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Tourist Places To Visit In Rajmachi
Rajmachi, the quaint little hilly plateau in Maharashtra is known as an ideal trekker’s choice for a weekend getaway. With a charming through the year climate, deep valleys and green hill slopes, Rajmachi is a must visit tourist zone. Apart from its natural charm, Rajmachi offers a wonderful experience to history buffs. The twin forts of Rajmachi take the tourist far back in time with the remnants of magnificent fortressess that had played a role in the first Anglo Maratha War.
And further, not very far away from Rajmachi are touristy towns and cities that too have places to explore, like ancient temples, forts and monuments that can be visited on a weekend trip. We will give you a list of places you can stop at in Rajmachi and then a short drive away.
The Forts of Rajmachi
Rajmachi is well known for its twin forts of Shrivardhan and Manaranjan and the tiny village that nestles at the base of the hills. The forts are said to have been built around the 17th century by the Satavahana rulers and were occupied by the Mughals, the Marathas under Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and then by the British. The Shrivardhan Fort was used as a watch tower over the Sahyadri that had a trade route connecting the harbors of Mumbai to Pune.
The forts are vestiges of ancient constructions that included water reservoirs, temples like the shrine to Kal Bhairav, administrative offices used by the British as well as the most scenic milieu that is so pictographic.
The Kondhane Buddhist caves are built on the face of a deep escarpment not very far away from the Rajmachi forts. The ancient caves that include Chaityas and Viharas of yore were discovered after excavations were done in the 19th century. There is a waterfall that flows over and from above the caves that looks picturesque with dense vegetation in front that hides the caves from view.
Most of the 16 caves are in ruins, but beautiful carvings and idols of the Buddha show the artisanship of the sculptors of the ancient times. From the base, it’s a short trek uphill to the caves and it’s lovely to listen to the sounds of the tiny waterfalls close to the trekking path.
The Kondhane caves are about 14 km from the Karjat Railway Station.
Kataldhar Waterfalls is visible nestled among the deep ravines and hilly slopes of Ulhas valley. Said to be the highest waterfall of Pune, the waterfalls can be accessed only from a trek across the Ulhas valley. The terrains are rather rough and it’s always advisable to follow the track with help of a guide that could be arranged with locals from the Udhewadi village.
The Kataldhar Falls is a seasonal falls and puts on its best show in the monsoons. You could trek to Kataldhar waterfalls as you tour towards Udhewadi village from Lonavala. The waterfalls are visible from Rajmachi’s Shrivardhan fort. Check out the tiny caves that are hidden behind the cascading waters.
Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary and Temple
Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is a manmade region of thorny and dry deciduous dense forests with several species of herbivores like sambar, chital, blackbucks and a number of birds, porcupines and reptiles including snakes. Vehicles can be driven through the Sanctuary which looks very pleasing and green during the monsoon rains.
On a grassy hill in the Sanctuary is the ancient Sagareshwar temple for Shiva, with a number of smaller shrines close by. Said to have been built during the reign of the Chalukya kings, the Sagareshwar temple is a popular pilgrim destination. Sagareshwar is about 30 km from Sangli and Rajmachi.
Located on the banks of the ghat where the Krishna and Koyana rivers meet in Karad is the temple for the deity Krishnamai. Visited by tourists and pilgrims through the year, the temple apart from its sanctity appeals to the tourists with a beautiful setting. Ahead of the temple is the Preeti sangam or the confluence of love.
The Preeti sangam is a tranquil spot where the Krishna and Koyna rivers that originate in Mahabaleshwar meet head on. You could also visit the Karad caves on the south west of the town and the huge and ancient step well called Naktya Ravyyachi Vihir that is open for tourists from 12.00 pm to 3.00 pm. Karad is about 12 km from Rajmachi.
The Bhairavnath temple houses a main temple to Shiva as Bhairavnath and smaller shrines to other Gods. Located near the Shrivardhan fort, the ambience with the dense greenery all around and the cool mountain breeze makes a visit to the temple, a delightful one.
A number of pilgrims and tourists visit the temple during Mahashivratri, when the divine chants and the gong of the temple bells ring through the air. Built on the architectural style of the temples of the Konkan region, the ancient Bhairavnath temple is well worth a visit. The Bhairavnath temple is in Dhak, about 7 km from the Lonavala Railway Station.
Uttar Chidambaram Nataraja Temple
Uttar Chidambaram Nataraja Temple was built to replicate the Nataraja Temple of Chidambaram. With the blessings of the Mahaswamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, and the long standing desire of Shri K. Shamrao D. Shanbagh, the temple was built with the financial assistance of philanthropists and the governments of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and wood from Kerala, with the four main gopurams named after the states.
The temple has an idol of the dancing form of Shiva as Nataraja and there are more shrines to the other Gods of the Hindu pantheon. The temple is a well maintained and quiet place and is a must visit. Annadhana is served to pilgrims after daily poojas. Uttar Chidambaram Nataraja Temple is at Satara, about 60 km from Rajmachi.
One of the never to be missed places in Rajmachi is the Godhaneshwar temple to Shiva. The ancient temple built in the Hemadpanti style is an unassuming small structure, with a handful of pillars in the mandap which has a small shrine for a Shiva linga and a Ganesha. There are a number of stone carved idols of various other Gods as well.
Surrounded by a low wall over whose steps flows a small monsoon waterfall and the water tank in front, with a gomukh shaped spout, the temple that lies in a serene quiet place at the hills, is so enchanting especially in the monsoons.
Siddhanath temple is a shrine for Shiva who is worshipped as Nath Baba. One of the Khetrapal shrines of Maharashtra, the Siddhanath temple is a renowned pilgrim center and is visited by throngs of devotees during the Chaitra Vad Dwadashi Yatra in the month of Chaitra.
The south facing temple was built in the Hemadpanti style round about 1125 AD. According to legends Shiva as Nath Baba had two wives Jogeshwari Devi, who has her shrine along with Nath Baba and Zaka Bai Devi who has a temple near Neilkarnji. A palki procession is held once in three years in the month of December, when Nath Baba goes to the shrine of Zaka Bai Devi. Siddhanath temple is in Kharsundi in Sangli district, about 65 km from Rajmachi.
Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary
Just a little away from the mountain ranges of Rajmachi, is the Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is said to be the abode of a variety of birds and animals including Giant Indian Squirrels and deer. Apart from watching the animals, you could enjoy a trek upto the terrain that is green and verdant all over, with gently undulating ranges of vegetated slopes and deep valleys.
The Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary is nestled at the foothills and up the slopes of the Sahyadri mountain ranges and offers ample scope for sightseeing, photography and quite a lot of trekking, that’s enjoyable during the monsoon months. Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary is about 2 km from the Lonavala Railway Station.