Dhule district is a district of Maharashtra state in western region of India. The city of Dhule is the administrative headquarters of the district.
The Dhule district previously comprised tracts of land predominantly inhabited by tribal population. The Dhule district was then bifurcated on 1 July 1998 into two separate districts now known as Dhule and Nandurbar, the latter comprising the tribal region. Agriculture remains the basic profession of the population in this district. Most parts of the district are not under irrigation and thus cultivation heavily depends on regular Monsoon or rain water. Apart from wheat, bajra, jowar or jwari, onion the most favored commercial crop is cotton. Majority of the population in the rural area speaks Ahirani (a dialect of Marathi) language, however Marathi is more widely spoken in the urban areas. Around 26.11% population of Dhule district resides in urban area.The Dhule District is a part of Maharashtra’s historical region of Khandesh. Although for administrative purpose it is now clubbed to Nashik Division.
The district of Dhulia was previously known as West Khandesh district. The ancient name of this region was Rasika. It is bounded on the east by Berar (Ancient Vidarbha), on the north by the Nemad district (Ancient Anupa) and on the south by the Aurangabad (ancient Mulaka) and Bhir (ancient Asmaka) districts. Later the country came to be called as Seunadesa after the king, Seunchandra of the early Yadava dynasty, who ruled over it. Subsequently its name was changed to Khandesh to suit the title khan given to the Faruqi kings by King Ahmad I of Gujarat.
During Aryan penetration to the Deccan, Agastya was the first Aryan who crossed Vindhya and resided on the bank of Godavari. This territory was included in the empire of Ashoka the Great. Pushyamitra, the founder of Shunga dynasty overthrew Maurya dynasty. Later on Satavahan ruled over the region.
About A.D. 250, the Satavahans were supplanted by the Abhiras or Ahirs in Western Maharashtra (Region Isvarsena). The names of feudatories of Abhiras that ruled in Khandesh was found from copperplates discovered at Kalachala (Gujarath) and Cave X5II at Ajanta. After downfall of Satavahans the Vakatakas rose to power in Vidarbha. The Vakatakas were over thrown by Rastrakuta family. This region was ruled by Chalukyas of Badami and subsequently Yadavas.
In A.D. 1296, Ala-ud-din Khilji invaded Ramachandra Yadava who agreed to pay a heavy ransom. His son Sankaragana discontinued sending the stipulated tribute to Delhi and then defected and slain by Malik Kafur in A.D. 1318.
In 1345, Devagiri was passed into the hands of Hasan Gangu, the founder of Bahamani dynasty. However, Khandesh formed Southern boundaries of the Tashlug empire.
In 1370, Firoz Taghluq assigned the district of Thalner and Karavanda to Malik Raja Faruqui, the founder of the Faruqui dynasty. His family claimed the descent from Khaliph Umer Faruq. He established himself at Thalner. The governor of Gujarat honored Malik Raja with the little ‘Sipahsalar of Khandesh’. From the little Khan the region came to be known as ‘Khandesh’ the country of Khan. During the period, a rich ahir ‘Asa’ of Asirgad had many storehouses in Gondvana and Khandesh which were opened in order to sell the corn. However his wife was of a charitable disposition persuaded Asa to allow the grains to be distributed to the poor and suffering without payment to which Asa agreed. It was also with a view to employ many of the sufferers as labours that Asa leveled the old wall of Asir and constructed a fort built of masonry. Asa also distributed food to aged and decrepit who were unable to perform manual labour. The Ahir chief in spite of his wealth and strength of this fort, without any struggle acknowledged the supremacy of Malik Raja bequeathed Laling to his elder son Malik Nasir and Thalner to Malik Iftikar.
Malik Nasir had decided that upon seizing Asirgad, he would make it his own capital. He therefore wrote to Asa complaining that he was in great problems as the chief of Baglana, Antur and Kherla were rising against him. Of those; two had collected large forces. Laling, to close to enemy territories was not a safe retreat. He requested Asa to afford his family a safe retreat. Asa ordered suitable apartments to be filled up for the Malik Nasir’s ladies. Shortly after that several covered litters with women were brought to into Asirgad and were visited by Asa’s wife and daughters. Next day another of 200 litters arrived reportedly occupied by Malik Nasir’s family. Asa along with his son went to receive them but to his astonishment instead of women, he found the litters full of armed soldiers who leapt up and murdered Asa and his innocent sons in cold blood. Not a single male child in the family was left alive. The treacherous and cunning Malik Nasir returned from his camp at laling to the Asirgad fort. Shortly after this a disciple of Shaikh Zain Uddin, the tutelary saint of the family came to congratulate Malik Nasir on his success. On his advice, Malik Nasir built two cities on the bank of Tapi, on the east Bank called Zainabad after the Saikh and the other on the west Bank called Burhanpur after Saikh Burhanuddin of Daulatabad. The Burhanpur became the capital of farugui dynasty. In 1917 Malik Nasir defected his younger brother Malik Iftikar.
On 6 January 1601 Khandesh came under Akbar regime. Khandesh was fancifully named by Akbar a Dandes after his son Daniyal. In 1634 Khandesh was made into a Suba.
On 3 June 1818 the Peshva surrendered himself before British and Khandesh came under British rule. It was part of Khandesh district till that district was divided in 1906, and although the present name was not used then, the present district can be traced back to that year.
Tourism in Dhule
Dhule city is famous for its town planning since the British were ruling India and it stands third in the country, immediately after Chandigarh and Jaipur as one of the very few well planned cities in India. Town planning of Dhule has been done by Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya According to sources, the only sand bed water filtration plant in India is located at Dedargaon Pool near Dhule City. Dhule is surrounded with various old heritage forts like Laling, Songir, Bhamer.
Dhule has a lot to offer to tourists. Dhule has serene worship places like Ekvira mandir, Swaminarayan Mandir, Gurudwara etc. The district is strewn with a number of temples, many of them ancient, which are much visited by the pilgrims. The prominent tourist attractions in the district can be found in the form of temples and forts. There are many temples in the classical Hemadpanthi-style here. Apart from the many temples, the district abounds in forts. There are numerous forts that the tourists in the district can visit. Some of the worth visiting places in Dhule are:
1) Rajwade Museum:
Sir Vishwanath Kashinath Rajwade, the great historian of Maharashtra, died on 31 December 1926, leaving behind a good collection of Sanskrit and Marathi manuscripts numbering about 3500 and also a collection of historical documents and papers. The Mandal was established on 9 January 1927 at Dhule with the object of erecting a fire proof building to house the late Shri Rajwade’s collection for safe keep and making it available to scholars and students working in the field of history, sociology and literature. The object of building a fire proof building was achieved on 5 January 1932, when the building of Rajwade Sanshodhan Mandal was opened. The Mandal is interested in carrying out research work and publication. Soon the mandal published “Dhatu Kosh” and “Namadi Shabda Vyutpati Kosh”. The Mandal runs a journal ‘Sanshodhak’ through which much of the writing of the late Rajwade has been published.
The Rajwade Sanshodhan Mandal Museum (founded in 1932) maintains collection of prehistoric stone implements and pottery, Mughal and Rajput paintings, copper plates, coins, sculptures, and old fine manuscripts. There is also a picture gallery exhibiting large portraits of many historical personages a well as research scholars.
The Mandal has a fairly good library containing books on history, philosophy, education, politics, biology etc.
2) Ekvira Mata Temple:
The Ekvira Mata temple is very famous in Dhule City. Situated on the banks of the Panjhara river, the temple houses the idol of Great Goddess Ekvira Mata, where devotees throng to offer prayers daily. The Ekvira Devi Temple is the pride of Dhule City. Here every year in Chaitrya and Ashwin month of Marathi Calendar a Yatra or Jatra is held. This is very calm and beautiful place. A big fair is held during occasion of ‘Navaratri’.
3) Shri Samartha Vagdevta Mandir:
The Shri Samartha Vagdevta Mandir is an invaluable and priceless treasure house of manuscripts, letters and chronicles of history importance. It is a glorious branch of the mother Institute- SATKARYOTTEJAK SABHA and is established in 1935.
The founder of this institute, the late Shri. Nana-Saheb Deo then leading legal practitioner of Dhule began his work of collection, research and publication of the literature of about 300 saints. This collection is kept, preserved and studied in this institution and hence is a place of worship of the Goddess of Literature Vagdevta.
This treasure of manuscripts contains researched and non-researched as well the manuscripts, papers, letters and badas. This collection is kept here to welcome the scholars, the learned and learners coming from all over the country and even from abroad. The manuscripts are in different languages and on different subjects.
4) Shiv Teerth Circle:
This a place for people’s recreation which also has a statue of Shivaji and Shahid Smarak in memories of Shahid Abdul Hamid, who was Hero of Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. Shahid Abdul Hamid was posthumously awarded by the India’s highest military decoration Param Vir Chakra. One of the captured Pakistani Patton tanks by him is being displayed here.
5) Gurudwara of Dhule
The place where the Guru Granth Sahib is installed and treated with due respect according to Sikh code of conduct and convention can be referred to as a Gurdwara, whether it is a room in one’s own house or a separate building. This gurudwara “Gurunanak Saheb ji” is situated on the Mumabi Agra national highway. This Gurdwara was built in the year 1965 by Late Shri Sant Baba Sadhusinghji Muni. After him, it was managed by Shri Sant Baba Niranjansinghji from Agra and now it is managed by Shri Sant Baba Dhirajsinghji.
Local transportation such as auto rickshaws is available to reach to this place. Peculiar to this place is that it is open to people of all religions. The birth anniversaries of the first guru, Guru Nanakdevji and tenth guru, Guru Govindsinghji are celebrated as festivals with great enthusiasm.
This Gurdwara is developed on 7 acres of land. This Gurdwara have a huge ‘Langar’ hall which is opened 24 hours a day. People from all religion & tradition visit this holy place for blessings, to offer services and to attend festival celebrations. Gurdwara has a beautiful inner golden roof with hanging Jhoomar at the centre. Gurdwara is one of the centers of attraction of Dhule city, situated on bypass of NH-3 near Mohadi Upnagar.
People from Manmad, Amalner, Nasik and Shirdi visit in large numbers during festivals. Most people heading for Nanded take a halt at this holy place.
There is a big Garden on the Gurdwara premises. Children are provided with the knowledge of Bhajan–Kirtan, spiritual learning. It is identified from a distance by tall flag-poles bearing the Nishan Sahib, the Sikh flag.
6) Laling Fort:
Dhulia is known for an old and ruined fort occupying the top of the hill, presently managed by the grandson of Malik Raja Faruqui, this fort is believed to be constructed during his reign. It is a place of considerable antiquity and the fort is supposed to have been built during the region of Malik Raja Faruqui, who subsequently granted to it to his eldest son. It was in this fort that, Nasir Khan and his son Miran Adil Khan were besieged in 1437 by the Bhanrnani general till they were relieved by an army advancing from Gujarat. Laling has also two Hemadpanti temples who are in a bad condition and a rained hemadpanti well.
Present Condition of Laling Fort: Presently, Laling Fort is lying in a ruined and dilapidated state. It is now being developed as a tourist destination. The structure is maintained by the Government of India.
Landor Bungalow, Dhule: It was originally a Government Rest House and later this cottage has become one of the most frequently visited outdoor tourist spot for the localities. It is located around 12 km South West of Dhule City and is based on a cliff in a forest area and overhangs a beautiful waterfall based on a small stream. It is believed that, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, who was a social reformer and Independent India’s first law minister and the principal architect of the Constitution of India, stayed at this place. His belongings have been preserved here till date. It is very much a quiet place to find solace from the crowded city. The surrounding forest has a pretty decent variety of birds, a pleasure for bird watchers.
Proposed Butterfly Garden at Laling:
Laling forest area has spread over an area of 4200 hectares and have got status of “forest region” during 2014. A very big and unique butterfly garden has been proposed in this green, calm, mountain area, which will be dedicated to different and rare species of butterflies and will be an array of displays depicting the unique life pattern, paintings, culture, and traditions of Adivasi.
An artificial waterfall/ fountain shall also be formed in the center of garden. The proposed butterfly garden shall not only be interesting from the tourist’s angle but also from the educational aspect so as to provide information about species of butterfly, various flowers, and shall feature Adivasi culture.
7) Dhamma Sarovara :
Dhamma Sarovara, meaning Lake of Dhamma, is near the Dedargaon water plant on the Mumbai-Agra Road, occupying a very calm and peaceful 35-acre site. The Centre can presently serve about 80 students (50 male and 30 female), with a Dhamma Hall that can comfortably seat 80 and a pagoda with 40 cells. Double and triple-sharing accommodation is available. The dining hall and kitchen are presently temporary structures.
8) Gajanan Maharaj Temple:
A replica of the temple of Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon, Maharashtra has been built on Gondur Road, leading towards the airport and near the district stadium.
9) Swami Narayan Mandir/ Swaminarayan Sanstha :
BAPS Swami Narayan Mandir, Dhule is one of the first things that comes to the mind of many people, while discussing Dhule. It’s true that there are quite a few other interesting things to see and do too. However, like all other attractions, the BAPS Swami Narayan Mandir in Dhule also has its own brand of unique charm.
10) Tower Garden/ Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Udyan: Situated at the one end of J. B. Road in city. This garden is nice place for public to spend quality evening time and perfect picnic spot for children’s.
11) Ichhapurti Mandir: Temple of Lord Ganesha, also known as Wish-fulfilling temple, situated along side NH-6 towards Sakri.
12) Santoshi Mata Mandir: Temple in heart of city & Friday is observed rush period.
13) Lal Baugh Maruti Mandir: Temple of Shri Hanuman ji in heart of city.
14) Badi Jama Masjid: Place for Muslims to pray.
15) Deopur Church: Place for Christians to pray.
16) Seventh Day Adventist Church: Place for Christians to pray.
17) Sambhavnath Bhagwan Temple: Jain temple located near Shiv Teertha Circle.
18) Shahi Jama alias Khuni Mosque: Place for Muslims to pray.
19) Shree Vimalnath Bhagwan Tirth, Balsana, Sakri, Dhule:
Pratima (Idol) of Shree Vimalnath Bhagwan was found by a farmer while ploughing his field. This 77 inches pratima was kept in the farmers house at the village Balsana, in Dhule District of Maharashtra. Param Pujya Acharya Shrimad Vijay Vidyanand Surishwarji, who was then a Muni and was in the vicinity of Dhule, heard about this. He went to Balsana and visited the farmer. Param Pujya Shree convinced the farmer to hand over the Pratima to the Jains, so that proper care and puja according to Jain Rituals could be performed. The farmer agreed.
Param Pujya Shree Vidyanandji Maharaj Saheb then called a meeting of many Jain Sanghs. After careful deliberations and upon suggestions of all Jain Sanghs present, he decided and declared that Shree Shitalnath Bhagwan Sanstha, Dhule will own, build and manage temple of Shree Vimalnath Bhagwan, at Balsana. Till date this temple is owned and governed by Dhule Sangh.
20) Shirud Temple:
Shirud is famous for a temple devoted to the Goddess Kali, which was built in Hemadpanthi Style. Located on the confluence of two rivers, this village lies in outskirts of city at about 21 km on NH-211. The holy place where the Kali Devi temple is located has been declared as a protected site because of its historical importance. As per history, this temple was constructed in 1200 AD, which was later reconstructed at the time Maratha regime. Major attraction of this temple is the celebration of the famous Navratri Festival. Celebrated for almost a period of 10 days, a fair known as Jatra is held during February.
21) Anerdam Wildlife Sanctuary:
Anerdam Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on southwestern range of Satpura range in Shirpur Tehsil of Dhule District. It shares boundaries with Yawal sanctuary other sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh. The sanctuary was once very rich in wildlife, now it is trying to regain its previous status. The best time to visit the sanctuary is November to February. Common animals and birds found in this area are: -Animals: Barking Deer’s, Chikaras, Hares, Porcupines and Jungle Cats. Monitor Lizard is the common reptile in this sanctuary. -Migrant Animals: Hyenas, jackals, wolves and wild boars -Birds: Peafs, qualis, partridges, egrets, herons, cormorants, corts, spot bills and owls -Migrant Birds: Brahminy Ducks, cranes, stokes and waders.
22) Songir Fort:
The Songir Fort consists of an old well and a reservoir alongside the ruins of an old water system. Dhule is recognized for its Songir Fort, constructed in the year 1820 and contains inscription of Ugrasen, son of Raja Mansingh presenting the bravery of Ugrasen at its entrance gate.
Songir in known for its antique fort. It was previously the chief town of Songir Sub division which was subsequently, abolished and Songir incorporated in Dhule Taluka in 1820. It is of same manufacturing importance with skilled workers in brass and copper.
The historic fort has easy access and is entered through a stone gate still in good order. An inscription on this gate dated ‘Shake’ 1497 (1575A.D.) only state that ‘Ugrasen, son of Mansingh was very brave’. Inside the fort there is a handsome old reservoir and a fine old well. Remains of broken pipes of the old water systems that must have existed on the fort in the days gone could still be seen.
23) Dedargaon Spot: Place for nature lovers. Also, a cool place for photography.
24) Gondur Garden: Place for boating. Also, a cool place to have conversations.
25) Haranmal Spot: Place for peace. Also, a cool place to chill with friends.
26) Nakane Spot: Place for water lovers. Also, a cool place to hangout with friends.
27) Gondur Tekdi: Place for singing. Also, a cool place for peace.