History of HathrasHathras is a comparatively small city in Uttar Pradesh, situated at the north-west of the state. In 1997, the then chief minister of the state announced the creation of a new district naming Mahamaya district comprising of some combined Tehsils of Aligarh, Mathura and Agra districts. Soon after the declaration of this new formation, the name Mahamaya was changed to Hathras. This city is 34 km far from Aligarh and 47 km far from Mathura.
Hathras has a nice blend of mythological, cultural and historical backdrop. This city is famously known as Braj ki dehri as it is situated on the lap of Brij region which phenomenally linked with the Hindu epic Mahabharata and some other mythological legends. As our mythology describes, the 84 km around Mathura was called Braj which was the field where lord Krishna used to take his cows for grazing. There is another legend telling the story of how the city was named after Hathras. According to Gokul Mahatm Chotoo Banmali, Lord Mahadev with her concort Devi Parvati were travelling to Braj Dhaam to visit little lord Krishna. Before reaching Braj, Goddes Parvati took a break at a place nearby to quench her thirst and to get some rest in the forest. Later on a temple of Devi Hathrasi was built at that place, thus the site was famously called Hathras.
The city has a long history of being occupied by some traditional Indian origin rulers to the latest colonial ruling till the time of Independence. But it is tough enough to draw a conclusion that exactly when the city was created or even who created the city; some ruins of forts, some Buddhist and Jain sculptures and other archaeological evidences vouch for the city’s historical legacies. It might be said that throughout the various periods Hathras had been ruled by the Kushanas, the Guptas, the Shungas, the Marathas, the Rajputas, the Moghuls, the Jaats and lastly by the British during the colonial period until 1947. And meanwhile, the region was ruled by the Sindhias for a short period. But it was from the reign of Jaat king Raja Bhoj Singh (1716) that the region came into historical prominence.
Early History of Hathras
Raja Bhoj Singh, son of Raja Nandram successfully took the control over Hathras from the Rajputs. After his death his son Baran Singh was crowned and he was followed by his son raja Bhoori Singh. And the history of Hathras became salient from 1775, during the reign of raja Dayaram, son of raja Bhoori Singh. In 1784, raja Mahad Ji Sindhia of Sindhia clan started occupying the surrounding area of Hathas, raja Dayaram showed off his sense of diplomacy and settled with a pact with the Sindhias. In the meantime, from 1794 onwards, the British started becoming more powerful.
Their forwarding march let many provincial kings frowned upon. But raja Dayaram repudiated the urge of servility and remained free until 1817. In spite of showing sheer intrepidity, raja Dayaram was forced to quit his fort in March, 1817 after a terrifying war with the British force. And thus the end of a short yet glorious royal phase of Hathras happened. After becoming the part of the British rule, Dayaram’s son Govind Singh agreed to be content by being zamindaar of couple of villages. His descendent raja Mahendra Pratap Singh was a noble man who became a freedom fighter and struggled for national independence for more than 32 years. The present estate-king of Hathras is Raja Amar Pratap Singh.
Archaeological Significance of Hathras
The archaeological significance of Hathras is also estimable as it is wide resource hub of ancient ruins, sculptures and keepsakes. The city welcomes the curious visitors with the ruins of an ancient fort of raja Dayaram Singh. At this area a brown coloured vessel from Maurya period of 2nd century BC), Kushan period’s clay statue, “Sapta Matrikafalam” and some other remains were discovered/ excavated. The place is also home for some age old temples. Some important of them are, ‘Veereshwar Mahadev’ temple; it is the testimony of the fact that Shaiva and Nagavanshi Kshatriya rulers were prevalent here at a certain point of time.
One important feature of Hathras is that the place is famous for worshipping Balram ji. An ancient statue of Balram Ji which holds huge archaeological value and its remains are kept at the Mathura Museum. But the oldest statue in Hathras was found in the Jain temple of Nayaganj. The temple is an evidence of the Jain culture prevalent in this section from an ancient period. Another archaeologically significant temple in the city is the Bhadrakali temple of Sahpau.
Another famous place which is worshipped by numerous people is the grave of Sant Tulsi Sahab, the noted author of ‘Ghat Ramayana’ in Siyal, Qila Gate. Besides all these there are a couple of well-known temples situated in Hathras. These are, Dauji Maharaj ji temple, Chaubewale Mahadev temple, Bohrey wali devi temple, Hanuman ji temple, Gopeswar Mahadev temple, Chinta Haran temple, Shrinath ji, Masani Devi, Lord Varah temple. Besides all these, the archaeologists believe that there was an ancient fort at the place of the modern fort.
After the British took the control over Hathras and surrounding region, the economic importance of this place flourished in a very speedy manner. After independence the place might has lost its old economical charm as a whole, but the historical values are still quite discernible here.
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