Saturday, May 30, 2015

A snapshot of Rajpipla State

A first-class princely state, the largest in the Rewa Kantha Agency of the Bombay Presidency, at the time of merger with the Union of India in 1948, Rajpipla was ruled by the Gohil Rajput dynasty for 600 years. Around 1340, Kumar Shri Samarsinhji Mokhdaji, second son of Thakur Mokhdaji Ranoji Gohil (reign 1309-1347) of Ghogha, in present-day Gohilwar in south Saurashtra, was adopted by his maternal grandfather Rao Chokrana, a Parmar Rajput prince of Ujjain (Malwa), who was ruling in Rajpipla at the time. Chokrana Parmar’s daughter was the younger queen of Mokhdaji Gohil. When Chokrana died without a male heir, Samarsinhji succeded to the gadi of Rajpipla at Junaraj (Old Rajpipla) Fort deep in the forests of the Satpura hills, and assumed the name Arjunsinhji. The rule of the principality of Rajpipla thereby passed on to the Gohil Rajput clan. Mokhdaji’s first son Dungarsinhji by his elder queen succeeded him to the gadi of Ghogha (later Bhavnagar) with its capital at Pirambet island in the Gulf of Cambay.

The 13-gun salute Rajpipla State was situated largely between the rivers Narmada and Tapti. Spanning an area of about 4,000 square kilometres, of which 1550 square kilometres were forests, the rest being fertile agricultural plains and river valleys, Rajpipla grew to be one of the most prosperous princely states in Gujarat, second only to Baroda. It was also known for its cornelian and agate mines, and the famous Cup of Ptolemy is reputed to have come from the mines at Limbodra in Rajpipla State. Its capital town of Rajpipla (Nandod or New Rajpipla) is now headquarters of Narmada district.

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