Baba Maneknath’s kin keep alive 600-yr old tradition

Legend has it that the saint had influenced or rather briefly interrupted Ahmed Shah's efforts to build Ahmedabad

For the last 600 years, the descendants of Baba Maneknath, the saint, who according to legend, 'influenced' or briefly 'interrupted' Ahmed Shah's effort to build the new city of Ahmedabad in 15th century, hoist a flag at Manek Burage on the day of Vijayadashmi.

According to the family, Manek Burage is the site from where the construction of the city began. On Sunday, the 12th Mahant (12th generation of the family) of the Maneknath Temple hoisted the flag in keeping with the family tradition.

Chandan Nath, the son of the 12th mahant of the temple, said: "Ahmed Shah was travelling near Sabarmati when he found this place suitable for the construction of a new city. Baba Maneknath was living there with his disciples. The wall which Shah's men would build during the day, would develop cracks at night. Shah then sought the Baba's guidance, who advised him to start the construction of the city at a different site as this was not that auspicious. Manek Burage is the place from where the construction of this city started."

According to the book —Ahmedabad Nu Itihaas (the first written history of Ahmedabad) — authored by Madanlal Vakhatchand in 1851, the story is something like this: "Ahmed Shah, the founder of the Ahmedabad, was facing a problem in the construction of the city. Whatever he would build during the day, would be demolished at night. After an inquiry, he found that Baba Maneknath was the man behind this."

During the day when Ahmed Shah's men built the city walls, Baba would weave a 'godari' (a blanket). At night, he would unweave it and the wall would crumble down. Shah summoned the Baba and asked him to demonstrate if he could enter a tea kettle. When Baba entered in it, he closed the openings of the kettle. As Baba protested, Shah asked him why he was demolishing the walls. Baba then told Shah that he wanted him to build something in his memory for the city to remember him for ages —thus the name of the crossing called Manek chowk."

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