The Naneghat pass
Naneghat is a mountain pass in the Western Ghats range near Junnar in Pune district of Maharashtra, India. During the reign of the Satavahana (200 BCE–190 CE), the pass was extensively used as a trade route between Kalyan and Junnar. Literally, the name nane means "coin" and ghat means "pass". The name is given because this path was used as a tollbooth to collect toll from traders crossing the hills. The location is ideal for star gazing and star photography.
The inscriptions in the caves indicate that they are the work of the consorts of the Satavahana ruler Satakarni. These inscriptions are dated between 60 and 70 BCE. It is believed that Satakarni's wife Naganika commissioned the cave, the statues and the inscriptions. Brahmi inscriptions in the cave mention her and her family members.
One of the caves originally contained life-size relief sculptures of eight persons. These sculptures have now faded, but some of them can be identified using the Brahmi labels carved over their heads. The first name is that of Raya-si (illustrious king) Simuka Satavahana. Next appear Sirimato Devi (queen) Naganika/Nayanika and Rano (king) Satakarni. The fourth name is that of Kumara (prince) Bhayala. The fifth name is lost, while the sixth name is that of the Maharathi (great charioteer) Tranakayira. The last two names are of the princes Haku-shri and Satavahana.
The walls of the same cave contain a long, partially-damaged inscription of a queen, whose name is unclear. The queen is believed to be Naganika, mentioned in the label described above. According to the inscription, the queen was the wife of Satakarni and mother of Vedashri; her father was a great warrior from the Angiya family of the Nagas. The inscription suggests that she was leading a life befitting a widow, and describes 18 sacrifices she had participated in. Some of these sacrifices (including two ashvamedhas and one rajasuya) would have been performed when her husband was still alive. In the Pratima-nataka of Bhāsa, Bharata realizes that his father Dasharatha is dead when he sees his statue with that of his other ancestors in a pratima-griha (stone house). Based on this reference, some historians argue that Naneghat portrait gallery was created when the kings and the princes were dead. V V Mirashi suggests that the figures were carved in instalments: the first six during the reign of Satakarni, and the last two after the death of the princes Haku-shri and Satavahana.
The Naneghat records have proved very important in establishing the history of the region. Vedic Gods like Yama (Hinduism) Indra, Chandra and Surya are mentioned here. The mention of Samkarsana and Vasudeva indicate the prevalence of Bhagavata form of Hinduism in the Satavahana dynasty. There is a big stone cut "Pot" meant for collection of the toll from the traders. There are many rock cut water cisterns along the pass. The entire path of the Nane Ghat has stone pavement from top of the hill to the bottom. The inscriptions are preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India. Very beautiful temple of lord Ganesha in cave is found here.
How to reach
Nane Ghat is situated at about 55 km from Kalyan. One can reach the base village Vaishakare by boarding the state transport bus passing through Malshej Ghat. From Vaishakare it is about 1/2 an hour walk along the road to Malshej Ghat to reach the divergence for Nane Ghat. There is a board indicating the divergence so finding the divergence is not difficult. Naneghat offers different beauty in different seasons. In summer and winter, when there are no clouds, views of Jivdhan and Dhakoba are awesome. It can easily be reached by motorable road from Junnar and Malshej
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