The Vanza history goes back to a Kshatriya Ancestry. About 175 years ago, Shree Gopal Lal Maharaj (fourth generation of Shree Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharyaji) visited Saurashtra every so often to go and see his son Gopendranathji. Vanza turned to ‘Vaishnav panth’ – ‘pushti maarg’ as propounded by Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharyaji. His intentions were to promote culture and to educate the Wanza/Vanza community and to relieve poverty and sickness. They then accepted Guru Gopal Lal Maharaj as their Guru. We worship the goddess Hingraj Mata who is the goddess of healing and virtue. She is the kuldevi of the Kshatriya (warrior) caste of Gujarat. Despite being a warrior goddess, Hingraj Mata is cherished and adored, indeed worshipped by her devotees all over the world.
In the early 20th century a number of Vanza Dharjis migrated to the East Africa to take up business opportunities opening up with the introduction of the railway and the resulting development. Initially, only the young men came, leaving their families in India. As time went on their families and other families also migrated. Numbers of Vanzas, especially in the larger towns, grew significantly.
This led to the setting up of community organisations to meet their religious and cultural needs. Shree Wanza Union was formed in Nairobi, Wanza Gnati Hittechhu Mandal in Mombasa and other similar bodies in Kisumu, Jinja, Dar-es-Salaam, etc. These organisations grew and prospered, thus providing a focal point for the Dharji community to get together to enhance and teach the new generations about our culture and devotion to Maa Hingraj and Guru Gopallal.
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