By Quaid Najmi
Pune, Aug 16 : Creating a record of sorts, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari spent his Sunday by going on the challenging trek to the historic Shivneri Fort – the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Proving that he is only 79 years “young”, Koshyari became the first-ever Governor to undertake the tough, two and half hour long trek up to the fort, which stands at a height of 3,500 feet.
This is the fort where the revered leader was born on February 19, 1630, later founded the Maratha Empire and became legendary as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Koshyari took the trek — that would deter many able-bodied youngsters — in his stride, moving up the rough stone steps easily, as other officials and security personnel panted to keep pace with him.
After reaching the top, Koshyari did not appear faintly fatigued but told local media persons that “he enjoyed trekking up to the Shivneri Fort”, which offered a panoramic view of the monsoon currently lashing the region.
“I feel great here… Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj used to come here on foot, so I followed him. This hill is nothing for me,” smiled the Governor, who hails from Uttarakhand, and hence used to even loftier snowy mountains of the Himalayan ranges compared with Maharashtra’s Western Ghats.
In view of the rigorous trek, Koshyari partook a hearty breakfast and then started for the top, accompanied by Nationalist Congress Party MLA Atul V. Benke, Pune’s Acting Collector Ayush Prasad, Superintendent of Police, Pune Rural, Sandeep Patil, Archaeology Department’s Deputy Superintendent Rajendra Yadav and others huffing and puffing after him.
Starting at 8 a.m. the Governor was visibly set for the rough trek, sporting his traditional dhoti-kurta, a sleeveless overcoat, sports shoes, his trademark black cap, and of course, a white face-mask in view of the Corona pandemic.
En route, at a small government guest house, the Governor and company were received by Labour Minister Dilip Walse-Patil and others, and after a brief halt, they resumed the trek, to reach the top around 10.30 am.
Without wasting time, Koshyari started a tour of the Shivneri Fort, spread over 1.5 kms, and encompassing the Shivai Devi Temple after whom Shivaji was named, a prayer hall, a tomb, a mosque, an overhanging area for executions, and two eternal water springs – Ganga and Jamuna – which have fresh water gushing round the year.
At the centre is the Badami Talao which supplied drinking water to the then residents of the fort – considered invincible by the British – and to its southern end is a memorial to a young Shivaji, with a sword in his hand and his doting mother Jijamata seated beside.
The Governor prayed at the Shivai Devi Temple and offered his respects with a bowed head and folded hands at the monument of Jijamata and the young Shivaji.
Koshyari said that before his trip, he was warned that there is a lot of slush and slime due to monsoon, and he would have to climb up the slippery steps.
“But, it was the desire to get a ‘darshan’ of the birthplace of the great Shivaji Maharaj which spurred me on… He was not an ordinary mortal, but a ‘MahaPurush’ and an ‘avatar’ who continues to inspire us,” the Governor said.
Before departing in the afternoon, the Governor suggested that each state ministry could adopt one fort in Maharashtra to ensure its regular upkeep and preservation.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: email@example.com)
Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.