My memories of Deolali:
I have been more of a Deolali man than of Mumbai. Deolali is very dear to me. Most of my childhood holidays and vacations have taken place in Deolali than at my village “Kudachi”.
As I am a half ‘Kutchi Memon’, we used to stay in this beautiful sanatorium called “Fatmabai Sanatorium” which was built in 1934 by Fatmabai Abdul Rehman Moledina who belonged to Kutchi Memon Jamat. Right now the sanatorium is being taken care of by her father Abdul Razak Saeed sister’s son Abdul Ahad Saaz who also happens to be the trustee of the sanatorium.
The sanatorium has 10 blocks
6 big blocks and 4 smaller blocks.
The sanatorium also has its own small Mosque as well.
We the kids had a great time playing cricket, local games like Kabaddi pakdam pakdi and cycling. In the evening there were gole walas, ghodewalas and oonthwalas coming over to give us the happiness of our life time.
There was a a very close relative of ours called Hanifa Maa, we all use to call her ‘Ammijan’.
All the mothers and the aunties use to gather in her block and make delicious Paaya or Khichda. I can vouch for this that the best period of Fatmabai Sanatorium was when Ammijan used to come and stay at sanatorium. She unfortunately has expired but the people who has stayed at the sanatorium with her at that point of time would vouch that those were the glorious days of sanatorium when everything was just bubbling with excitement and happiness. We all miss you Ammijan. Allah bless you where ever you are. Amen.
The evenings used be in the famous and popular restaurant of Deolali called “Bharat cold drink house” gulping down faloodas. The Bharat Cold Drink House was estd in 1948 and is owned by Gopal and Deepak.
We use to stuff ourselves with cakes and pastries from the ‘Empire stores and bakery’ which is just round the corner of ‘Bharat Cold Drink House‘.
Occasional evening stroll at the Deolali Railway Station or
at the ‘Shri Khandoba Maharaj Temple‘ would be best way to end the day.
Shri Khandoba Maharaj Temple
History of Shri Khandoba Maharaj Temple
Shri Khandoba Maharaj is an incarnation of Lord Shiva and this temple dedicated to him is reportedly over 500 years (Five hundred) old. As per mythology, the incarnation of Lord Shiva into Shri Khandoba is because two brothers amongst the demons Malla Daitya and Mani Daitya pleased Lord Shiva with their prayers and obtained his blessings that nobody on earth could kill them. Brothers after getting the boon from Lord Shiva however became power drunk and started harassing the common people, saints and sages. This could not be tolerated by Lord Shiva and he himself incarnated as Shri Khandoba and killed both the demons. After killing them, Lord Shiva relaxed on this hill and hence this temple is called ‘Vishramgadh’.
There is also an ancient legend centering this hill is that during “Shiv Kaal” ‘Chhatrapati Shri Shivaji Maharaj’ while traveling on his mission towards the north relaxed on this hill.
The management of this temple is with the Amale family since its inception.
This religious landmark of Deolali is also known as “Temple Hill”.
Oh those were the days when fun and frolic was the order of the day. As some one put it .. childhood is the best period of one’s life.
That was about my childhood, now I have my own kids and even though I have my small little house in Deolali but still me and my family prefer booking the sanatorium and staying at “Fatmabai Sanatorium”.
There is that same serenity, peace and calmness even now in the sanatorium. The fun and frolic .. laughter and the smiles are all there intact.
It’s just that the generation has changed. Earlier there were we now there are our own kids. As I remember probably they too will remember all this.
Its been 3 years that I visited this beautiful town ‘Deolali’. Last when I visited I was not into photography. This time though it was quick visit, I didn’t want to miss opportunity to shoot certain landmarks of this town whose memories will always be etched in my mind forever.
Apart from my personal association with this beautiful hill station .. a little brief about Deolali is that it was set up in this hill station as a Military Sanatorium by the British army, about 100 miles northeast of Bombay.
One of its functions was to act as a transit camp for soldiers who had finished their tours of duty and were waiting for troop ships to take them back to Britain. Deolali is what the British used to call Doolally once.
Deolali is a census town in Nashik District in the state of Maharashtra, India.
Deolali is home to the School of Artillery, the premier institution for imparting training to all ranks of the regiment.
Also the great legendary actor Shri Dilip Kumar has his childhood link with this town. Before becoming an actor, his family had a fruit business and he used to come down from Deolali to Mumbai for his business purpose.
Other celebrity actors who are associated with Deolali are Mr. Vinod Khanna, Mr Arshad Warsi, Mr. Arjun Rampal and Ms. Bhumika Chawla. As per my knowledge they all studied in Barnes High School.
Photography: Humayunn N A Peerzaada