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Tourist Places To Visit In Alibagh
The seaside town of Alibagh is considered one of the most pristine holiday getaways of the state of Maharashtra. The regions of Alibagh were historically the habitat of the Beni Israeli Jews. Legends say that Alibagh gets its name from a wealthy Bene Israelite called Ali who had settled down amidst his mango orchards and coconut plantations. The region came to be called Alichi bagh (gardens) or rather Alibagh after him!
The history of Alibagh goes back to the 17th century when it was developed into a coastal habitation by Sarkhel Kanhoji Angre, who was the chief of the naval forces under Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Today the town retains its ancient glory with forts, ancient temples and monuments as well as its umpteen number of sandy beaches.
We will give you a list of some of the most interesting tourist places of Alibagh that you would love to visit.
Kolaba or Alibagh Fort is a significant landmark of Alibagh’s history. Built during the 17th century, the Alibagh Fort became one of the chief naval fortifications under Chhatrapati Shivaji’s Maratha armies. Conveniently set about 2 km from the seashore and into the seas, the Fort was used by the Marathas to thwart attacks by the British naval fleets.
A latter day Treaty with the Koli kings saw the Fort coming under the control of the Koli king Kanhoji Angre. The fort has two entrances, one opening out into the sea and the other facing the mainland of Alibagh. At low tides you could wade across the sea to the fort, but at high tides boats may be used to reach the fort. Check out the Siddhivinayak temple and Haji Kamaluddin Shah’s Dargah as well as the ancient freshwater tanks in the fort.
Kanakeshwar Devasthan Temple
Kanakeshwara temple for Shiva is a renowned pilgrim site in Alibagh. The temple sits on a hill about 900 ft high. There are around 750 steps that leads up to the temple which has a number of small shrines within for various other gods like Ganesha and Hanuman.
The Pushkarna Kund or stepwell is located behind the temple. It’s amazing to find the aesthetically constructed stepwell that’s enclosed by a series of well paved steps on all sides. Surrounded by rocky slopes, the steps up the temple are broad, but rather tiring for people who are not used to trekking. Avoid summer months if you are planning a visit to the Kanakeshwar temple and do carry plenty of water.
Kanakeshwar temple which is a must visit, is about 13 km from Alibagh.
Yet another spectacular seaside Fort, the Korlai Fort can be reached through a hillroad that drives along the seashore, between the Fort and the sea. There are three entrances to the fort, with the entrance on the western side by the lighthouse, being the most preferred. A short series of steps leads up to the Fort and once on top, you get a great view of the Korlai Lighthouse and the sparkling Arabian Sea, the beaches and Revadanda Creek. The Fort lies on a hillock about 60 m above msl.
The Korlai Fort was built in 1521 by the Portuguese to defend their territories that stretched from Vasai to Korlai. After a battle between the Portuguese and the Ahmednagar Sultanate, the Marathas captured the Fort and kept it under their control till 1818, after which the fort was captured by the British.
Check out the rainwater tanks, the ancient inscriptions on the tumbledown walls and the small shrine for Shiva. The Fort is mostly in ruins, but is a surely beautiful tourist spot by the sea. Korlai Fort is about 23 km from Alibagh.
Karmakar Museum displays about two hundred exquisite sculptures sculpted by Nanasaheb Karmakar. The house where Nanasaheb Karmakar lived has been transformed into a museum. You would find some of Nana Karmakar’s most popular sculptures including Shankhdhwani and Hira Kolin on display. Karmakar Museum is an apt place to visit for art lovers and students of sculpture and art.
The Karmakar Museum is located at Alibagh Rewas road, about 18 km from Alibagh. A small token amount is collected as entrance fee.
A beautiful temple for Ganesha, built of pure white marble, the Birla Ganesha Mandir or Vikram Vinayak Temple is well worth a visit, both for its sanctity as well as for the pictorial charm of the place. Set amidst a beautifully manicured garden, the Birla Mandir has smaller shrines for Surya, Bhavanidevi, Radhe Krishna and Shiva Parvati.
The temple looks spectacular during sunset, after the lights are put on and the fading lights of the setting sun falls on the temple floor through the transparent ceiling. The Birla Ganesh Mandir is open for darshan from 6.00 am to 11.30 am and from 4.30 pm to 9.00 pm. The Mandir is located in a village called Salav, about 20 km from Alibagh.
Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary
Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is all of 6,980 hectares of wetlands, grasslands and dense forests that had once been the private hunting rounds of the Siddhi Nawabs of the state of Janjira. The Sanctuary is an ideal place for a day’s trip from Alibagh. Or if you are planning to stay, there are tented accommodations as well. The sanctuary offers bullock cart safaris through the regions where you could watch the birds and take photographs as you go along.
The Sanctuary is inhabited by leopards, jungle cats, Malabar Giant squirrels, palm civets, wild boars and hyenas as well as a plethora of bird species like Crested Serpent Eagles and Great Hornbills, butterflies and snakes like pythons and the Ceylon Cat snakes. Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is about 42 km from Alibagh.
Chaul is a small town, about 15 km from Alibagh. The town is renowned for its temples, 365 of them, each one for a day of the year. The most prominent among these temples is the Rameshwar Mandir. Legends say that construction of the temple was begun by the Pandavas and completed, centuries later by the Maratha Naval Chieftain Kanhoji Angre.
The temple complex is a large one and the main sanctum sanctorum has a 7.62 m high dome. Check out the large prayer hall where devotees sit in meditation, as well as the three water tanks called Parjanya kund, Agni kund and Vayu kund that represent rain, fire and air, the primal elements of nature.
Alibagh’s beaches are some of the town’s most popular tourist places. The beaches are idyllic weekend getaways for people from the urban metro cities of Mumbai and Pune. The most prominent is the Alibagh Beach, said to be one of the cleanest of India’s beaches. With its coconut and casuarina groves, the quaint little Varsoli beach is a far less frequented one, about a mile away from the Alibagh beach. Akshi beach, about 6 km away from Alibagh beach is a popular one for people who would love a wade into quiet waters.
A short walk away from Akshi beach is Nagaon beach, a pristine region encased with betelnut and coconut groves. The Kihim beach is a perfect birders’ paradise, while the quieter Kasim and Korlai beaches are ideal for an evening in solitude. These are just a few of the beaches in Alibagh and one ought to visit the seaside town to revel in the beauty of more sun kissed beaches.
Murud - Janjira Fort
Murud - Janjira Fort is one of the most popular places to visit in Alibagh. Built in the 15th century as a small structure by a Koli chief, the fort was later captured and modified by Siddi Sirrul Khan, an Ahmednagar King in the 17th century. The Fort successfully resisted constant attacks by the Portuguese, the British and the Marathas.
The Fort lies spread over about 22 acres, with major portions still intact, like the bastions, the metal cannons and the palace where the Nawabs of Janjira lived. The Fort had once been a regal structure with living quarters, fresh water lakes, a well for drinking water, hidden tunnels, turrets and towers. The Murud - Janjira Fort is a historic monument that lies right in the seas, with an entrance to Rajapuri on the shore and another entrance towards the seas. The strong island fort can be reached by a ferry from the Rajapuri Jetty. Murud – Janjira Fort is about 53 km from Alibagh.
Ballaleshwara Temple is one of the significant Astavinayak temples of Maharashtra. According to legends, Ganesha responded to the prayers of his young devotee Ballala, by staying back in the village where the young boy had worshipped him. It is said that Ganesha put his energy into a stone that was thereafter worshipped as Balleshwara, after the young Ballala.
The main sanctum sanctorum has a unique form of an ochre colored idol of Ballaleshwara that is about 3 ft high. The shrine to Dundi Vinayak which is said to be a syambhu murthi is at a shrine behind the main shrine and is worshipped before the pilgrim enters the main temple. Pilgrims on a trip around the Astavinayak temples of Maharashtra do not fail to visit the shrine. Ballaleshwara temple is at Pali, about 54 km from Alibagh.