History of Rajapur
Rajapur came under the prominence during the rule of Mughals and Marathas. This place witnesses the collision between the Mughals and the Marathas in the medieval era. During the days of the Bijapur Sultanate regime, Rajapur in Maharashtra was important maritime trade centre due to a navigable creek that connects it to the Arabian Sea. The traders of French East India Company and the Portuguese traders came through this route for trade in India. It became an access point to the rich cities of Deccan for those involved in the Arabia-India commerce.
After defeating the Bijapuri general Afzal Khan, the Shivaji, the Maratha Emperor entered Ratnagiri district and started capturing the important ports and towns. Many Bijapuri generals fled to Rajapur because its governor, known by the title Rustam-i-Zamani, was on friendly terms with Shivaji.
Doroji, one of Shivaji's generals, attacked Rajapur. The English East India Company had stationed several men in the town, under the charge of Henry Revington to facilitate the trade of salt peter, pepper, calicoes and cotton. When Rustam-i-Zamani heard about the approach of the Maratha army, he procured funds from one of the brokers of English East India Company and escaped with the money in a junk (ship). Revington sent an English ship "Diamond" to stop him. When confronted by the English East India Company, Rustam-i-Zamani offered the company the ownership of two of his junks in lieu of payment. At the same time, the Marathas also arrived, and asked the English to hand over the junks to them. The English declined to oblige, unless they were given the money that Rustam-i-Zamani owed them. The angry Marathas seized two of the Company's brokers, Baghji and Balaji, in Jaitapur. When the English sent Philip Gyffard to demand their release, he was arrested as well. The three prisoners were taken to Kharepatan fort on 18th January 1660. Henry Revington wrote to Shivaji in February 1660, requesting their release. Meanwhile, the brokers had also pleaded for their release, and Shivaji issued an order to set them free. Shivaji also condemned the attack on Rajapur, dismissed Doroji and issued an order to restore all the loot from Rajapur. However, a rogue officer at Kharepatan refused to set Gyfford free unless he received a bribe. He decided to move Gyfford to another location, escorted by his small Maratha contingent. Revington dispatched an armed party that waylaid the contingent and rescued Gyfford by force.
The East India Company personnel at Rajapur maintained amicable relations with Shivaji until June 1660, when the Adil Shahi general Siddi Jauhar attacked Shivaji's camp at Panhala. During this siege, Siddi Jauhar used grenades purchased from the English East India Company at Rajapur. He also hired some English artillerymen who came to Panhala with an English flag, although the Company did not officially support him. Shivaji managed to escape from Panhala and decided to take revenge as he assumed that the Company had supported Siddi Jauhar. He plundered the English factory at Rajapur in December 1661. Shivaji captured four English traders like Henry Revington, Richard Taylor, Randolph Taylor and Philip Gyffard, who were imprisoned, first at Vasota and later at Songd. Shivaji's officer Raoji Pandit treated them well, but the Marathas demanded ransom for their release.
The English East India Company insisted that they had lost everything at Rajapur and would be unable to pay a ransom. Instead, they tried to negotiate their release in exchange for their support in capturing the Danda Rajpuri sea fort. This negotiation could not happen due to the absence of Shivaji, who was away on an expedition near Kalyan. The English prisoners wrote an angry letter to the President of English East India Company, who replied that they had been imprisoned not for performing the Company duties, but for illegally supporting Siddi Jauhar without the Company's permission. Subsequently, the four made an escape attempt, but they were caught and moved to Panhala.
Later, Shivaji came to know that the British East India Company had not officially supported Siddi Jauhar, and that some rogue personnel had joined Jauhar without the Company's permission. He ordered the release of the English prisoners in 1663. In a letter dated 6th February 1663, Shivaji also assured that English would enjoy his protection in future. The British East India Company informed him about the losses suffered by them at Rajapur, and tried to negotiate a settlement. In 1672, Shivaji offered them 5000 pagodas towards the losses.
Demography of Rajapur
According to the population Census in the year 2001 India, Rajapur had a population of 10,499. Male constitute 50 percent of the population and female 50 percent. Rajapur has an average literacy rate of 78 percent, higher than the national average of 59.5 percent. The male literacy rate is 82 percent, and female literacy rate is 74 percent. In Rajapur, 12 percent of the population is under 6 years of age.
Tourism in Rajapur
Tourism of Rajapur covers the tourist importance like Rajapurchi Ganga, Dhoot Papeshwar Temple and Hot Water Spring, Mahakali Temple, Yeshwantgad, Kankaditya Sun Temple and many other places. This place in Ratnagiri District deals with the pilgrimage tourism sites, nature tourism sites and the leisure tourism sites. The ancient port city in Ratnagiri district witnesses the medieval history of Marathas with their forts, fortress and many other place of historical importance.
Rajapur in Maharashtra is well connected to Mumbai and Goa by Konkan Railway as well as by Road. The local sightseeing can be seen by auto or car.
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