Sawantwadi week end getaway a must visit place

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Anupama Nair

Life in the cities is getting stressful with every passing day. The stress starts from early in the morning when you are still too tired to get up and commuting in traffic ridden roads in polluted cities deeply hamper our health. Even people in mid-twenties fall prey to stress related diseases like heart attack and stroke. In such a scenario, you need a week-end getaway. Sawantwadi near Mumbai is a perfect place to spend your week-end after a very stressful week.

As Thomas Gray said in the 18th Century “far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife” – Sawantwadi is a small town located in the Maharashtra—Goa border. Sawantwadi is a place in the Sindhudurg District, of Maharashtra and is considered as one of the gateways to Goa. It is surrounded by the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. Now let me tell you a bit about the history of this great place. It is believed that Savantwadi was ruled by the Chalukyas from the 6th to 8th Century AD. Developed by the Sawant Bhonsle dynasty, Sawantwadi is a township nearly 300 years old. Sawantwadi was last ruled by King Shivaji Raje Bhonsle who continued to rule independently even after Independence of India in 1947 for almost 8 years. The remarkable history of this town and the marks of olden times are visible in the form of the Great Royal Palace.

Till the 18th Century the Kingdom of Sawantwadi included a major portion of today's North Goa districts like Pedne, Bicholim, and Sattari and present day's Kudal and Vengurla from Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra. Pedne, Bicholim, and Sattari were  captured by the Portuguese and later merged with present day's Goa after Independence. During the British rule, Sawant wadi became a place of revolt and disturbance. What is common to Satavahanas, Vakatakas, Kadambas, Sawant Bhonsle dynasty, Shedrak, Shilahars, Mauryas, Chalukyas, Marathas, Peshwas, Nala dynasty, Mughals, Portuguese and the British – yes they were the rulers of this paradise.

The Royal Palace in Sawantwadi is one of the most visited place here. The palace, earlier situated at the top of Narendra hills in Sawantwadi belonged to the erstwhile rulers called Khem- Sawant after whom the village takes its name. The palace was originally constructed during 1755-1803 AD. Many years later, Khem Savant III constructed it on the grounds near the hills. The ruling family along with the present Rajmata Her Royal Highness Satwa Shiladevi still resides in the palace. The Queen takes a keen interest in the growth and sustenance of local arts such as 'Ganjifa Art', Woodwork painting, lacer work etc. Workshops are conducted in the palace to train the new generation in there arts, which is the main attraction for local and foreign tourists.

Moti Talao is a majestic lake right in front of the palace which was constructed in 1874. It is a pride of the village. It is a great experience to walk around the lake in winter nights. There is a modern local market where you can find the best of Konkani culture from handicrafts to clothes and food. One can find, local handicraft items likes kitchen wares, showpieces, accessories, silver and bronze ware.

If you are a lover of an almost crowd-free beaches, there are two famous beaches in Sawantwadi – Shiroda and Sagareshwar. When you compare the crowded beaches in Mumbai and Goa, would you believe me when I say you can sit for hours glancing at the blue sea without any noisy crowd? It is true, these beaches give you peace of mind.

This is a much cheaper option than Goa. So, if you want to enjoy a peaceful weekend pack your bags and have fun.




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