History of Mahabaleshwar
Mahabaleshwar was under the subjection of different rulers, Hindus and Muslims since the beginning of the 17th century. King Singhan was the first to discover the Old Mahabaleshwar and constructed the popular Mahabaleshwar temple. This place was then occupied by Shivaji Maharaj in the 17th century who built the iconic Pratapgad Fort there. Later, the city of Mahabaleshwar went in the hands of the Britishers during their reign in the 19th century. Present city of Mahabaleshwar was thus discovered by Sir John Malcolm.
Early History of Mahabaleshwar
British Foundation in MahabaleshwarThe name of Colonel Lodwick is written in the history of the city with golden letters. Its origin owes a lot to the Britishers that are believed to have discovered this lonely hill station. British people were the one who brought a considerable focus to the city of Mahabaleshwar.
Late General P Lodwick was the first European visitor to this place. After hearing about the boundless beauty of the place from the Late King of Satara, he decided to explore it during the summer of 1824. Lodwick made his way through the dense forests walking with the help of a stick in his hands and proceeded to the edge of the forests without facing any encounter with the wild beasts inhabiting the place in numbers at that time. However, after completing two days of his journey he found that his dog resting close to him was carried off by a panther.
He then became the first one to bring this subject to the notice of people via the medium of newspapers and was followed by General Briggs, who was the resident of Satara. In 1826, General Briggs built a cottage in that place and convinced the Raja of Satara to construct a carriage road from his capital. This matter was then jealously taken over by Sir J Malcolm, the Governor of Bombay during 1827-1830, who established an experimental hospital for the European soldiers.
Sir J. Malcolm brought Dr. Williamson to the hills during November 1828, who was specially appointed for reporting on the climate and fitness of the localities at the station for a sanatorium. Some sites were finally selected for public buildings and Raja made proclamation inviting the settlers to his new village namely Malcolm Peth or Malcolm Ville.
Raja also agreed to construct a road over the hill and down the Radtondya or Rotunda pass to the British territory in Konkan. Also, the former English government agreed to build a similar kind of road to the Par Pass through Mahad to Dasganv in Kolaba. All these constructions were well completed by the end of 1830. Soon, some Parsee shopkeepers made their appearance in the place and also some Chinese convicts were appointed by the government to cultivate an extensive garden for supplying vegetables like potatoes to the locals.
About twelve convicts came from the English settlements to the East and after working out in groups decided to stay at the place, married, multiplied and improved their lifestyle with time. After this a public subscription was raised in order to make roads to the other major points from the place and in next few years the station, Mahabaleshwar, reached a convincing position. Mahabaleshwar was originally ceded in the year 1828 by the Raja of Satara. In 1848, the city was incorporated in Satara State by the British Government.
The hill resort was also announced as the summer capital of the Bombay Province. Raj Bhavan which is the summer residence of the Governor of Maharashtra is also located in Mahabaleshwar.
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