Naigaon is the name of a railway station on the Mumbai suburban railway on the Western Railway (India) railway line. Naigaon is closely connected to Vasai Road. It mainly consists of Marathi speaking muslims,Hindus and Christians. The language spoken by the Christian community is different dialect of Marathi language. It is divided into east and west. In the east there is a famous temple of Chandika Devi (goddess named Chandika)and the township of Mittal Enclave which is a project being developed by the renowned Mittal Builders. West comprises residential areas like Mariam Nagar, Amol Nagar, 'Dias & Pereira Nagar'- some call it (Vijay Park), Pali parish, Naigaon Koliwada, Umela village. Mariam Nagar' is the only place where salt is produced on mass scale. Naigaon west is more used for drying of fish by kolis (fishermen community) dwelling in the vicinity.

Naigaon is famous for Toddy (Palm Wine) tapped from the tree called Borassus flabellifer which is a type of Palm. There are shops which serve toddy which allegedly is pure and unadulterated.

Prime Community Vasai has basically 5 communities: 1) Bhandari 2)Panamali 3) Koli 4) Shamedi 5) Palshe 6) Aagri 7) Vadval

In all the above 5 communities half the population was converted to Christianity around 1570 AD by Portuguese.

Shamedi Vocabulary - The word “Shamedi” is the colloquial term from the original Sanskrit word “Shamaneedresh” (“Shaman = Entertainment”, “Edresh = “Attributed”), meaning those workers in the royal court entertaining the King. The then king appointed these people to offer music services at the Samadi place, thus they were called “Samaadhi” which later became “Shamedi” meaning the Samadhi Temple musicians. Shamedis used to offer the “Sanai – Choughada – Mridanga – Bheri – Veena” during the dawn and night worship at Nirmal Jagad Guru Shankaracharya Samadhi Mandir, Shri Sureshwar (Suleshwar) Mandir and the Bhavani Shankar Mandir (Agashi in Virar).

Family deity The Family deity is considered to be the goddesses Bhuvaneshwari and Vimala. These goddesses are said to reside in the Utkala, present day Orissa.

History The history of Bassein dates back to Treta Yuga. Bassein (or Vasai or Oppire or Orparak or Shorparag or Shurparaka as it was called from time to time) was established by Bhagawan Parashuram. Bhagvan Parsuram established Vimaleshwar Mandir and Vimala Sarovara. He established the 64 yoginis in and around Vasai, since the yoginis were considered to be the devotees of His mother Goddess Renuka. He also established 108 Teertha Kundas or Pushkarinis in Vasai. This is quoted in the Holy Edict Skanda Purana and Padma Purana (Lotus Purana).

Shamedis came as expert singers to Shurparak (Bassein) during the Buddha era 1500 BC from the remote areas of Orissa, then called as Utkala. During the Buddhist rule, their following of Vedic Dharma was loosened. At the advent of Adya Shankaracharya in Nirmal around 497 BC, the Buddhist Monks were defeated in the debates and returned to the Vedic Fold. Hinduism in the Samedis returned and they started strict following of the Vedic Dharma. They regarded Adi Sankara Jagadguru as their cardinal preacher. This is quoted in Holy Text Siva Leela Amrut.

Purna, the disciple of Gautama Buddha, belonged to “Vasai” i.e. earlier “Shoorparak”, and he preached in the Eastern India. Even after the advent of Sankaracharya, some Buddhists were left who used to criticize the Vedic Philosophy. Thus the King Jalauk of Kalinga took the then Jagat Guru Shankaracharya of Eastern India, i.e. H.H. Shankaracharya of Puri, to Shurparaga. He was 5th Shankaracharya of Puri named Swami Vidyaranya. His Holiness Swami Vidyaranya defeated remaining Buddhist Monks from Karla Caves, Mahad Caves, Kaneri Caves, and Shruparak and strongly revived the Vedic Dharma. Dur to old age and at the earnest prayers of the local Shamedis and Bhandaris Jagad Guru Shankaracharya Vidyaranya Swami of Puri Peetham died at the Nirmal Vimaleshwar Mandir in 404 BC on the dark 11th day of Kartik. Emperor Jalauk (son of Ashoka) built a big Samadhi Mandir according to the Orissa architecture.

Later during the Vijaya Yatra the grand disciple of Swami Vidyaranya, named Swami Padmanabha Tirtha, the 7th Jagadguru Sankara charya of Puri Govardhan Peetham arrived in Vasai during the “Vijaya Yatra” . His Holiness stayed here for some months and later attracted to this Holy Place decided to reside eternally at this place of his Grand Guru. Thus Swami Padmanadha Tirtha Shankaracharya, who was devotee of Lord Vallabha (thus He was also called Vallabha Swami) (i.e. Krishna achieved Mahasamadhi at Vasai in 373 BC on a hillock next to the Nirmal hillock. A temple devoted to Lord Krishna in front of His Samadhi by the then Kashmiri Brahmin community who used to reside in Nirmal, brought by Raja Jalauk, from the area around Shankaracharya Parbat, Sri Nagar (Jammu and Kashmir).

Later this place was visited by 38th Shrimad Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Shivananda Saraswati of Puri Govardhan Peetham during the rule of the Satvahan Kings.

During the times of Raja Bhimdev of Puri, in order to solve the religious difference in between the Kshatriyas, the 106th Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Sukhabodha Tirtha arrived in Vasai during the 13th century AD.

This Holy place was visited by Swami Vidyaranya, the 13th Shankaracharya of Sringeri Sharada Peetham in the 15th century. His samadhi is located at Hampi, Karnataka.

During 1543 AD Portuguese started their rule in Bassein and started destruction of various cultural places in Vasai. The temple of Padmanabha Swami which was located at the hillock place now called “Nirmal Naka” was destroyed. The Brahmins, Shamedis and Bhandaris who regarded Jagadguru Shankarachrya as their Holy Guru were sad at this ill act and they brought the stones of the samadhi of Padmanabha Swami and placed them in front left hand side of Vidyaranya Swami Samadhi Mandir. During this period 200 religious places were destroyed by foreigners in Bassein. The atrocities of the Portuguese were on rise. At the request of the Citizens of Vasai Chimaji Appa Peshwa attacked Portuguese at Vasai and conquered Vasai in the 18th century AD.

He requested the guidance of monk - Swami Vidya Shankara Bharati who was the 8th generation of the institution of Karvir- Sankeshwar (this is the institution established in 16th century AD in Sankeshwar, Karnataka). He was the disciple of Jagadguru Shankaracharya. At the guidance of Swami Vidya Shancara Bharati, Chimaji Appa renovated, in the Orissa Architecture, the Samadhi Mandir of Swami Vidyaranya and Swami Padmanabha Tirtha, the 5th and 7th Shankaracharya of Puri Peetham,. This place due to atrocities of Portuguese rulers were devoid of Brahmins. Under the guidance of Swami Vidya Shankara Bharati, Chimaji Appa Peshwa, in consultations with Peshwa Bajirao, appointed 1 Konkanastha Chitpavan Brahmin, 1 Karhade Brahmin, 1 Devrukhe Brahmin and 4-5 Shukla Yajurvedi Brahmins in this region. Thus there were only 7-8 houses of Brahmins in whole Sopara region. Later Swami Vidya Shankara Bharathi went back to Sankeshwar and attained samadhi on the banks of River Hiranyakeshi.

In 1926 AD Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha, the 143rd Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Puri Govardhan Peetham was received with warm welcome in a specially reserved train at Nala Sopara station. The Jagadguru Swagat Samiti was presided by a well known Shamedi Shri Vaze. Jagadguru had the Holy bath in the Vimaleshwar Sarovar then had Darshan of the Shri Sureshwar Mandir, Shri Vimaleshwar Mandir, and the two Samadhis of the previous Shankaracharyas viz. Swami Vidyaranya and Swami Padanabha Tirtha of the Puri Govardhan Peetham. This time Jagadguru addressed a large gathering of Shamedis. A big Yajnya was organized to commemorate this event. Again the same Puri Shankaracharya Swami Bharati Krishna Teerth visited Shurparak in the 1950s. This time also there were huge gatherings which were hosted by Swami Nityananda of Ganeshpuri. This time also Shamedis extended great efforts in organizing the event.

Surnames of Shamedis There are six surnames related to this profession.

The one who used to compose poetry- drama and act in the drama used to be called as “Nayak” the family of Nayak’s later was called by surname “Naik”. The musicians who used to play the musical instruments made of Brass or Bronze (Vartakam) were called “Vartakah”. This community later was called by surname “Vartak”. The main Singer or main actor in the drama was called as “Mahapatra”, the community of these Mahapatras were later called as “Mahatre”. The chief musical director who used to guide the group of musicians were called “Jyoshih”.The community of these Jyoshis were later called by surname “Joshi”. The commentators of the Musical programme were called “Vache”, later these were called “Vaze”. The one who used to make- up the actors by decorating them with “Patt” i.e. dress, crown etc. were called “Pattolika”. These makeup men community were later called “Patils” i.e. “Patil”. These 6 surnamed people belong to the following Gotras viz. 1) Bharadwaj 2) Kashyap 3) Atri 4) Kaushik 5) Vashishtha 6) Angirasa.

Profession of Shamedis The traditional profession of Shamedis was to present Music, Dance and Dramas at the Royal Palaces and in the Holy Mandiras as a part of the social awareness of religion. Later during the period of Raja Pratap Bimba the profession shifted to that of cultivating sugarcane and nagavel leaves. The cultivation of paddy was added to the profession in the late 17th century.

Later during the 18th century after the opening of the Mumbai (Bombay) as the chief city, the profession switched over to the gardening of flowers and wadis.

Presently many Shamedis are engaged in the professions like Politics, School Administration, Construction and Business.

External links

Next station south:
Mumbai Suburban Railway : Western Line Next station north:
Vasai Road
Stop No: 25 KM from starting: 47.70 Platforms: {{{7}}}

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