Kolhapur: "We were oblivious to the fact that a coin at our home that has been passed on by our ancestors belonged to the era of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. I feel proud after realising that unknowingly we were the caretakers of this Hon. We handed it over to Chatrapati Sambhaji Raje, a descendant of the legendary warrior king on the occasion of Shivaji Maharaj's coronation ceremony on June 6," says Vitthal Oukirkar who lives with his family in Raigad Fort in Maharashtra.
Raigarh fort. Credits: wallpapercove.com,
Raigarh Fort is one of the strongest forts in the Deccan Plateau and its historic significance is closely intertwined with Maharashtra’s long legacy of conquests and fights against foreign rulers. Hon is a gold coin that was used as currency during the times of Maratha warrior king Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the 16th century. According to historians, these coins were issued on the occasion of his coronation in 1674. The coin reads 'Chhatrapati' on one side and 'Shri Raja Shiva' on the other. It is said that only 5 to 6 of these gold coins are available today.
One such coin was with the Oukirkar family living in a small hut on Raigad fort. The ancestors of the Oukirkar family were one of the first residents of the Raigad fort in modern times. According to Vitthal Oukirkar, his great grandmother had shifted here from Hirkani Vadi after her hut was burnt in an accident. From that time, all the generations of their family have been living here.
Image credits: Sandeep Khandekar
The family members make a living by selling snacks and trinkets to tourists visiting the fort. They had kept the coin with the statues of deities in their house. A journalist Sandeep Khadekar, who visits this family whenever he comes to Raigad, spotted this gold coin and could not help but make a guess at its historic significance. As soon as the family realised the value of the coin, they handed it over to Chatrapati Sambhaji Raje, a descendant of Chatrapati Shivaji.
Chatrapati Sambhaji Raje who is a Member of Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra felicitated all the family members and the coin will be kept for display in the coming months. The location will be decided soon.
"We all should be proud that we have discovered one more Hon. This is not just a gold coin but a chapter of our State history. Special thanks to Oukirkar family members for preserving this coin for so many years," Girish Jadhav, a historic weapon collector told NSoJ.