What is the greatest contribution of the Maratha Empire?
Did you know, 7 out of 12 current Jyotirlinga Temples were rebuilt by Marathas under their rule!
Here is the list…
1. Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Uttarpradesh.
In 1669 CE, Emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the temple.
In 1777 CE, Maratha Queen Ahilyabai Holkar built the present temple of Kashi Vishwanath.
In 1828, Maharani Baiza Bai Scindia built a low-roofed colonnade with over 40 pillars in the Gyan Vapi precinct.
1844, Raghuji Bhonsle III of Nagpur donated silver to the temple.
2. Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, Mahārashtra.
In 1690, Aurangazeb destroyed the Temple and set up a Mosque on it!
In 1754, Peshwa Bajirao pulled down the Mosque and reconstructed temple at the cost of 16 lakh rupees also changed the name of city from Gulshanabad to Nashik.
Sadashivrao bhau presented gold crown to the temple [Marathas also marked the sum of Rs.16000 a year to defray the cost of the daily puja]
3. Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, Mahārashtra.
During 13th-14th century Delhi Sultanate destroyed the Temple.
In the 16th century, temple was re-constructed by Maloji raje Bhosale of Verul (grandfather of Shivaji Maharaj).
4. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple, Madhyapradesh.
In 1235, Sultan Altamash attacked Ujjain and destroyed the Temple and built a Mosque on it!
Shivlinga was lying under the water of tank called Koti Tirtha for “five centuries”!
In 1735, Ujjain came under Ranoji Scindia, his minister Ramchandra Sukhtankar pulled down the Mosque and reconstructed the present day temple at Same place.
After five centuries, Shivalinga was taken out and reinstalled in newly built temple.
5. Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Temple, Mahārashtra.
Chhatrapati Shivaji made a grant of a village named Kharosi to Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga during his rule.
Later, the reconstruction of the Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga started by Chimnaji Bhide Naik in 1736 CE. Its patronage continued right upto the end of Maratha rule (1818).
6. Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga temple, Madhyapradesh.
In 11th century, Mahmud of Ghazni severely damaged the temple structure.
Peshwa Bajirao II rebuilt the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga temple as earlier was mutilated beyond repair. Ahilyabai Holkar also made further renovations and beautification of ghats.
7. The Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple, Gujarat.
In 1669, Somnath temple was defiled and converted into the Mosque on the order of Aurangazeb.
In 1783, Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar constructed a new temple near the site of the old Somnath temple. It had a two storied garbha griha with the linga placed below ground level as a measure of abundant caution. The fear of iconoclasm remained firm as late as 1783!
Marathas built hundreds of Temples all over India. Queen Ahilyabai Holkar built temples & Dharmashalas from Srinagar in North to Rameswaram in South.
Maratha Sardars like Raghuji made several Donations to Puri Jagannath temple, Balaji temple, Kashi Vishwanath temple.
The current version of Varanasi’s riverbanks (Ghats, Forts, Temples) we see today were rebuilt after 1700 AD by rulers of Maratha Empire. The royal patrons of the ghats were kings from the Scindia, Holkar, Bhonsle, and Peshwa families.
The German historian Herr Springel wrote in the Histoire Marratore in 1791 A.D. (i.c. before Grant Duff wrote and published his book History of the Marathas):
“I have undertaken to write the History of the Maratha people because they alone had annihilated the most powerful Mughal empire and had afterwards successfully carried on warfare with the English. My countrymen should therefore know something of these people and their history”
This is the greatest contribution of the Maratha Empire!
Courtesy Beena Rajendra