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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 5, p. 400.


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400


ARASIBIDI


Arasibidi (or 'The Queen's Route').-A ruined and almost deserted
village in the Hungund tdluka of Bijapur District, Bombay, situated in
15 53' N. and 760 o' E., about i6 miles south of Hungund. Here was
an old Chalukya capital called Vikrampur, founded by the great
Vikramaditya VI (I076-II26), under whom the power of the Western
Chalukyas (973-II90) was at its highest. Vikramaditya held Goa, and
carried his arms northwards beyond the Narbada and the Konkan. His
kingdom was not less than the Muhammadan kingdom of Bijapur in its
most prosperous times. How long Vikrampur remained a capital is
uncertain, but until the Kalachuri usurpation (I 15 ) it probably continued
a place of importance. Arasibidi contains two ruined Jain temples, two
large Chalukya and Kalachuri inscriptions in Old Kanarese on stone
tablets, and the ruined embankment of a lake.
Arasur Hills.-Hills in the Mahi Kantha Agency, Bombay. They
are celebrated for the shrine of Amba Bhawani, also known as Ambaji,
a place of pilgrimage near the source of the river Saraswati, at the
south-west end of the Aravalli range, about 15 miles north of the town
of Danta. The origin of the shrine is lost in antiquity. Probably
' Mother Amba' was one of the deities of the pre-Hindu race, whom the
Hindu conquerors absorbed into their pantheon and finally identified
with the goddess Bhawani. The shrine seems to have been as cele-
brated in the days of Vallabhi (746) as it is now, for tradition tells that,
when that famous city fell, king Siladitya's wife Pushpavati was on
a pilgrimage to Amba Bhawani. Here at a still earlier date the hair
of the infant Krishna was offered; and here in after days Krishna's
bride Rukmini worshipped the goddess, when she was rescued by her
husband from the threatened embraces of Sisupal. The road to the
shrine lies through valleys and over forest-clad hills. The stream of
votaries never quite ceases, but thrice a year, from all sides, great trains
of pilgrims make their way to the shrine. The chief pilgrimage is in
Bhadarva (September), the goddess's birth-month. On the eighth night
of the navaritri the Rana of Danta attends the worship, fans the
goddess with a horsehair fly-flapper, celebrates the fire sacrifice, and fills
with sweetmeats a huge cauldron, which the Bhils empty on the fall
of the garland from the goddess's neck. Among the offerings to the
goddess are animal sacrifices and spirituous liquors. In a walled
enclosure, partly filled with dwellings for temple servants and resthouses,
stands the temple, a small building of coarse marble. The builders are
said to have been Nagar Brahmans, but its date is not known. Some
of the pillars have inscriptions, chiefly of the sixteenth century, recording
private gifts. Four miles north-east of Amba Bhawani is the temple
of Koteshwar Mahadeo. Attached to it is a partly ruined resthouse.
Pilgrims who attend the Amba Bhawani shrine must visit this temple
also, and bathe in the source of the Saraswati.



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