Junnar

Junnar is a city in the Pune district of the Indian state of Maharashtra.[1] The city has history dating back to the first millenium.The nearby fort of Shivneri was the birthplace of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire. Junnar has been declared as the first tourism taluka in Pune district by the government of Maharashtra on 9 January 2018.[2]

Junnar has been an important trading and political center for the last two millennia. The town is on the trade route that links the ports of western India or more specifically of Konkan with Deccan interiors. The first mention of Junnar comes the Greco -Roman travellers from the first millennium,[3][4][5] The Indo-Scythian Western Satraps ruled at Junnar during the 2nd century CE as shown by their cave inscriptions in the area of Junnar, at Manmodi Caves.[6] "Yavana" Greeks also left donative inscriptions in the 2nd century CE at Lenyadri and Manmodi Caves.[7]According to Damodar Kosambi, the real name of Junnar may have been Tagara.In his opinion,the name Junnar may be the contracted form of Junapura (Old city).[8]

In the 1400s, the Russian traveler, Afanasy Nikitin spent many months in Junnar during the monsoon season. He describes vividly the life of the Bahamani governor ruling area around Junnar.[9] The Nizam Shahi had Junnar as their first capital.[10] Later in early 1600s, Malik Ambar the Nizam Shahi general moved his capital there.[11] The father of Shivaji, Shahaji Raje worked for Malik Ambar early in his career. Shivaji was born at the nearby Shivneri fort.

Junnar has an average elevation of 689 metres (2260 feet).[12] State Transport buses run between Pune and Junnar from Shivajinagar ST stand. The Kukadi River flows to the north.

The Junnar area has been historically famed for its teak forest. The Shaniwar Wada, the de facto seat of government of the Maratha Empire in Pune was completed in 1732 by Peshwa Bajirao I.Teak from Junnar was used extensively in its construction.

As of 2001 India census,[13] Junnar had a population of 24,740. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Junnar has an average literacy rate of 77%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 81%, and female literacy is 72%. In Junnar, 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.

State Transport buses run between Pune and Junnar from Shivajinagar ST stand from 06:30 AM every hour. Also bus facility available from Mumbai (kalyan) for every 10–30 minutes from 05:20 AM till 12:30 AM. Same is the case from Ahamadnagar and Nashik. Transportation from Ahamadnagar and Mumbai takes a route of NH 222 while from Pune and Nashik will take a route of NH 50.

Junnar area is dotted with historic places including Shivneri, the birthplace of the great hindu king Shivaji maharaj phalgun vadya trutiya yugabdh 4731(19 feb 1630), the cave temple of Lenyadri ;Kulswami khandoba temple wadaj; One of the famous temple of Lord Ganesha Ozar and the walled town of Junnar itself. Also Junnar has historical under ground water chain built by Shia Muslim intellectual Malik Ambar which it exists at Sayyed Wada (hauz) Junnar and Pirzade Wada. Both water reservoirs exist today

Jivdhan, Jivdhan (or Jeevdhan) is a hill fortress situated 1 km near the modern day town of Ghatghar in Junnar Taluka of Pune district in Maharashtra, India.

Hadsar, fort is among the many forts in Junnar region of Pune district which were meant for protection of the ancient commercial trade route from Mawal region to Kalyan via Naneghat. There is a marvelous sculpture design of the bastion and the fort entrance, which is not seen elsewhere. They are all carved from a single rock.

Surroundings of Junnar are very rich with ancient cave temples. In total there are more than 220 individual rock-cut caves located in four hills around Junnar.[14] Junnar has the largest and longest cave excavations in India.[15] The most famous among the caves is the Lenyadri complex. It represents a series of about 30 rock-cut mostly Buddhist caves. Cave 7 is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to the god Ganesha. It is one of the Ashtavinayak shrines, a set of the eight prominent Ganesha shrines in Maharashtra. Twenty-six of the caves are individually numbered. The caves face to the south and are numbered serially from east to west.[16][17][18] Caves 6 and 14 are chaitya-grihas (chapels), while the rest are viharas (dwellings for monks). The latter are in the form of dwellings and cells. There are also several rock-cut water cisterns; two of them have inscriptions. The layout of the caves, in general, are similar in pattern and shape. They generally have one or two sides with two long benches for occupants' use.[16][17][18] The caves date from between the 1st and 3rd century AD; the Ganesha shrine situated in Cave 7 is dated to the 1st century AD,[16][19] though the date of conversion to a Hindu shrine is unknown. All of the caves arise from Hinayana Buddhism.[16]

The caves of Junnar are grouped according to the following classification:[20]

About 20km to the northwest of Junnar, the Naneghat caves can also be seen.

Several inscriptions related to donations by Yavanas (Indo-Greeks) have been found at the Junnar caves.[21] These inscriptions are located in the Shivneri Caves:[22]

At Manmodi Caves, another Yavana donor named Chanda dedicated a hall front to the Samgha.[21][23]

Similar donations by Yavanas can be found at the Nasik Caves and the Great Chaitya of the Karla Caves.[21][23]

Agritourism or agrotourism, as it is defined most broadly, involves any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch. Few popular such venture, "Parashar Agri & Village Tourism centre", is situated in village Rajuri of Junnar Taluka, and other Rashmigreenland Agri Tourism Center, located at foot hills of Leynadri temple, Golegaon, Junnar

An emerging group of youth from junnar are trying new trends into business of agrotourism. Arranging Treks, tours, leaving in countryside, tents under the sky are features you can tried out here with them. Easy accessible from Pune, Mumbai and Nashik

There have been numerous cases of leopards attacking people and livestock in Junnar in recent years with many fatalities. According to field studies, carried out in Junnar, the man-leopard crisis has been brought about not only by development but by the recent translocations of the leopards.The problem is most acute in areas bordering Junnar Forest Division where sugarcane plantations provide a good hiding place for leopards.[24] There is a leopard rescue centre located at Manikdoh for this cause