Glass studded roof of Bukhari Pir Dargah
|• Type||Gram Panchayat|
|• Body||Mundra Gram Panchayat|
|Elevation||14 m (46 ft)|
|• Official||Gujarati, Hindi|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
Mundra is a census town and a headquarter of Mundra Taluka of Kutch district in the Indian state of Gujarat. Founded about 1640s, the town was important mercantile centre and port throughout its history. Mundra Port is the largest private port in India.
According to a legend, a Jain merchant Vardhaman Sheth approached Pir Hazrat Shah Murad Bukhari to pray for safety of his sinking cargo ship. Miraculously the ship was saved when Pir used his dhoti to prevent seawater from entering the ship. Vardhaman Sheth requested Pir to rename the town from Dumra to Muradabad in his respect but he declined as suggested to change to Munahara, lit. a picturesque town near a river. The name Mundra derived from Munahara. Many other miracles are attributed to the Pir. The legend also highlights a local custom among seafarers and merchants of visiting the Pir's shrine before going to the sea.
The town was fortified in 1728 by Devakaran Seth, Dewan of Deshalji I. Old Mundra town was walled and fortified with the masonry from the ruins of the ancient town of Bhadreshwar, twenty seven kilometre to the north-east. It is mentioned in the Bantvijaya Chronicles and the masonry was transported as late as Vikram Samvat 1817 (1760). It is also mentioned by James Burgess. Colonel Holland who visited it 1840s mentions that the walled town had 1.5 miles of circumference and 1500 houses.
In 1755, Mundra was held and defended by Godji II when he was in revolt against his father Rao Lakhpatji. He imposed charges on merchant entering and exiting the town to raise the funds on advise of Punja, his adviser. Lakhaptji angered by the act and sent an army to the town. Godji fled to Morbi, strengthen his army and recaptured the town from his father. They compromised and Godji was allowed to keep Mundra and Punja was forced to retire.
During Rao Rayadhan III' reign in 1778, he was forced to retire and the administration of the state was took over by Bar Bhayat ni Jamat (the council of twelve), a group of chiefs. A soldier Fateh Muhammad rose to dominance in 1792. In 1801, Mundra was given by Fateh Muhammad to another chief Dosal Ven. He later regained the town from him. Later it was given to Hansraj who also rose against him so he transferred it to his associate Muhammad Sota. In 1815, when held by Muhammad Sota, was unsuccessfully attacked by Rao Bharmalji II. In 1818, it is said to have a population of 1200 souls and to have yielded a revenue of £3000 (Rs 30,000). In 1855, the fort was in good repair and contained 1500 houses. In 1861, it was noted for petty carpets of stamped cotton. In 1879, there was a considerable trade with Kathiawar, Khambhat, Surat and Bombay. The chief exports were cotton, castor seed, pulse, wool and dyed cloth and the chief imports were metals, timber, grain, dates, grocery, and piece goods. In 1872, it had population of 7952. The town was base of many mercantile communities including Kutchi Oswal Vanias and Bhatias in 18th to early 20th century. The importance of town declined with the rise of Bombay (now Mumbai) and the construction of Rajputana railway in 1870s.
After independence of India in 1947, Cutch State acceded unto the dominion of India and was constituted an independent commissionaire, Kutch State. In 1956, Kutch State was merged with Bombay state, which in 1960 was divided into the new linguistic states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, with Kutch becoming part of Gujarat state. Mundra now falls under Kutch district of Gujarat.
In 1994, the Mundra Port was announced at Mundra. The operation started in October 1998. In subsequent years, the port expanded rapidly resulting in rapid expansion of town and population. During the January 2001 Gujarat earthquake, Mundra was the only place in the district of Kutch which was not affected by the devastation. Following the earthquake, the tax incentives were granted for setting up new industries in this district which led to the rapid industrialisation of this region. In 2014, Mundra Port surpassed Kandla in cargo handling and became the largest private port of India.
Places of interest
- The Mahadev temple has memorials to some sailors of town, including some who advised the Sultan of Zanzibar and guided Vasco da Gama to India.
- Dariyalal, the patron saint of Kutchi fisher-people has a dedicated temple.
- Bukhari Pir Dargah: Shah Murad Bukhari arrived ruled Khanate of Bukhara (now in Uzbekistan) but he was spiritually inclined. He came to India during the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb (1662) and lived at Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi for some time and later reached Kutch where he was welcome by Rao Tamachi and locals. He lived in Mundra from 1662 to 1670. When he died, a Dariya Pir Dargah (shrine) dedicated to him was built. Aurangzeb built a gate in his honor, which still stands and is known today as the Mughal Gate. The seafarers and merchants used to visit it for blessings before venturing into the sea. The shrine receives a large number of devotees returning from the pilgrimage to Hajipir in March–April.
- Fortification: The walls of the old city fortifications have a religious origin, as they were dragged from the ruins of the ancient city of Bhadravati (now Bhadresar).
- Navlakho Bungalow: a very large and handsome two-storied bungalow built by Laximdas Laddha, son of Laddha Damji who was a manager of firm of Jairam Shivji, a merchant banker who dominated commerce in East Africa in 18th and 19th century.
- Swali Sheri: The family of Jairam Shivji come to known as Swahili due to their business in East Africa where Swahili language is spoken. His family adopted the surname Swali and the street near his house came to known as Swali Sheri.
- A canopy (chhatra) raised over the footprints (paduka) of a Jain high priest of the Anchal Gaccha, 131⁄2 feet square inside, with a small spire over the marble slab on which the footprints arc engraved. The inside of the dome is neatly carved with a row of standing musicians. The outside of the dome is modern, but the screen wall, pillars, and interior are all old in thirteenth- or fourteenth-century style. As the inscription round the footprints is dated 1744, this shrine is probably the hall, mandap of an old temple. The front of the spire, shikhar over the marble slab bears the footprints of the Guru Harshaji, the disciple of Radhaji, the disciple of the Guru Jivaji, who died in Margashirsha Vad 10th of Samvat 1797 (1740) which is inscribed. Near this is a memorial stone, paliya, apparently, from the figure of a ship carved on it, raised to some seafarer. The canopy was destroyed in the 2001 earthquake.
- Shantinath Mahadev Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. It is located near Shantivan Colony, a township for employees of Adani Port, near Nana Kapaya village. The temple is surrounded by a garden.
- There are four Jain temples in town; Sheetalnath temple of Anchal Gaccha, Parshwanath temple of Tapa Gaccha, Mahavira temple of Kharatara Gaccha and Amizara Parshwanath temple of Gorji Trust.
- At Baroi, about a mile from Mundra, enclosed in a small court, is a temple of Nilkanth Mahadev, or the blue-necked Shiva, with, at the right side of the shrine door, an inscription dated 1667 (Samvat 1724). The linga is overshadowed by a large seven-headed brass snake. It is said to have been brought from the Shiva temple of Duda at Bhadresar.
Amenities and culture
Gaddhasar or Shastri Ground is the major playground in town. The transportation and medical facilities are available. Maharaoshri Khengarji Library in the old town is public library run by local administration.
In 1905, Aga Khan III started the Aga Khan School in Mundra, the first school what later became a large network of schools, Aga Khan Education Service. Other major schools are Government Primary School (Darbari), R. D. Highschool, St. Xavier's School, Calorx Public School (Samudra Township), Adani Public School. Khoja Lalji Sumar Primary School was founded in 1871.
There are commerce, arts and PTC colleges in the town.
Dabeli and Kadak are popular snacks of town.
Nani Ravadi and Moti Ravadi are local dance and procession festivals celebrated in Shravan month of Hindu calendar by seafaring communities of Kharva. Nava Naroj is celebrated as a starting day of new seafaring season. All other major Hindu and Muslim religious festivals are celebrated in the town including Diwali, Holi, Uttarayan, Muharram and Eids.
Mundra was well known for salt and spice trading in the past and now for tie-dye and block-printed textiles. The old harbor is virtually unusable today, and only small local fishing crafts navigate its silted waterways up the river.
The main source of income for the local people is agriculture, horticulture and wage labour. Mundra has a Date Palm Research Station operated by Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University converted from seed farm in 1969. Several people are employed in manufacturing companies, port and power stations.
There are two thermal power stations adjacent to Mundra, Mundra Ultra Mega Power Plant operated by Tata Power and Mundra Thermal Power Station operated by Adani Power. This power station generates over 8,600 MW of electricity. The coal for the power plant is imported primarily from Indonesia. Source of water for the power plant is sea water from the Gulf of Kutch.
- Goswami 2015, p. 94.
- Mehta, Makrand (2009). "Ports and Maritime Trade of Kutch". History of International Trade and Customs Duties in Gujarat. Vadodara: Darshak Itihas Nidhi. p. 55. OCLC 439922062.
- Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency: Cutch, Palanpur, and Mahi Kantha. Printed at the Government Central Press. 1880. pp. 213–215, 244–245. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- Goswami 2015, p. 95.
- James Burgess (1876). Report on the Antiquities of Kutch & Kathiawar: Being the Result of the Second Season's Operations of the Archaeological Survey of Western India, 1874-1875. London: India Museum. pp. 187, 217. Archived from the original on 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2016. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- Goswami 2015, p. 97.
- Goswami 2015, p. 98.
- Goswami 2015, pp. 101-108.
- Goswami 2015, p. 108.
- Pathak, Maulik (22 July 2013). "Mundra overtakes Kandla to emerge as India's largest port". Live Mint. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- Aniruddha Ray (2011). The Varied Facets of History: Essays in Honour of Aniruddha Ray. Primus Books. p. 265. ISBN 978-93-80607-16-0.
- Ashok Pratap Singh& Patiraj Kumari (2007). Psychological Implications in Industrial Performance. Global Vision Publishing House. p. 830. ISBN 978-81-8220-200-9.
- "Mundra". Gujarat Tourism. 19 September 2016. Archived from the original on 2 December 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- Goswami, Chhaya (18 February 2016). Globalization before Its Time: The Gujarati Merchants from Kachchh. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 222, 225. ISBN 978-93-85890-70-3.
- "4000 MW Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP)".
- "Indonesian nightmare for Tata, Adani, JSW, Lanco".
- Goswami, Chhaya (2015). "8. Mundra: A Tale of a Walled Port Town". In Keller, Sara; Pearson, Michael N. (eds.). Port Towns of Gujarat. Delhi: Primus Books with Darshak Itihas Nidhi, Vadodara. pp. 93–110. ISBN 978-93-84082-16-1. OCLC 905646412 – via academia.edu.
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