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Diocese of Sindhudurg

Diocese of Sindhudurg


6,200,500 is the total population in 2017. Konkani are the major ethnic groups.


Marathi, Konkani and English are the languages used in the diocesan territory. The main language of the Catholics is Konkani at home and Marathi outside.


Sindhudurg district is the southern part of the greater tract known as the 'Konkan'. It is historically famous for its long coastline and safe harbors. Sindhudurg district was part of the Ratnagiri district, but for administrative convenience and industrial and agricultural development Ratnagiri district was divided into Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts with effect from May 1, 1981. Sindhudurg district now comprises of the talukas of Kudal, Malvan, Devgad, Kankavli, Sawantwadi, Dodamarg and Vengurla carved out from Ratnagiri district and the new taluka of Vaibhawadi, created by transfer of 53 villages from Bavda taluka of Kolhapur district.

The word 'Konkan' is of Indian origin and of considerable antiquity, though the origin of the name has never been sufficiently explained. The seven kingdoms of the Konkan of Hindu mythology are mentioned in the 'Hindu History of Kashmir' and are said to have included nearly the whole of the west coast of India. The Pandavas are said to have passed through this region in the 13th year of their exile and had settled in this area for sometime. The Raja of this region, Veerat Ray, had accompanied them in the famous war at Kurukshetra with the Kauravas.

In the second century A.D. the great empire of the Mauryas annexed all the Konkan coast. In the middle of the sixth century the Kings of the Maurya and Nala dynasties appear to have been ruling in the Konkan. The district of Ratnagiri was under the Silaharas and the capital of their kingdom was probably Goa and later it may have been transferred to a more central place in the vicinity of Ratnagiri or Kharepatan. Chandrapur was one of the most ancient towns in the Konkan probably founded by Chadraditya a son of the chalukya king Pulakeshin II.

The 16th century saw the advent and rise of Portuguese power on the west coast of India and in Sindhudurg. The sultan lost hold on the district in 1675 with the rise of Shivaji, leading finally, into the hands of Marathas who continued to rule the district till 1817 i.e., when the struggle between the British and the Peshwas came to an end and the whole of the Konkan was transferred to the British.

In 1819, South Konkan was formed as a separate district with its headquarters first at Bankot and later at Ratnagiri. Three northern subdivisions were transferred to Thane district in 1830 and the district was reduced to a sub-collectorate level under Thane district. In 1832, it was again made a full-fledged district and named as Ratnagiri district. In the year 1945, a new mahal (taluka) called Kankavli Mahal was formed. The former Indian state of Sawantwadi was merged with the district and the taluka boundaries were recognized in the year 1949. In the same year the new taluka of Sawantwadi was create and the two mahals (talukas) namely, Kudal and Lanja were formed. With the reorganization of the states in 1956, the district was included in the Bombay state and since 1960 it forms a part of Maharashtra.

The name of the district has been adopted from the famous sea fort of Sindhudurg. This was built by Shivaji Maharaj near Malwan and it literally means 'Sea Fort'. Its construction was started on Nov. 25, 1664 and after 3 years it was completed in such a fashion that the enemy could easily be seen, coming from the Arabian Sea.


The villages and small towns are administered by elected local bodies called Panchayats and municipalities respectively.


The diocesan area is well connected in terms of transport infrastructure by roads and railways. The nearest airport is in Panaji in Goa.


The area of the Sindhudurg diocese is 21,090 square kilometers, consisting of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts and Kolhapur district (leaving out the city of Kolhapur) which consists of the talukas (sub districts and equivalent to counties in some countries) of Ajra, Gadhinglaj, Panhala, Budhargad, Kagal, Radhanagri and Shahuwadi. It is a suffragan of Goa Archdiocese since Nov. 25, 2006. Before, the diocese, which was erected on July 5, 2005, was a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Bombay. Sawantwadi is the biggest town in the diocese. Ratnagiri and Malwan are other important towns in the territory.


Rupees 15,569 (USD335 as of October 2009) is the per capita income in the diocesan territory. Fishing and Farming are the major occupation in the area.


Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities in the diocesan area. The diocese is well connected by local cable TV networks.


77.42 per cent is the literacy rate in the diocesan territory.


The people in the new diocese have Goan culture because they migrated from Goa 200 years ago. The customs and traditions are Goan and entirely different from those of the people of Pune and urban cities. The process to create a new diocese began in March 2001.

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