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History of Navsari :


Navsari one of the oldest cities of Gujarat, has an inspiring history of over 2000 years. According to the Greek historical writings, a celebrated Egyptian astronomer and geographer named Tolemy mentioned about Navsari's port in hisbook written about 1850 years ago(150 A.D.). The geographic location he showed as Narispa, is in fact the Navsari of today(Ref: Bombay Gazetteer. Record 13).

The origin of the name "Navsari" has a very fascinating history. In the past, the city of Navsari has been associated with many names such as Nag Vardhana, Nag Shahi, Nag Sarika, Nag Mandal, Nav Sarika and Nav Sareh. Some of the legends associated with the various names of Navsari are as follows:

Shayashray Shiladitya, who ruled over Navsari in the seventh century named this city NAG VARDHANA in honor of his Guru Nag Vardhana. During the same period, the name changed to NAV SARIKA as is evidenced by a recovered copper plate dated 669 A.D. The legend is that Shayashray Shiladttya presented a copper plate to a priest in his town. The copper plate read that Shiladitya, the ruler of "Nav Sarika," had bestowed a nearby village upon this priest of the Kashyapclan.

Another recovered copper plate dated 821 A.D. implies that the city's name later changed into NAG SARIKA. The copper plate indicates that a Rashtrakut king named Kark Suvarna Varsh gave "Nag Sarika" as a gift to his teacher named AparaJeet, pupil of Sumati kaharishi, who in turn was a pupil of the famous Digambar Jain teacher Acharya Mallavadi. There is a popular legend behind the name "Nag Sarika." Fables suggest that there was a big papal tree on the bank of a pond in the city. A huge Cobra lived in a hollow of this tree. On this same tree, Sarika _ a singing bird _ had her nest. As they resided in the same place, both became friends. Everyday Sarika entertained the Cobra by singing her melodious tunes. The legends have it that due to this remarkable friendship between the Nag (Cobra) and the Sarika (singing bird), the city's name became popular as NAG SARIKA.

Another legend of the Nag talks about the origins of a different name for the city: NAG SHAHI. Historically, a Nag (Black Cobra) temple was situated next to a talav (pond) in the city. People worshipped the Black Cobra for its power and Prowess. Although the pond (talav) does not exist any more, the historical Nag Temple still exists in the area known as "Nag Talavdi" today. Hence the city came to be known as NAG SHAHI, which means the power and prowess of the Black Cobra.

According to the Parsi tradition, in 1142 A.D., when they first came to Navsari, the city was named as NAG MANDAL. The Parsis found the city's atmosphere to that of "Sari" prant of Iran. In the Farsi dialect, "Nao" means new and "Sari" refers to the place in Iran. Hence, the name NAO SARI came into being.

The Fourteenth century marked the beginning of Muslim rule in Gujarat. Navsari came under the Muslim rule in the late sixteenth century when its name was changed to NAV SAREH. The anecdote is that according to the Muslim tradition, there were nine "Sarchs" of Muslims in the city and hence the name was derived as NAV (Nine) SAREH (Sarchs).

The above changes in names show that Navsari, like any other city, has passed through many vicissitudes in the matter of political reign. About fourteen hundred years ago, the kings of the Chalukya Dynasty governed the region of Navsari. Later on, the Parsis, who migrated from Iran, virtually ruled this small town. The reign of the Parsis ended as the Muslim rulers took over. For the last one hundred years, until India's independence in 1947, Navsari was the property of the Gaekwads of Baroda.

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