PLACES

VELAPUR

Situated in 1745' north latitude and 7505' east longitude, this large village in Malshiras taluka has a population of 9,344 souls as per the Census of 1971. It lies twenty miles to the north-west of Pandharpur. There are two primary schools-one for boys and one for girls-conducted by the Zilla Parishad and an English School conducted by the Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, Mangalvedha. Wells form the main source of water-supply. The town has a Government rest-house too. A weekly market is held at Velapur on every Saturday.

The village has a large Hemadpanti temple of Haraneshwar Mahadeo popularly known amongst the local people as Ardhanari Nateshwar. The temple has three inscriptions of four to seven lines, two dated 1300 A.D. and the third dated 1304 A.D., all in the reign of the ninth Dcvagiri Yadava king Ramchandra who reigned from 1271 A.D. to 1310 A.D. The inscriptions have not been completely deciphered but in all, the dates and Ramchandra's name are clear. All the inscriptions show a curious mixture of Sanskrit and Marathi and give the name of one Devrav who appears to have repaired the temple. [Dr. Burgess's Lists, 71.] Every year a small fair is held in honour of the god Nateshwar on Chaitra Vadya 1 (March-April) and about 1,300 people assemble at the time of the fair. The temple is a protected monument. Another protected monument in the village is the Kamasinis Mahal which bears some fine specimen of wood carving.

In his pursuit of the Peshwa Bajirao II in 1818, General Smith camped at Velapur on the 19th of February, the day previous to the battle of Ashta which was fought about twenty-five miles east of Velapur and which finally sealed the fate of the Maratha Empire.

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