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Aamchi Delhi

Long before the Marathas set their eyes on Delhi's throne Sant Namdev and Dnyaneshwar Maharaj travelled North- Namdev's couplets form part of Gurubani of the Sikhs. There is a Gurudwara at Ghuman in Gurdaspur district of Punjab that has an idol of Sant Namdev. It is named as Sant Namdevjika Gurudwara, Ghuman....



Shirdi's Sai Baba has almost become national Saint of India. Massive crowds of devotees throng Sai Temple in the busy Lodhi Road in Delhi. Next to the Sai Temple is Namdev Sansthan....

Patparganj, Shalimarbaug, Raisina Hills, Talkatora gardens....the list may be endless. What do these areas have in common? Centuries ago the mighty Maratha army had camped in these areas. After all they would march into Delhi in thousands- many more thousand of pilgrims  would accompany the marching army and camp in designated areas. Have the Marathas left any tale-tell signs? Very few. Amidst the hustle and bustle of shops opposite the majestic Red Fort in Delhi's Chandni chowk stands a temple- Gauri Shankar Mandir- it was built by a Maratha nobleman Appa Gangadhar. Appa Gangadhar, according to one story was one of favourite of Aurangzeb and although known as a Hindu hater, Aurangzeb is said to have permitted Appa Gangadhar to build the Shiva temple right near the Jama Masjid!

No effort has been made to recall the days the Marathas virtualy ruled Delhi. Aamchi Dilli would make an effort to put together pieces of whatever little information is available through books and those few who might know.

Who could be the first Marathas to have set food in Delhi after Sant Namdev? Historians say that one may have to track history from 1707 CE till the 19th century to to see how the Marthas moved in the North. After they made the once mighty Emperor Aurangzeb bite the dust, Yesubai, widow of Chhatrapati Sambhaji is said to have reached Delhi with 200-odd of her confidantes. In his narrative history of Panipat war, Vishwas Patil says Delhi was being looked after by Antoji Mankeshwar, Mahadev Hingne, Mahadji Shinde among others.  Mahadji Shinde was stationed in Delhi. What is left in tatters now is Bada Hindu Rao (Hinduraocha  Wada got corrupted as Bada Hindu Rao) ruins- a hospital runs from what was the mansion that Hindurao, a nobleman of the Shindes (Scindias) who purchsed it from one of British officers. The place and the hospital , mercifuly, continues to be known as Bada Hindu Rao.

"Dilli' has long been 'Aamchi' to the Marathas, Marathis!