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History of Shirdi
Shirdi is known for its abode of famous saint Sri Sai Baba. Shirdi is a small town situated in Ahamadanagar district of state of Maharashtra. Town of Shirdi which houses the temple of Sri Saibaba is visited by lakhs pilgrims round the year from across the country. History of Shirdi is linked to the life of Sri Sai Baba.
In the year 1954 the local people of the village of Shirdi found a young boy in meditating position under a neem tree. People were attracted by his tranquility, wisdom and Spiritual power. Soon he became a famous fakir in surroundings area of the village. Later on he spent his six decades of his life there. People began to call him by the name of Sai Baba. Sai Baba relentlessly worked for the poor and wretched people. He is believed to have performed many miracles and thus helped many people. He became so famous that many people come to seek his blessing from far and wide. Among his followers were many well off people who used to donate some money to Sri Baba. Sai Baba on other hand helped the poor with the same money. Sai Baba remained in Shirdi until his death in 1918. Privileged by the touch of such holy man the town of Shirdi has now become one of most important pilgrimage center in India. The place where Sri Sai Baba took his last breath now houses a big temple of him. The temple is visited by lakhs of pilgrims from all over the country round the year.
A prominent pilgrim site for the Hindus Madurai is the third largest city of Tamil Nadu. Madurai has a long and constant history since 3Rd BC. It has the references in the written history of Greek Ambassador Megesthenes and kautilya the minister in the Mauryan Empire. Madurai was a prominent cultural and administrative center during Pandyan rule till about 1311; afterwards rule of Ma’bar was established by Delhi Sultanate. Later it came to be known as Ma’bar sultanate which ruled till Vijaynagar Empire absorbed Madurai in 14Thcentury finally British East India Company ruled Madurai till India’s independence in 1947.George Procter was the first collector of Madurai.
History of Varanasi
Varanasi was known as Kashi Kshetra in the Rigvedic texts. Since the ages it has been regarded as one of the important Pilgrimage centers for Hindus, Jains and Buddhists. The place was formed into an independent city during 18th century.
The earliest mention of the city could be found in Rigveda. Then the great epics of India (The Ramayana and The Mahabharata) talk about this place. Buddha gave his sermon at Saranath which is just 10 m away from Varanasi. The 23rd Tirthankara of Jainism (Parsvanatha) was born here.
From 11th to 17th century Varanasi was under the capture of the Muslim rulers. The city saw a setback during this time due to the invaders. Kingdom of Kashi was established during 18th century. Under the British rule Varanasi was made a separate State in 1910, making Ramanagar its headquarters. The Kashi Naresh is a title of honor bestowed upon the king. Kashi Naresh is the supreme power concerning ritualistic activities there. He stays in Ramanagar fort. The then Kashi Naresh raja Balwant Singh built this fort. After Independence, Varanasi merged with the Indian Union.