Sanjeev Kotnala: Is Maharashtra Tourism missing out on something?

03 Aug,2022

By Sanjeev Kotnala


Sanjeev KotnalaThe Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has developed a network of properties and destinations from beaches to forts, temples to yatras. However, it will be not unjustified to say that they have failed to connect the dots and create circuits. Even the Ashta Vinayak circuit is not developed to its potential. Forget the Sambhaji Raje circuit, surprisingly, in the  state there is no circuit on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj for interested parties and the local population. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Sambhaji Raje tourist circuits can help the population better know and appreciate the history and keep the pride high.


This is a possibility with high potential. The book Sambhaji by Vishwas Patil brought me near to the history and the bravery of Sambhaji Raje. As a person it created enough curiosity and interest to visit few trademark geographical highpoints – but when one checks on the net there is no tourist circuit by private or Government operators fulfilling what can be a huge latent need.


Super brilliant- Sambhaji – by Vishwas Patil – A Review

The book Sambhaji by Vishwas Patil translated into English by Vikrant Pande was with me for long. @indicaacademy has delivered it under their 1000 Reviewer programme; the sheer length of the book- more than 500 pages and not knowing what to expect was the barrier. The interest was fuelled when the erstwhile Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra announced the renaming of Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar. It was one of their last decisions on June 29, 2022, before Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray resigned.

I have lived in Mumbai since 2004 and have often heard about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. I have hardly heard people referring much to Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, the Maratha king, who never lost a battle, never knelt before the Mughals and kept the Hindu Swaraj flag flying despite some who sold their souls for money.




Sambhaji Maharaj, the Second Maratha Chhatrapati, succeeded the great Shivaji Maharaj at a very young age. From the time of his coronation till his death, he fought the Mughals for eight consecutive years. During this period, none of the Maratha Fort was ever captured by the Mughals led by their king- Aurangzeb. He was just 32 when he was captured and assassinated.

The book, as the name suggests, is about Chhatrapati Sambhaji, his life and his battles. His thinking and his passion for the Hindu Swaraj.

It is a fictional biographical account of Sambhaji. It presents an observer’s point of view into his journey – from birth, love and care of parents to coronation battle to his death. It helps you  see through the mind of Sambhaji Maharaj and his life. His resolve to honour the dream of his father. His team of advisors, along with the traitors and the damage they inflicted.



I have always planned but never been to Rajgarh Fort or the Janjira Fort, and I have made road trips coming down the steep slopes of Sahyadari at Mahad. Places that I now see in a different light. The book helps visualise these places, battles, and the lead characters.

Now, soon I will visit Rajgarh Fort, and next time around won’t come back from a Kashid-Murd trip without visiting the famed Janjira Fort. History would have been different if Shivaji Raje or Sambhaji Raje had won this fort. I do hope that Maharashtra will build strong Shivaji and Sambhaji tourist circuits.



It is simply an unputdownable book. Worked into multiple standalone linear 22 episodic chapters for you to take breathers in between. However, while reading, I was so curious to know what happens next that this book of more than 500 pages took less than three days between my busy schedule to complete.

I missed a representative map of Maharashtra in the book- a comparative map for the reader to visualise directions and action, spaces and the cities or the forts mentioned in the story.



Sambhaji – the book is exciting and engaging and brilliantly transcreated (I prefer that to a typical translator) by Vikrant Pande. The book has impressed me, and I plan to read the two other books by Vishwas Patil. Mahanayak- Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and Panipat – the Third Battle of Panipat.

I must appreciate Vikrant Pande, the trans-creator for his excellent work. I can’t read Marathi (not that I can speak the language), and without Vikrant, I would have missed out on the brilliant work of Vishwas Patil.

I recommend you to read this book. And I do hope that the English transcreation will widen the readers for Vishwas Patil’s work in Marathi and many more to experience the fabulous writing and efforts of Vikrant Pande.

I rate Vishwas Patil as a better storyteller than Aish Tripathi, Ashwin Sanghi and Anand Neelakantan. If you are comfortable reading in Marathi, I will push you to read the Marathi original version.


Triva Aurangabad And Sambhaji Nagar

Aurangabad was founded in 1610 by Malik Ambar, the Siddi general of the Nizamshahi dynasty of Ahmadnagar. The city was named Khirki or Khadki at the time. In 1626, Malik’s son Fateh Khan changed the name to Fatehpur. In 1653, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb invaded Deccan and made Fatehpur his capital- and renamed it Aurangabad. On May 8, 1988, Sena head Balasaheb Thackeray announced the renaming of the city to Sambhaji Nagar after Sambhaji Maharaj. In 1995, the Aurangabad Corporation passed a resolution to do so. Just before resigning on June 29,2022, the Shiv Sena government decided to rename it Sambhaji Nagar. The current Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government wants the name to Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar


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