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Basrur in Karnataka observing 355th anniversary of Shivaji Maharaj’s first victory at sea today

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Shivaji Maharaj was one of the first Indian kings to realise the importance of naval power. His victory at Basrur liberate the region from the wily Portuguese.

– Sudhir Pai

Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj embarked on his first naval expedition in February 1665. The Marathas were always confronted by the Nawab (Siddhi Amber) of Janjira. To do this, the fleet of 50 battleships, 3 small ships and 4000 soldiers in their fleet departed. Shivaji Maharaj arrived on 13 February 1665 by sea circumventing the Portuguese navy surveillance off the Goa coast.

Shivaji and his army was in Basrur for about 2 days and liberated the port town from the clutches of Portuguese dominion. Hence, Shivaji Maharaj commemoration day is being celebrated on 13 February this year in Basrur.

Basrur – A Backgrounder

Basrur is located on the west coast of Bharat in the Kundapur taluka of Udupi district in Karnataka. It is a very ancient town which in the past was also known as Vasupura and was an important river port town. Being a very ancient town, Basrur has enormous amount of history attached to it and was a famous trading center of the coast in the 16th century. Being a well-known city, the town had a number of roads and alleys for pilgrims, traders, craftsmen, artists and weavers.

This is around the time when Vijayanagara Empire was at the zenith of its glory, being the center of trade during the rule of the kings. But now as the town has lost its glory and it has been reduced to a small, fortified village that doesn’t have a business center.

Several historians and travellers have mentioned Basrur in their accounts. The famous Taulaveswarar Temple, Guppi Sadananda Temple and many other shrines are located in this town.

Basrur Beach_1  

Battle of Basrur

Shivaji Maharaj, added a new dimension to warfare in terms of navy and hence is widely recognized as the father of the Indian Navy in modern times. In addition to having created ship building yards, Shivaji Maharaj is also known to have built sea forts like Sindhudurg, Vijayadurga and Suvarna Durga on the west coast of Bharat in Konkan region. These were used to provide protection to the Maratha Navy and to repel enemy attacks through the sea.

According to historical records, Shivaji’s fleet consisted of 400 – 500 large and small ships. They were named as Gurab, Varande, Gulbat, Mubar, Sihad, Pagar, Machwa, Tirkati, Pal, etc. Navy was accorded equal importance as Infantry and cavalry. Daulat Khan and Mayank Bhandari were appointed navy chiefs in his times. There are several mentions of Shivaji’s navy in British and Portuguese records.

Shivaji embarked on his first naval expedition in February 1665. The Marathas were always confronted by the Nawab (Siddhi Amber) of Janjira. To do this, the fleet of 50 battleships, 3 small ships and 4000 soldiers in their fleet departed. Shivaji Maharaj arrived on 13 February 1665 by sea circumventing the Portuguese navy surveillance off the Goa coast. He was in Basrur for about 2 days and liberated the port town from the clutches of Portuguese dominion.

The first naval campaign has been celebrated for four years in Basrur as part of the victory against the Portuguese. Several steps are being taken to restore the ancient glory of Basrur. These include renovation of ancient temples, identification of historical sites, research and publication of ancient inscriptions, publication of the history book of Basrur.

The Shivaji Maharaj commemoration day is being celebrated on 13 February this year in Basrur in a large way.

Source: Organiser

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