Thursday, July 31, 2008

ON THE HISTORIC CORRIDOR OF POSHINA, SABARKANTHA, GUJARAT





















Long time back...one fine day the army of Delhi Sultanate was passing through the remote Aravali foothills, which now forms the northern most part of Gujarat in the district of Sabarkantha. The army of Delhi Sultanate however had to face an embracing situation at a spot which is now called Poshina. Like today, Bhils were the main inhabitants of the area during that time. The Bhils, a scion of Rajputs have been known for their archery skills for generations. It is believed that in the local lore that the Bhils looted and plundered the Sultanate army up to the extent that the soldiers had to lose all their cloths. The army general recounted the whole story to the Sultan in Persian. He revealed ‘pos – ih –na’ - pos – poshak (cloth) – ih (here) and na (not).

Poshina though tiny and not much known due to its remote location is yet shrouded in history. In its hostile terrains were fought battles between rival Rajput clans during the medieval time. The Rajputs also built chhatries (the royal cenotaphs) and the Nilkantheswar Mahadev Temple.

From the history books we come to know about the Muslim rule – how it had caused panic among the Rajputs who were once ruling in the most prosperous plains of western and central India. Due to fear of attack many of the Rajputs fled to the remote Aravali for the shelter. One of these was the Rathores who were the founder of Poshina.

However, Rathores' supremacy did not last long. Vaghelas of Patan had been invited by the Jain Vanias to live in Poshina peacefully. But the Vaghelas did not want to lose the opportunity to rule. They defeated the weaker Rathores in a battle in the year 1625 AD. The archaeological remains of Jadavgarh near Kazavas on the bank of river Sei stands as a mute testimony of this historic battle. Jadavgarh was however abandoned by the Vaghelas who preferred to build their palace in a hillock near the confluence of two rivers Vanari and Sei.

Today the 17th century Darbargarh, now a heritage hotel and the palace of the erstwhile Vaghela rulers, is one of the most charming Rajput forts of Gujarat. A visit to the place is like going back in time into the mystic past of Poshina.

Time has stood still in Poshina. Far from hustle and bustle, the village offers a distinct charm of India’s rural and tribal life. Its bazaar, artisans and colourful people mostly from the nearby hamlets are wonderful sights of Poshina. Yet the most unique among all is the two shrines near the river banks where one finds thousands of terracotta horses kept in rows. The horses are offered by the locals representing by all the communities to Angari Mata and Demi Mata.