Chhindwara

The Birth Place of H. H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi

“You must be knowing that I was born in Chhindwara, and Mecca and Chhindwara are on the same Cancer Line (Tropic of Cancer) – How is it?……” -H.H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (Cabella Ligure, Italy, 25.05.1997)

"My father built this house about eighty years back. He was very imaginative and fond of guests, so he also put up guest bedrooms and guest bathrooms such, and it was a hill station. Now of course, because of crowdedness - very cold and a hill station - so people used to come, his friends used to come from Nagpur, so he had made arrangements for them; there were no hotels or anything - so they used to have them. And the people of this place are extremely hospitable, very hospitable. So it was his idea that he should have a house here where his guests would be. His brother had a big house but it was joint and he couldn't receive his guests, so he thought it's better to build a house here, and behind was a huge big compound bigger than this, which I have seen. I was only four years of age when we went away from here, but I remember each and everything about this house, and everything about Chhindwara." -H.H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, Talk at Chhindwara, 18/12/93

Shri Mataji was born as Nirmala Salve on March 21, 1923 to Shri Prasad Rao and Mrs Cornelia Salve in Chhindwara city of Madhya Pradesh. Chhindwara, located on the South-West region of ‘Satpura Range of Mountains’ lies between latitude 21″23′ and 22″49′ North and longitude 78″10′ and 79″24′ East. Mostly, dense forest covers most of the area of the district. It is bound by the plains of Nagpur District (in Maharashtra State) on the South, Hoshangabad and Narsinghpur Districts on the North,  Betul District on the West and Seoni Districts on the East.

It is believed that once upon a time Chhindwara District was full of “”Chhind”” (Date-Palm) trees, and the place was named “Chhind”-“Wada” (wada means place). There is also another story that because of the population of Lions (in Hindi it is called “”Sinh””), it was considered that making entry into this district is akin to passing through the entrance of Lions’ den. Hence it was called “”Sinh Dwara”” (means entrance of the lion). In due course of time it became “”Chhindwara””.

History records the place from the time of the rule of Bhakth Bulund King, whose kingdom was spread over the Satpura range of hills and it is believed that his rule was upto the 3rdCentury. One ancient plaque, belonging to “Rashtrakut” dynasty, found in “Neelkanth” village. This dynasty ruled upto the 7th Century. Then came the “”Gondvana”” dynasty which ruled the area with “Devgarh” as the capital. King ‘Jatav’ of ‘Gond’ community has built the Devgarh fort. Bhakth Bulund King was most powerful in the dynasty and he had adopted Muslim religion during the rule of Emperor “Aurangzeb”. Later the power changed hands many times and finally ‘Maratha rule’ ended in 1803. On 17 September 1803, East India Company had taken over this kingdom by defeating ‘Raghuji II’, starting the British rule.

Chhindwara district also played a distinct role in the Indian Freedom Movement with the arrival of ‘Tantia Tope’ in 1857-58. As a part of National Awareness Moment Dr.B.S.Gunj and Dada Saheb Khapre visited this place on 11th May 1906. The people of Chhindwara participated in fight against Rowlatt Act., Non-Cooperation movement, fight against Simon Commission, Jhanda Satyagrah, Jungle Satyagrah, Quit India Movement, Dhanoura Kand etc. Mahatma Gandhi visited this place on 6th Jan 1921, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru visted on 31st December 1936 and Sarojini Naidu on 18th April 1922. Many brave freedom fighters of this land laid their life for the goal of Independence. After Independence ‘Nagpur’ was made the capital of Chhindwara District, and on 1st November 1956 this district was re-constituted with Chhindwara as the capital.

It ranks 1st in area in Madhya Pradesh State and occupies 3.85% of the area of the state. As per Census 2001 the total population of Chhindwara town is 1,22,309 and of the district is 18,48,882. Chhindwara is also known as the “Corn City” of India. It is the administrative headquarters of Chhindwara District. It reachable by rail or road from adjacent cities Nagpur and Jabalpur. The nearest airport is in Nagpur (125 Kms).

Chhindwara is famous for its forest and mineral wealth and also for a few eminent tourist spots such as Tamia, Patalkot, Devgarh Fort, Tribal Museum and renowned ‘Gotmaar fair’. One of the adjacent tourist spots is Bhartadev where a stone thought to weigh 10,000 kg apparently stands on a pin point.

Chhindwara Project – Mother’s Shrine

 The House where Shri Mataji was born was acquired from the last occupant, Mr. Jamte by the HH Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi Sahaja Yoga Trust on 14th July 2005.   Immediately thereafter, conservation experts from the Indian National Trust for Culture & Heritage (INTACH) were commissioned to firstly, assess the extent of structural damage due to vintage of the building and secondly, to suggest a roadmap to restore the building to its original grandeur. The express mandate was to restore the building to its original facade and form and at the same time strengthening it such that this spiritual treasure can be preserved for all time to come.

In the back side of the House, a meditation hall with a capacity of approximately 500 people has been built. The Hall has a basement, a mezzanine floor and a first floor. It has been equipped with Air Conditioning and a modern crowd circulation pattern to ease movement of people. It is in structural harmony with the overall structure with similar material as the main House being used in construction and with similar visual appearance. Space has been made around the house so that Yogis can walk around the outside of the house to tour the Shrine. A route has been made for the Yogis to see the actual room in which our Holy Mother was born and thereafter see other aspects of the house. This route has been made to cater to the expected rush of Yogis in coming times and to allow everyone to see the Shrine in a systematic, organised manner.

“…you have come here (Chhindwara) to see this birthplace of Mine. It was such, such vibrations that My Sahasrara became completely jammed with vibrations: so cool inside, and outside was so hot that I didn’t know what was happening. So I’m happy all of you could come and see this place, and a very humble house it was, but in those days it was the most, I mean, well-planned house as such, and was very much appreciated by people.“
H.H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh, India, 18.12.1993

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