The town of Ratnagiri is located in the southwestern part of Maharashtra State on the Arabian Sea coast. The Bijapur rulers made it their administrative capital. It is a part of the greater tract known as Konkan. The Konkan tract is famous for its long coastline and accessible harbors. The proximity with Arabian sea makes it a convenient base.
Ratnagiri's surrounding area is encircled by the Sahyadri Hills on the West. Thus, this area receives heavy rainfall which results into highly eroded landscape in the coastal region. The main crops of this land are rice and coconut. Along with these the fertile alluvial valleys also allow the cultivation of fruits and cashew nut.
Ratnagiri came under the control of Satara kings in 1731 but in 1818 it was surrendered to the British. There is a fort here built during the Bijapur dynasty and strengthened in 1670 by the Maratha king Shivaji. It is located on an elevation near the harbor. This harbor is one among the many ports of the Konkan coast. The last king of Burma, Thibaw, and later Veer Savarkar, were captivated in this fort.
It is said that the Pandavas after performing their pilgrimage on the 13th year, settled in the adjacent territory of the Ratnagiri district.
Attractions In Ratnagiri
The famous Parashuram Temple is located near Chiplun, Ganapatipule and Pavas. It attracts many visitors. A few caves in the Chiplun, Khed, Dabhol, Sangameshwar, Gauhani Velgaum and Vade Padel also deserve visiting.
Ganapatipule is an ancient pilgrim center, located about 25 kms from Ratnagiri district. This beautiful sea town is rich in history. Ganapatipule is around 375-km away from Mumbai. There is also a mysterious Swayambhoo (a naturally formed idol) of Ganapati in a temple at Ratnagiri.
This small and sacred village is uninfluenced by commercialism. The 6 kms long virgin beach on the exotic Konkan coastline adds to the scenic beauty of the village. Ganapatipule is one of the `Ashta Ganapatis' (eight Ganpatis) of India and is called the "Paschim Dwar-Dewata" (Western Sentinel God).
There are many beaches in and around Ratnagiri. They are famous for their beauty and serenity. The Ratnagiri beach is a lovely beach, which penetrates the sea. There are many other virgin beaches on the coastline of Konkan, like the Chiplun, Dapoli and Guhagar.
The Murud-Janjira beach near Alibaug is a sea town, located close to Mumbai. Here one can find exquisite semi-ruined fort of Janjira. Murud is the proud owner of a three-century-old fort. It is a surrounded by palm trees and is a marvelous piece of architecture.
Savantwadi, is one of the most popular towns of Sindhudurg district. It is gracefully adorned with lush green forests and hills from the three sides. There are various waterfalls here, along with beautiful sea to its west. This place is famous for its wooden articles and mangoes.
The Sindhudurg Fort, is an island fort, constructed by Shivaji in 1664 AD. It is located on a low rocky 48-acre island off the Malvan coast. This fort speaks volumes about the glory of the Maratha Empire. It is situated in the southern part of Konkan, nearly 150 km from Ratnagiri. It is said that this fort has the hand and foot prints of Lord Shivaji. There is also a 300 year old small temple which is dedicated to him and was built by his son.
Shopping in Ratnagiri
Ratnagiri located in the Konkan region is bestowed with some of the high-quality horticultural fruits. One can buy a variety of fruits from this place, specially the royal Mangoes. During Summers, the most famous variety of mangoes in the world - the Devgad `hapus' mango is available here. These Mangoes are exported throughout the world.
By Air : The nearest airport is situated at Ratnagiri itself. It is about 50 kms away.
By Rail : The nearest important railhead is Kolhapur. Ratnagiri also has a railhead on the Konkan railway about 50 kms away, but it is not very important.
By Road : The district is well connected by roadways with important towns such as Mumbai , Pune , Kolhapur, etc.