Famous for their festive celebrations like Ganeshotsav, Shiv Jayanti, Holi and Rangpanchami, Dande Hanuman Mitra Mandal has rejuvenated a Peshwa era Rahad again after 62 years. An old Rahad at Dande Hanuman Chowk, next to Quazipura Police Chowki has been rejuvenated. The elderlies in the area informed that the Rahad was opened by Gopikabai, wife of Nanasaheb Peshwa.
This Rahad is about 300 years old constructed in the Peshwa era. It belongs to Kalal community, which established themselves in this area. The last Rangpanchami celebration at this Rahad was held in the year of 1958. After that, it was closed due to various reasons by the community. “The Rahad was used to decorate with pandal, flowers, tree branches and other things. Rangapanchami was used to celebrate to the beats of traditional beats of Dhol, Halagi and dimadi,” informed local Madhukar Shirsath (65).
84-year-old Maniklal Ray from Hayayya Kalal community informed Deshdoot Times, “The community used to conduct a religious ceremony before the opening of the Rahad. The people used to give an offering of an animal like goat or hen to the god after conducting a pooja. A community feast was served a day before the celebration. The people used to play Rangpanchami with making colours from flowers and natural pulps. Our great grandfather uses to tell us that the Rahad has been opened by Gopikabai Peshwa.”
He further added that the celebration was stopped one year after a priest who used to conduct the religious ceremony of the Rahad died. In order to pay him condolences, the Rahad was kept closed that year. Next year another important person from the community died. After that people lost interest in conducting the celebration and eventually, the Rahad got closed.
The Rahad has been opened after 62 years. The youngsters in the area are very excited for the celebration of Rangapanchami at this newly rejuvenated Rahad. The group was planned to open this Rahad last year and accordingly it was rejuvenated.
“This Rahad belongs to Hayayya Kalal community. It was closed 62 years ago due to various reasons. After that, it was totally neglected by the people. The Rahad has been opened for celebrating Rangpanchami peacefully in the area. Every year Dande Hanuman Mitra Mandal has a unique idea of celebration, so for this year’s celebration we decided to rejuvenate this historic Rahad.”
– Gajanan Shelar, Corporator
300 years old Rahad
The Rahad at Dande Hanuman Chowk is about 300 years old and constructed during the Peshwa era. It is 12×12 in width and length and is about 10 feet deep. The Rahad also have compartment made to put feet in them in every side of its wall. Dande Hanuman Mitra Mandal is conducting repair works currently to the Rahad to make it safe for use. The group has decided to use naturally made colour in the Rahad.