Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Vinchurkars of Nasik

The Vinchurkar family was founded by  a Deshastra Brahman named Vithal Shivdev .They were originally Danis of Saswada doing duty as recorders of grain and accepting a portion of the same as their Vatan.  Vinchur became their city of  residence and later  a princely state with more than 48 villages in Nashik,few in Pune in its Jagir. The annual revenue in 1750s  was more than 48 lacks.

 Vithal Shivdev was born in the year 1695 to Shivajipant . Shivajipant had three sons Aburao, Trinibakrao, and Vithal Shivdev, among these three Vithal Shivdev was the youngest . Vithal Shivdev had five sons , 4 from his first wife Rakhamabai, daughter of the Kulkarni of Kenjal and the 5th from his second wife, Yamanabai of Kalpi. The names of the five respectively were Shivaji Vithal, Narsinghrao Vithal, Malharrao Vithal , Bajirao Vithal and Khanderao Vithal.


Shivaji Vithal was the most beloved son of his father. According to the father's fond belief, Shivaji had brought good luck to him ever since his birth. He was short in stature and dark in complexion; but he had a generous, forgiving, and kindly nature. Even during his father's lifetime, he had wrested from the Nizam's possession Ankai, Rajdar and other forts. Shivaji Vithal succeeded his father . He accompanied Biniwale, Sindhia and Tukoji Holkar in the campaign to North India in 1769  . On his return, his health sank completely and he died in 1794.


Thus the ancestral estates and the title-deeds of the household passed on to Khanderao Vithal. Khanderao Vithal was invested with the Sardar's dignity of the Vinhoorkar family. Khanderao Vithal was a of tall stature, his complexion was fair to look upon and he looked a beautiful person. He did not lived long and died soon after he  assumed the dignity of the household.Narsingh Khanderao  son of  Khanderao Vithal succeeded his father at the tender age of 12.


It was during the minority of  Narsingh  Khanderao that young Sawai Madhavarao met his woeful end   in 1795 , he died without an heir. A power struggle ensued among the Maratha nobles for control of the Confederacy. The powerful general Daulat Rao Scindia and minister Nana Phadnavis   installed Baji Rao II as a Peshwa.After the death of Phadnavis  in 1800, Daulat Rao Scindia took complete control over the Peshwa's government. As Scindia started eliminating his rivals within the government, Peshwa Baji Rao II became concerned about his own safety. He turned to British resident Colonel William Palmer for help. Baji Rao II concluded the Treaty of Bassein in December 1802, in which the British agreed to reinstate Baji Rao II as Peshwa, in return for allowing in Maratha territory- a force of 6000 infantry troops complete with guns and officered by British, paying for its maintenance and accepting the stationing of a permanent British political agent (Resident) at Pune. Holkar and Sindhia resisted the British intrusion in Maratha affairs, which resulted in the Second Anglo-Maratha War of 1803-1805.


Narsingh Khanderao died without leaving an heir behind him. So the well-wishers and the old servants of the House found themselves face to face with adoption, the only expedient which would keep the family name and estates in tact.
The choice fell upon the son of Gopal Parshuram aged 10. Bajirao II examined the boy personally and being satisfied with him ordered the adoption to take place. To her adopted son, Keshavrao, his mother Ramabai gave a different name. She called him after the founder of the family, Vithal Shivdev. So he  became  famous in history as Vithal Narsinh.( Lord Narsinh being the family deity of Vinchurkar family .His name was used by many many member of this family)


Vithal Narsinh was asked to put down the rebellion of Trimbakji Dengale. This Dengale too was one of the unworthy favourites of Bajirao II ; but he had offended the English who had him placed under restraint. He managed, however, to make his escape and gathered about him a following of

Bhils, Arabs and Rohillas. It did not take Vithal Narsinh long to destroy the following of Dengale; but the man himself escaped. His residence, however, and property at Nimbgaon in Ahmednagar District was taken away.Vinchurkars  fought on the side of Peshwa  Bajirao II in  Third Anglo-Maratha War


Vithal Narsingh  had to put down another impudent robber by name Shurpakarna. He was a Bania by caste, but his venturesome deeds had become the talk of the country. Vithal Narsingh  destroyed his following and cut him down in person.


Vithal Narsingh    made some valuable additions to the ancient temple at Narsingpore built by his noble ancestor. Also he tried to remove the inconvenience of water from which the city suffered. He had water-works built at considerable cost to the west of the city ; but he did not survive to see them completed  . He died in 1836 at the age of 41, leaving behind him 3 sons Raghunathrao , Krishnarao and Madhavrao  and 3 daughters.

Raghunathrao  the eldest son of Vithal Narsingh was born in 1824 . At the age of three his mother died and a year after his marriage in 1835, his father died. In 1838 he had his brother Krishnarao married.Raghunathrao  was given the power to decide civil suits from, which there could be no appeal. He was allowed to have stamp-paper of his own signature and was further allowed to add the income of the same to his own treasury. After a time he was also given the authority to decide criminal suits. Subsequently he transferred all his power to his brother Krishnarao.
In 1858 Raghunathrao helped the British  Government in its attempt to introduce education into the country. He himself founded many schools in the villages included in his estate. Also at the same time he sanctioned the re-building of many a decaying and temple Chauki and gave orders for the construction of irrigation-works in districts, where the water supply was.found to be deficient. When the Duke of Edinburgh, second son to the Queen, visited India. In memory of his visit Raghunathrao built a tower at Poona and fixed on it a clock for public use.

 In 1854 Madhavrao  youngest  brother of Raghunathrao was invested with the dignity and authority of the Judge of the Vinchurkar State and it fell to him to decide all the civil and criminal suits of the state. He discharged all these duties satisfactorily ; the Officers of the British Government, who paid casual visits to Vinchur, commended highly the management of the Judicial Department of the Vinchurkor State.
In 1863 Madhawrao gave his daughter in marriage to the eldest son of the Chief of Bhor. The event was celebrated with great eclat; but it had an untoward result. For,
the bride died of cholera only a month after her marriage. The Chief of Bhor, however, after the lapse of 3 years married his son a second time to the daughter of Krishnarao ( elder brother of Madhavrao) .In the April of 1865  the British Government enrolled Madhawrao as a First-Class Sardar in recognition of his services during the period when he was a member of the Vatan-Commission.
In the year 1866 Madhawrao was appointed Regent of the Akkalkot State,. as the Chief of that State was found incompetent to carry on the Government. Accordingly he made over his magisterial power at Yeola to this brother Krisnarao and went off to take charge of his new appointment.

 On the occasion in the name of the Queen the Governor conferred on the Vinchurkar chief the title of Companion  of the most exalted order of the Star of India." In 1872 Lord Northbrook came over to Bombay, when the honour of being a Star of the Empire was coferred upon Raghunathrao. The Chief of Vinchur in his turn made him a present of 10,000 Mohurs, and on his way back to Calcutta received him with great honour at Manmad (the Railway Station). Raghunathrao 's younger brother Krishnarao died in September 1879. Next year  Raghunathrao's  wife breathed her  last breath . This was a severe blow to him as all hopes of issue, that Raghunathrao might have had, disappeared on the death of his wife
After the death of Raghunathrao, according to the orders of the Court of Directors passed in 1852 and 1856, half the Saranjam was resumed by Government and the other half was divided between the descendants of his two younger brothers (Krishnarao and Madhavrao) .

 Krishnarao's  first wife  gave him three sons : Bhagwantrao ,Narsingrao and Vithalrao. The eldest Bhagwantrao died in 1867. The second Narsingrao was a big- salaried officer in the Nizam. He died in 1888. The third Vithalrao.  continued throughout his life a victim of perverse fate. He died in 1904.Of his second wife, Krishnarao had one son, Ramrao alias Balasaheb Vinchurkar.

 Narsingrao, the eldest surviving  son of Krishnarao, got half the portion of the hereditary Saranjam and the other half was claimed by Ganpatrao, the eldest son of Madhavrao. He was  working as a First-Class. Magistrate at Vinchur and was nominated as an additional  Member of the Legislative Council by the Government of Bombay, when the Laud- Revenue Amendment Bill was passed in 1901. Ganpatrao attended the Coronation ceremony of his Majesty King Edward VII, on which occasion he was presented with a silver medal. Lakshmanrao, his younger brother, died in 1904. Lakshmanrao  left no issue behind him. Ganpatrao had a son named Narayanrao  Vinchurkar .

Narsingrao died in 1890 and the Saranjam  was transferred to his  only son Bhagwantrao . Bhagwantrao   died in 1895 and subsequently the Saranjam   passed to his uncle Vithalrao .Vithalrao  too died in 1905 and the  Saranjam descended to Vithalrao's half brother  Ramrao .Ramarao had two sons the eldest son Bhaskarrao   was given in adoption to Raghunathrao and the name was changed to Shivdevrao  and the younger ones name was  Chandrashekhar .Ramarao  also had  and a daughter who  was  given in marriage to the son of the Pant Sachiwa of Bhor .

 Vinchurkars were deeply religious people constructed many temples and renovated some of them all over Maharashtra. Their contributions to the Temples of Maharashtra deserves a mention here .Vitthal  Shivdev  renovated  The Laxmi Narsimha Temple  temple on  the  insistence  of  his  Guru  Amrutswami. located at the confluence of Bhima river and Nira river, at the south eastern tip of Pune district, in Indapur taluka.Shri Narsimha of Nira Narsingpur is the family deity of many people from Maharashtra and Karnataka, the prominent ones being the families of the current Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Devendra Fadnavis and Maratha Sardar Vinchurkar. Vitthal Shivdev had provided ten thousand rupees for maintenance of the temple .


The Hall of mirrors ,Golden kalash of the Triymbakeshwar temple were built by  Vinchurkars .The Madhav Kund behind the mandir was built by the  Vinhoorkar  family.The main chariot/Rath was gifted by the Raghunathrao to the temple  in the year 1865 . Hundreds of acres of lands in Vinchur and  Trymbakeshwar were donated to Triymbakeshwar  Temple.The honor of first pooja of the Rath during the Rath Yatra on Tripur Poornima is with the descendants of Vinhoorkar family .

The original sabaaha mandap of Sapashrungi Devi Wani was also  built by Vinchurkars.Priceless jewellery including the Devis nose ring-Nath was gifted by the Vinchurkars.

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