Heritage Hunt: ‘Hero Stones’ pay tribute to naval warriors of Shilahara dynastyhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/heritage-hunt-hero-stones-pay-tribute-to-naval-warriors-of-shilahara-dynasty-5553113/

Heritage Hunt: ‘Hero Stones’ pay tribute to naval warriors of Shilahara dynasty

The stones, also called ‘Veeragal’, have intricate carvings and are made of flat basalt. About 8-ft high, the stones were built as a tribute to warriors of the Shilahara dynasty navy.

Heritage Hunt: ‘Hero Stones’ pay tribute to naval warriors of Shilahara dynasty
‘Hero Stones’ at Eksar in Borivali West. (Express photo by Dilip Kagda)

Mumbai’s western suburbs are home to four ‘Hero Stones’, built centuries ago in memory of war heroes. The stones are located at Eksar in LIC Colony, Borivali West.

According to experts, the stones, also called ‘Veeragal’, have intricate carvings and are made of flat basalt. About 8-ft high, the stones were built as a tribute to warriors of the Shilahara dynasty navy. The stones at Eksar date back to 10-12th century. The uniqueness of these stones is their depiction of the navy’s battles. Such stones found in other parts of Maharashtra often depict land battles.

Vinayak Parab, who has studied the stones in Eksar, said, “They are the most intricately carved hero stones in India and also known as ‘Eksar Veergal’. These stones are from the medieval period. They depict the Eksar War. Earlier, these stones were lying near a pond for many years. Women from Eksar village used these stones for washing clothes, unaware of their historical importance.”

According to local residents, earlier there were five stones but now one is missing. Such stones are also found in Konkan, Kolhapur and Goa, all depicting land battles.

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Conservation architect Rahul Chemburkar said, “They are unique because of size and scale. They describe a naval battle, which was most probably fought in the creeks because of which it has been connected to the Shilahara dynasty. They are also called ‘Eksar Stones’ as they are found in Eksar village. They were built in memory of a hero who had laid down his life.”

But the stones have escaped restoration efforts on the part of the government. Chemburkar said, “People around these stones worship them as goddesses. They need to be sensitised about their historical importance. There needs to be information in the form of some board about the stones.”