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Tourist Places To Visit In Ratnagiri
If you are visiting Ratnagiri, it is not merely the beaches that trigger your passion for tourism, but the antiquity and history of the place do as well. The history of Ratnagiri is an early one that goes back to the reigns of rulers like the Chalukyas, Mauryas, Shilaharas, Kadambas, the Portuguese, Marathas and finally the British before the country gained Independence. During the Middle Ages, the lands of the Konkan had been a seafaring trade town. A fort built during the rule of the Bijapur Kings stands testimony to the antiquity of the little coastal town by the Arabian Sea.
Apart from the pristine beaches, Ratnagiri is well known for its ancient historic monuments like the Thibaw Palace built for the King of Burma, the museums, lighthouses, the forts and the temples. Not very far away from Ratnagiri are quaint little towns like Ganapatipule, Chiplun or Khed that can be visited for a day’s trip. We will give you a list of some of the most interesting places in and around Ratnagiri.
Chiplun or the Abode of Parashurama gets its name for the temple for the warrior God Parashurama, who is said to have created the land of the Konkan. The temple for Parashurama lies on the ghat of the Bandganga Lake that is believed to have been created from the five arrows aimed earthward by Parashurama. The temple was constructed with the aid of the Portuguese, with funds provided by the Siddhis and stands today as a conglomeration of the Hindu, Muslim and Portuguese styles of architecture.
Chiplun is a picturesque halt for trains that chug past on the Konkan railway route from Mumbai and Goa. There are buses that drive from Ratnagiri to Chiplun and the distance is about 85 km. Some of the major festivals celebrated at Parashurama temple are Ram Navami and Mahashivratri.
The Thibaw Palace which is one of the significant places of interest in Ratnagiri is an impressive three storied structure with sloping wooden roofs and ornamental windows that was built by the British Government way back in 1910 to keep the King of Burma, Thabba Min under arrest. The royal family of Burma lived in the palace until 1916 and at present a museum functions at this palace that also displays some of the regal items used by the King.
Check out the idol of the Buddha that was brought to Ratnagiri along with the King. The Palace has a charming marbled dance floor. The Palace is a good view point from where you can watch the sun set, the Someshwar Creek, the Arabian Sea and the Bhatye Bridge. The Thibaw Palace is about 2 km from the Ratnagiri bus stand.
Syambhu Ganapati Temple
Ganapati is considered the Asta Dwar Devata or one of the eight welcoming deities as well as the sentinel God of the west. The temple for Ganapati at Ganpatipule is located on the shore of the Arabian Sea, overlooking the western coast. According to legends, the Syambhu form of Ganapati made of white sand, was found by Bhalbhatji Bhide who went on to build a temple for his Ishta Devta and worship him here.
Check out the Samadhi of Bhalbatji Bhide near the temple. The number of festivals including Ganeshotsav, Deepotsav, Vasant Puja and palanquin procession of Ganapati see a lot of people visiting the beautiful shore temple to Ganapati. The temple offers daily prasad to the pilgrims as well as sufficient accommodation facilities near the temple. Syambhu Ganapati Temple is at Ganpatipule, about 25 km from Ratnagiri.
Most of the rivers of the Konkan run from east to west where they meet the Arabian Sea. The place where the Shastri River meets the Arabian Sea near Jaigad village is called the Jaigad Creek. To defend the region against any naval attacks, two forts were built during the rule of the Bijapur kings roundabout the 14th century near the creek. The Vijayagad fort faces the north, while the Jaigad Fort faces the south. The fort later came into the control of Kanhoji Angre, Chhatrapati Shivaji, the Peshwas and finally the British in the year 1818.
Though mostly in ruins, the fort’s walls are still intact and you can still see the remnants of a moat, the palace built for Kanhoji Angre, a small temple and water tanks. Spread over an area of about 4 acres, the windswept, grass coated lawns of the fort make a great place for a history walk as well as giving a wide view of the Arabian Sea. Check out the Jaigad Lighthouse, that was built of cast-iron, by the British in 1932. Jaigad Fort is about 42 km from Ratnagiri.
The Kanakaditya Temple for Surya, is one of the rarest temples built in India for the Sun god. According to legends, the idol of Aditya was brought by sea from the Prabhas Pattan Surya temple in Gujarat about 900 years back during Mughal invasion. The idol was kept on a boat and set to sail the Arabian Sea and when the boat reached the shores near Kasheli, a tiny village in the Konkan region, the boat would not sail any further. The idol was kept in a cave, from where it was later retrieved and a temple was built by a devotee named Kanaka.
The Kanakaditya Temple lies enroute the Ratnagiri to Vijaydurg route. The five day Rath festival during Radha Saptami sees a lot of pilgrims visiting the temple. Check out the 850 year old copperplates kept in the temple and the cave of Devachi Koli, where the idol was placed. Kanakaditya Temple is at Kasheli, about 35 km from Ratnagiri.
Swami Swarupananda Samadhi Mandir
Pawas is a little village about 20 km from Ratnagiri. The town is visited by tourists and pilgrims for the Samadhi temple of Swami Swarupananda. Swami Swarupananda, who was born in 1903 to Vishnupant and Rakhmabai Godbole in Pawas, followed the path of spirituality as set down by his guru Babamaharaj Vaidhya of Pune. Swami Swarupananda settled down to the life of austerity and deep piety in Pawas where his Samadhi temple was built in 1974.
The still air rent by chants of his mantra ‘Ram Krishna Hari’, the Samadhi Mandir is a place of tranquility and just apt for one to sit in peaceful contemplation in the meditation room. You can visit Anant Niwas, which had been the home where Swami Swarupananda lived before his initiation. Swarupananda Samadhi Mandir at Pawas is about 17 km from Ratnagiri.
Located amidst the dense forests and hills of the Sahyadri, the Dhutpapeshwar temple set in a most beautiful locale, is a feast to the eyes. The landscape gets ethereally charming with the monsoon rains filling the Mrudani River that cascades down from the hills to form a number of waterfalls near the temple. The Dhutpapeshewar or Dhopeshwar temple for Shiva is said to be at least a thousand years old.
The Dhutpapeshwar temple has a sanctum sanctorum with a Shiva Linga as the chief deity, as well as a multi pillared decorated hall and a pavilion. The Shiva temple gets busy on regular Mondays as well as Maha Shivratri, Vijayadashami and Shravan Somawar. The temple is about 10 km away from Rajapur village in Ratnagiri.
Ratnadurg Fort is one of the most significant ancient citadels of Maharashtra. The fort was built during the rule of the Bahmani Sultanate and was later occupied by Adil Shah, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Kanhoji Angre and the Peshwas before it was captured by the British in 1818. The fort stands mighty and tall on the seashore, with the waters of the sea lapping at the rocks of the stronghold on three sides, and only one side facing landward.
The fort is divided into three levels with tunnels connecting each level. Some places are in ruins though you could check out Parkot which is the largest area of the fort which has the Ratnadurg lighthouse and the temple for Bhagavati, which gets the locals to call the stronghold, the Bhagawati Fort. The fort offers an ample view of the Arabian Sea and is a great place to watch the sunset. Ratnadurg Fort is about 5 km from the Ratnagiri bus stand.
Jai Vinayak Mandir
Jai Vinayak Temple is a temple that was built for Ganesha in recent times. The temple is a big one, set in a lush verdant locale, with a well-manicured lawn and gardens along with a pond of fishes. Built by the JSW Group, the Mandir that is also known as the Jindal Ganapati temple, has an eye catching architectural pattern with sloping pagoda styled three tiered roofs and a quiet serenity about the place that is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of life in the cities.
The brass icon of Ganapati and the 6 ft. idol of Hanuman are impressive symbols of bliss and beatitude. Tourists would spend at least an hour at the temple, soaking in the charm of the Mandir and the picturesque environs. Jai Vinayak Temple is near Kachare village about 36 km from Ratnagiri bus stand and on way to Jaigad Fort.
If you would love a long drive during the winters or a clear monsoon day, you could visit the Mandangad Fort that’s about 164 km from Ratnagiri. Located in the village of Mandangad, the citadel is said to be one of the oldest forts of Ratnagiri. The fort which is partly in ruins was built in the 12th century during the reign of King Bhoj and was later occupied by the Marathas under Chhatrapati Shivaji and by the British in 1818.
Spread over an area of about 8 acres and at an altitude of about 900 ft., the twin peaked fort gives a beautiful view of the region beneath the foothills. Founded as a watch tower over the trade route along the Savitri River, the Mandangad Fort, along with the Bankot Fort are a must visit. The Fort has water tanks including the Thorla Talav, a 400 year old cannon as well as a temple for Ganapati. Harihareshwar beach is about 50 km from Mandangad fort area.