Garhmukteshwar

Garhmukteshwar

Garhmukteshwar (गढ़मुक्तेश्वर) is a city and a municipal board in Ghaziabad district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.

Demographics

As of 2001 India census, Garhmukteshwar had a population of 33,432. Males constitute 54% of the population and females 46%. Garhmukteshwar has an average literacy rate of 50%, lower than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 58%, and female literacy is 41%. In Garhmukteshwar, 17% of the population is under 6 years of age. Around five kilometres from Garhmukteshwar town, flows the holy river Ganga. Garhmukteshwar is situated on the National Highways 24 joining New Delhi with Kolkata. The town is situated 100 odd Kilometers from the New Delhi and is the closest point from the capital where river Ganges flow. Garhmukteshwar also famous for its bathing fair that takes place on the Full Moon Day of the month of Kartik. About 8 Lacks persons, from far and near, come to have a dip in the river Ganga that they consider to be holy. Another fair, held on the occasion of Dussehra, attracts about around 50,000 devotees.

History

According to Thakur Deshraj, during the period of Anangpal Garhwals were the rulers of Garhmukteshwar. One ancestor of Rajpal was Jat chieftain named Mukta Singh, who constructed the Garhmukteshwar fort. When Prithvi Raj Chauhan became the ruler of Delhi he attacked Garhmukteshwar. There was a severe war and Garhwals were able to repel the army of Prithvi Raj Chauhan but the circumstances of that time forced them to move out from there and migrated to Rajasthan.

At Talawdi when there was war between Muhammad Ghori and Prithvi Raj, Jats attacked the army of Mughals but they did not support Prithvi Raj because he had captured their state. Even one Jat warrior Puran Singh from Garhwal clan became General of the Army of Malkhan. Malkhan had become popular due to support of Puran Singh.

When Garhwals lost Garhmukteshwar, they came to Rajasthan and occupied Ker, Bhatiwar, Chhawsari etc near Jhunjhunu in 13th century. As per their bards when these people came to this place, Johiya, Mohiya Jats were the rulers of this area. Bhats have mentioned them as Tomars. When Muslim influence increased in this area they had wars with them as a result they moved from here to there. One of these groups moved to Kuloth, which was ruled by Chauhans. After a war they occupied Kuloth. Sardar Kurdaram who was a descendant of Garhwals of Kuloth had been tehsildar of Nawalgarh.

Garhmukteshwar has also been mentioned in the Bhagvat Purana and the Mahabharata. It is said that it was a part of the ancient city of Hastinapur (the capital of the Kauravas). The place once boasted off a very ancient fort that is said to be built by later Pandavas, brothers of Kaurvas. A Maratha general Mir Bhawan repaired this fort during the Anglo-Maratha war. It is said that the Fort was in so good a condition when the British took possession of the place that it was found possible to locate the District Administration in it without incurring much expense on alteration. Sadly, not much remains of that Fort now and one can only trace some ruins that hardly signify the much-talked glory.The name of the place is derived from the great temple of Mukteshwar Mahadeva, dedicated to the goddess Ganga who is worshipped here in four temples, two situated on a high cliff and two below it. One of them is situated alongside Meerut road. The place is famous for its 80 Sati Pillars. These pillars mark the spots where Hindu widows are said to have committed sati. The town also boasts off a mosque built by Gays-ud-din Balban that bears an inscription in Arabic dating 682 Hijri or 1283 A.D.

There is a colourful description of day to day life in Garhmukteshwar and the neighbouring Brig Ghat in Malachi O'Doherty's book, I Was A Teenage Catholic. O'Doherty lived there for three years in the 1970s with Swami Paramananda Saraswati.

References

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