceded to his request if he would sacrifice a buffalo each on the 108 steps leading down the hill. Jagdu Shah was perplexed as being follower of Jainism, he believed in ahimsa. However, a man of his words, he decided to give sacrifice of buffaloes but to his surprise 108 buffaloes he had brought fell short. So he decided to sacrifice himself and his family to fulfill his words. At this point Goddess Harsidhhi was pleased and bestowed upon him the boon that this will be his last birth and he will get moksha after his death and his idol will also be worshiped alongside hers at Harsidhhi temple. You can accordingly see an idol of Jagdu Shah at Harsiddhi temple, which is placed at right side of main idol of goddess in temple. Upon this, Jagdu Shah also asked Goddess to bring back to life the buffaloes he had sacrificed.
- The ruins of palace of Jagdu Shah can be seen at Bhadreshwar in Kutch, which now is a place of tourist interest of the town.
- There is also a place, where the ruins of a tower built during famine to give people job, located on opposite banks of Aji river near Rajkot, which is known as Jagdu Shah's Tower.
- In present days, a locality in Ghatkopar suburb of Mumbai is named Jagdusha Nagar, after him.
- Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency: Káthiáwar. Govt Central Press. 1884. p. 439.
- Chatterjee, Bhaskar; Choudhury, Rabin Dev; Bhattacharyya, Mandira; Singh, Shri Bhagwan (1989). History and archaeology: Prof. H.D. Sankalia felicitation volume. p. 406.
- કચ્છની ધીંગી ધરાનું અણમોલ અને મહામુલું પુષ્પ એટલે દાનવીર જગડૂશાહ Gujarat Samachar 11 November 2011
- V.K. Jain, Trade and Traders in Western India (AD 1000–1300), Delhi, 1990, p. 107.
- Institute, Indian Research (1984). Indian culture: journal of the Indian Research Institute, Volume 3, Part 1. p. 89.
- Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency: Káthiáwar. 1884. pp. 190, 191, 439.
- Shree Jain Prarthana Mandir Trust (Madras, India) (1972). Teerth darshan, Volume 2. p. 568.
- Archaeological survey of western India: Reports. Old series, Volumes 1–8. Government Central Press, 1874. 1874. p. 14.
-  Report on the architectural and archaeological remains in the provinces of Kachh by Dalpatrām Prānjīvan Khakhar, 1978 page 65
- JAGDU CHARITRA, BOMBAY, 1896 Indian merchants and entrepreneurs in historical perspective: By Makrand Mehta 1991, PAGE 86
- ૧૩ કવચના ગરબા ગાઈ નાગર, સોની અને વણિક જ્ઞાાતી દ્વારા થતી માંની ભક્તિ Gujarat Samachar 29 September 2011.
- Jagdu Shah Palace, Bhadreshwar
- ઉમંગ’ની ઝલકમાં ઝળકયું ગુજરાત Gujarat Samachar 16 January 2011
- વસઇ તીર્થમાં ‘કચ્છના દાનવીર શેઠ જગડુશા’ નાટકની જમાવટ Divya Bhaskar-03-06-2010
- જમાદાર ફતેહમહંમદ અને શેઠ જગડુશા રણમાં પહોંચ્યા ! Divya Bhaskar 29 December 2010
- શેઠ પળવાર વિચારમાં પડી ગયા જે હાથ દાન દેનાર હોય તે હાથ આજે દાન લેવા માટે કેમ લંબાયો હશે? A Story from life of Jagdu Shah published in newspaper.
- કચ્છની ધીંગી ધરાનું અણમોલ અને મહામુલું પુષ્પ એટલે દાનવીર જગડૂશાહ Another Story from life of Jagdu Shah published in newspaper.
- Jagadu Charitra, Bombay, 1896 – A book on life of Jagdu Shah