History of Malvan city !
Why named as Malvan ?
In many old books & articles some reference occurs as follows
Largely planted coconut trees (Mad) formed a grove(wan), so it named as madwan & after some years it became Malwan.
Some people says that in old days here salt was produced in large quantity. Huge salt pans were present in Malvan. Salt producers use term ‘Lavan’ for salt & term ‘Mahalavan’ is a place where you get more salt. Hence it became Malvan
Malvan was an international port which was importing & exporting A-1 quality of goods & materials, In Marathi, goods known as ‘Maal’, Goods of A-1 quality means ‘Maal-A-1’ Hence the named ‘Malvan’.
The flowers of ‘Undal’ (Calophyllum inophullum) & ‘Surang’ (Ochrocarpos longipholius) trees are called as ‘Malya’ in Sanskrit, ‘wan’ means jungle. A jungle of ‘Undal’ &’ Surang’ flowers are called ‘Malya wan’, which become Malwan.
Available historical records reveal that Chalukyas held sway over the region between sixth & eighth century. They were followed by the rulers of Devgiri (10th century) & Vijaynagar (14th century ). Adilshahi control came in 15th century followed my Maratha rule of Shivaji in 16th century & British rule in 17th century.
Malvan town was comprised of two main areas Medha & Dewoolwada. The surrounding area of about 3 Kms was totally marshy & swampy. Medha was an Island while Dewoolwada was the land’s end. Bamboo forest encircled the Medha area which was populated by Bhandari(Tree tapper as well as manual labours) & Gabit (Fishermen) communities. Canoe (Light Keel less boat) was the chief mode of transport between Medha & Dewoolwada..
West coast region was subjected to attack by Siddhis, Portuguese & British. Adilshahi rule took the cake in this respect. Local people therefore lived in climate of fear & intimidation. Kushes, Sapales & Malaps mostly constituted by Sahukar community. Khem sawant of Sawantwadi who was fief of Adilshah, ruled over Malvan on behalf of his lords. Portuguese of Goa itching to annex the malvan region clashes with Adilshaha’s soldiers at Achare & Karli creek The latter were completely bounded in battle. Khem sawnt saw in this an opportunity to break up from Adilshahi grip. Adilshaha realize this so he sent Rustumizma to fought against Sawant. Sawant approached Shivaji for help. As per the treat signed on 5/3/1659 Sawant agreed to be loyal to Shivaji rule ; but soon betrayed Shivaji. Sawant started to support Adilshaha. In the bargain, Sawant got possession of Malvan in 1664. Shivaji then sent his force to rein in Sawant.
Reign of Shivaji
Before Shivaji, Destruction of temples and their conversion into mosques was a common practice in Konkan region. Forced conversion to Islam was a routine affair for the poor sections of Hindu society. The worst state of affairs was the acceptance of slavery and service under the sultans by the Hindu rulers.
At such time, Shivaji, a noble soul sent down on earth by God in answer to the austerities practiced by many a saint in the middle ages. The Maratha king thereafter took steps to protect the west coast. Shivaji was the first Indian king to conduct amphibious operations, i.e., joint attack using cavalry, army and navy. After visiting places like Vengurle, Dabhol , Anjanvel, Vijaydurga, Devgad, Ratnagiri, Palgad, Janjeera with these in view. He preferred Kurte Island near Malvan for the purpose and on 10th, November 1664, initiated the construction of Sindhudurga fort , which was completed on 1667. To fortify the main fort, smaller forts were built viz, Rajkot, Sarjekot, Bharatgad, Bhagwant gad, Nivati etc. These sea forts used to be the shelters for his navy and also remained impregnable to the enemy who did not have a navy. This used to also help in checking activities of the naval powers like the British, the Portuguese and the Abyssinians.
Due to sindhudurga fort, wind blowing from south direction calmed down & force of lapping waves on sea shore is reduced. Finaly, A long stretched band of silver sand created in east-west direction. People of Gabit & Bhandari community came here & settled by constructing their houses. Two parallel roads were constructed to join Medha & Dewoolwada. Southern road is near to Malvan port so it always became crowded. People staying across the road started to sell vegetables, groceries & other home made items. After some years a big market is established on the same road. Now days, That place is known as Malvan city.
After Shivaji’s death in 1680, his son Sambhaji succeeded the throne. That marked the beginning of the time when Mughals tries to secure foothold in Konkan. After Sambhaji , Rajaram comes on a throne for a while. His wife Tarabai who succeeded him could not get along with his step brother Shahu. Rani Tarabai entrusted to defence of Konkan coast to the upcoming Kanhoji Angre. But Angre struck a deal with Shahu entrusting the coastal defense to him. Even though, Malvan-Panhala Belt have remained with Tarabai. In 1731, by a treaty between Shahu & Sambhaji raje Bhosale, Malvan –Panhala belt came under Bhosale and Malvan became the headquarters of the most active and destructive of the coast pirates.
British, as per their policy , tried to play Peshave against Angre. After the latter’s defeat, with the help of Peshave’s , British tried to gain the strength in the coastal region. Their ships started to travel in konkan region. They, however, had to face opposition from local Sardar. The Company then order British force under the major Gorden & Watson to capture fort. In 1766, Rani Jijabai Karveerkar from Kolhapur entered into treaty with British & got back the fort Sindhudurga.
Subsequently, Sawant rewarded by title of ‘Raje Bahadur’ from Mughal emperor in 1785. the fact which Peshvas as well as Kolhapur rulers did not like. Both sent their troops to fight with Sawant at Sawantwadi. They capture Gandharva gad, Rangana, Narasinhgad, Nivati & in the process they establish their camp at Vengurla. Sawant asked for help to Portuguese. On arriving the help of Portuguese, troops of Kolhapur came in Malvan.
In 1792, Malvan reeling under severe draught. It took two years for things to settle down.
Around the time, British started dreaming of establishing their sovereignty over India. Enraged by harassment of their sea going commercial vehicles. British sent their troops on Bhosale who were ruling on Sindhudurga fort. Bhosale entered in to a treaty under which British open their first commercial settlement at Malvan ,in 1792. Since Piracy is not stopped, In 1802, all imports & exports in Malvan came to standstill by British. After 4 years, they opened up Malvan port on kind request of Portuguize & Kolhapurkar.
By 1818, the British got Successes in bringing the entire region under their sway A sea- route is opened between Vengurla & Vijaydurga. A district comprising of 37 villages like like Masure(11), Kandalgaon, Couke, Amberi, Amdos, Salel, Malvan, Salgaon, Revandi, Verle, Hadi, Devali, Maldi(17), Dangmode, Ovaliye, Asarodi, Vayangavade, Kirlos, Shirvade, Khotle, Hiwale, Golwan, Warad, Kalase, Talgaon, Nandos, Dhamapur, Pendur, Parad, Kumame & vengurla was formed. This came to be known as Malvan district. A judicial court is established in Malvan in 1822. This was the oldest judicial court of Malvan. In the year 1864, saw the formatin of district court in Ratnagiri. As a result Malvan was made into Tahsil, which least the social & commercial importance of Malvan.
Malvan port became functional in 1850. Ships with spars & Canoe were used for transport goods. These ships were to be anchored near the present Chiwala beach. Bombay Steam Navigation (BSN) launched steam passenger service in 1875-76. This was followed by India Co-operative Navigation & Trading, Ratnagiri Steam navigation Company, Sindhia company, Shipping Corporation of India, Choughule company. After an accident to ’Rohini’ Boat in Rajkot Rocks, Shipping service ended for ever, It was 1973.
‘Nagar Vachan Mandir’, the present city library was established in 1914. During British regime the library was known as Victoria Memorable Library. A free reading room & library was also start in 1923 at Bharad. Today it’s known as ‘Shivaji Vachan Mandir’. In 1900, Malvan has Grampanchayat to look after civic attires. It was elevated to stream of Muncipal corporation in 1917/18. Road transport was in private sectors till 1950, when the preset State Transport Corporation was formed. In the same year power generation started in Malvan.
The old Ratnagiri district bifurcate in 1981 which come to be formed a new Sindhudurga district. The name Sindhudurga perpetuate the memory of Chatrapati Shivaji.