A commemorative stone slab found on the campus of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) at Deonar in Mumbai in 2016 shows that land in Deonar was gifted by 14th century King Hambirarao to one of his military commanders on October 3rd, 1368. The slab is inscribed in medieval Marathi, and is interspersed with Perseo-Arabic and Sanskrit.
King Hambirarao ruled the independent kingdom of Thane-Konkan, which had its capital at Mahim. The kingdom of Thane-Konkan comprised of the erstwhile district of Raigad and the southern half of the district of undivided Thane. Interestingly, these areas have also been described by famous international travellers like Marco Polo (1290 AD) and Ibn Batuta (1335-1341 AD).
The inscribed stone slab was issued by Hambirarao’s Prime Minister Ari Sinhi Prabhu, and describes King Hambirarao as a vassal under the protection of Ferozeshah Tughlaq, Sultan of Delhi. Under the Tughlaq Empire, Mumbai and its environs were a part of the territories under the overall control of the Tughlaq governor of Gujarat. There is a reference in the inscription to Mahim Bimbasthane, and this is a reference to the Mumbai suburb of Mahim, which is called the city/capital of King Bimba (1295 to 1303 AD).
The inscription also bears the names of numerous other medieval villages in Mumbai. The grant of land mentioned in the inscription is given in a place adjacent to the village of Nanole, which can be identified as the village of Nanale in Deonar, which was abandoned when the BARC campus was built.
The inscription also mentions an undeciphered inscription of Hambirarao from Waghrana. After due investigations, a village called Vaghran was located near Alibaug (a known part of the kingdom of Hambirarao). But unfortunately, the archaeological team that rushed to the village found that they had reached two years too late. Local women had found the stone, and had been using it to pound their clothes while doing their laundry. The chance to learn more about Hambirarao had been washed away forever.
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