Monday, September 20, 2010

A city that makes a difference

Coordinates 20°33′N 74°33′E / 20.55°N 74.55°E / 20.55; 74.55
Country India
State Maharashtra
District(s) Nashik District
MLA Mufti Mohammed Ismail
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)

Malegaon is spread over 12.95 square km area and located on the Mumbai-Agra (national highway number 03);around 300km North-East from Mumbai. This taluka is considered to have been in existence right from 915 AD. Its 1,404 ft above to the sea level and is one of the five most cold areas in Maharashtra when temperature comes down upto 6 degree Celsius.

It was once a small junction known as Maliwadi (hamlet of gardens) and quickly gained the reputation for being a source of employment. When Raja Naro Shankar Raje Bahadur started building a fort in the area in 1740, a project that took 25 years, a sizeable number of Muslim workers and artisans from places like Surat and northern India settled in the area. After the British capture of the Malegaon fort in 1818, Muslims from Hyderabad, Uttar Pradesh, Burhanpur etc migrated to this locality. There have been influx of migrants after the 1857 revolt and labourers came in huge number to Malegaon. As for communal riots, which became a regular feature of the country after the partition, Malegaon was severely affected during all the riots.

With more than 300 mosques (including some under construction mosques), the city has the largest Muslim population in Maharashtra pocket. The oldest mosque, Shahi Masjid, was constructed in 1798 AD in central Malegaon. The city has the credit to have been running the country's largest institution for women in Islamic studies, Jamiatus Swalehaat. Girls and women from Canada, south Africa, USA, London, Belgium, France, Italy and several other countries are currently studying there. Malegaon's 40-acre cemetery is said to be the largest in the country.

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