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Move to shift relics draws brickbats

The state archaeology department’s move to shift rare 11th century AD maritime warfare relics at Eksar, Borivli, to a museum about 400km away in Ratnagiri has raised the hackles of several city historians and heritage lovers. 

The state archaeology department’s move to shift rare 11th century AD maritime warfare relics at Eksar, Borivli, to a museum about 400km away in Ratnagiri has raised the hackles of several city historians and heritage lovers [Credit: DNA]
Discovered in the last century, the six sequentially carved memorial stones have provided historians with much insight into the naval history of the region. 

The protestors of the move have written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan asking for his intervention in stymieing the department’s plan. 

Padma Shri recipient and former director of Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sanghrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum) Sadashiv Gorakshkar walked DNA through their historical significance. 

“These are the only relics of their kind of maritime warfare with detailed documentation of possibly a big naval war.” 

Conservation architect and advisor to the department of archaeology and museums Rahul Chemburkar pointed at their links with cultural history. “They should be declared protected where ever they stand... because they are well maintained in their present state,” he insisted. 

According to B Arunachalam, retired professor of geography at the University of Mumbai, in his book Mumbai By The Sea, the scenes depicted on the Eksar stones probably indicate a battle between Yadava king Mahadeva and the last Silahara ruler of Salsette, Somesvara, around 1265AD. City historian Sadashiv Tetwilkar, who shot off the letter to the CM, echoed this while adding, “These relics should not be moved anywhere.” 

According to the Bombay Gazetteer, these six paliyas or memorial stones were originally set in front of a temple, which stood on the bank of a pond in Eksar village of Borivli — a plot later taken over by a Portuguese granary. Today, they lie in a corner and are held sacred by locals. 

Author: Rajendra Aklekar | Source: DNA India [December 05, 2011]
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