Amboli is a pretty little hill station situated at an altitude of about 700 metres in the state of Maharashtra. This tourist hot spot lies in the Sahayadri Ranges and comes under the Sindhudurg District.
Amboli is a hill station in south Maharashtra, India. At an altitude of 700 meters it is the last hill station before the coastal highlands of Goa and a relatively unexplored one. Amboli lies in the Sahayadri Hills of Western India, one of the world’s “Eco Hot-Spots” and it therefore abounds in a variety of fairly unique flora and fauna. However, as in the other parts of the Sahaydri Hills, denudation of the forest cover and unregulated government assisted “development” (read “hotels, resorts & highways”) are gradually ruining a once pristine environment. Historically, Amboli village came into being as one of the staging posts along the road from Vengurla port to the city of Belgaum, which was extensively used by the British to supply their garrisons in south and central India. The hills of Amboli village provide one of the sources of the Krishna river (The “Ganges” of south India) and an ancient Shiva temple (called Hiranyakeshi) exists at the cave where the water emerges. The main attraction for tourists is the incredibly high rainfall (7 meters average per year!)and the numerous waterfalls and mist during the monsoons. Legend has it that there are 108 Shiva temples in and around Amboli of which only a dozen have been uncovered, one as recently as 2005. There aren’t too many places to see or things to do but its quiet, unpolluted and the local residents are good natured and helpful.
Amboli also receives an annual rainfall of nearly 750 centimeters making it the wettest place in Maharashtra. Amboli is blessed with thick forest due to such a heavy rainfall. Best time to visit Amboli is during winter when the hills are covered by mist and it looks beautiful. Sunset Point, the highest point at Amboli, Parikshit Point, Kavelsad Point and Shrigaonkar Point offers a panoramic view of the surrounding forests. The Sea View point offers a panoramic view of a good part of konkan coast. The bauxite mines can also be visited. The Amboli Ghat on sawantwadi road, The historical Botanical Garden, Hiranya Keshi, Nangartas Waterfall etc are the other few major attractions at Amboli.
Originated from the mouth of a cave near Hiranyakeshi (Hiranyakeshi is goddesses Parvati) Temple, a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, Hiranya Keshi river site is famous for its amazing natural beauty. It is situated 6 km from the town center. It is also an ideal place for fishing and meditation. Hiranyakeshi ugam, the starting point of the river Hiranya Keshi can be accessed through a tiny rocky path.
Situated 10 km from Amboli, it has pleasant surroundings. It falls deep and noisy into a beautiful and narrow ravine. A concrete bridge has been constructed over it so that tourists can enjoy its beauty. Best to see this waterfall during monsoons. Around 5 km from here is another waterfall known as 'waterfall' by the locals.
Situated on the Amboli ghat road, the sunset point offers a spectacular view of sunrise and sunset scenes.
Madhavgadh Fort, four times the size of Shanivarwada (a palace fort in Pune) which is now in a state of ruin. A memorial on the main road gives an insight into the 'war' and the tombstone reads that there was only one British soldier who died in the battle.
Reasons To Visit
Amboli is an idyllic hill station (2500+ ft above sea level) overlooking the thick rainforest on the Vengurla (Coastal Maharashtra) - Belgaum route.
Amboli is an idyllic hill station that comes alive in monsoon when the area is abound with waterfalls and mist.
Amboli is a local getaway visited ex-Panjim (90 kms), ex-Pune (343 kms), ex-Kolhapur (119 kms) and ex-Belgaum (60 kms) all round the year.
Well too many places to hang around.. Just to quote a few it would be better to go with the locations..
Sindhudurg fort See Malvan
Shiroda See Vengurla
Aaravali See Vengurla
Redi See Vengurla
Tarkarli See Malvan
Light House See Vengurle
Places to see nearby Amboli Hill Station:
1) Moti Talao (Lake) :First look at Sawantwadi, and you can be forgiven for wondering if it is a piece of Nainital which has lost its way and landed up at the foot of Western Ghats. The town was the seat of the Royal family of Bhonsles and still retains some of the stately grandeur. It sits in a bowl of lush green hills encircling a huge lake called Moti Talao. The palace gate and the imposing clock tower are reflected in the waters. Tourists can take a round of the lake in a peddle-boat or can simply feast on the emerald beauty while walking in the lakeside gardens. As the sun sets, streetlights come on at once around the complete perimeter of the lake. It is a moment with something extra to make your vacation unforgettable.
Activities to do:
Boating, Speed boating, Paddle boating, scooter boating facilities are available.
By Air: Dabolim, Goa
By Rail: The nearest railhead is Sawantwadi Road on Konkan Railway, 5 kms.
By Road: Mumbai to sawantwadi by Mumbai Goa Highway, 505 Kms
Kankavli to sawantwadi, 53 Kms
Places to see nearby:
Kolgaon Archway: This 300 years old stone archway in Kolgaon village welcomes visitors to Sawantwadi town.
Atmeshwar Tali: Atmeshwar Tali near Vaishyawadi area is a water reservoir created by divine powers of shri Damodar Swami around 300 years back.
Narendra Garden: You can get nice view of Vengurla beaches from Narendra Hill where this garden is located.
Amboli Hill Station : Visit Amboli, a tranquil hill station on the Western Ghats, surrounded by thick forests and tree canopied hills. The sunset point, the origin of Hiranyakeshi river Nagartas fall, Narayangad, Mahadergad, Kawalesad are some major points worth visiting.
2) Terekhol Fort :Goa-Sindhudurga district, on the border of Redi village, we find Tiracol fort. It is on a big hill near the seashore. Though it is in Goa, people visiting Sindhudurga are able to see it.
Fort is situated at the mouth of Redi creek. Towards the south of the fort is the seashore. Redi village is well known for its manganese business. Otavne river meets here to sea and hence the area of beach is very broad. And because of this otavne river, one natural boarder is maintained in sindhudurg and goa. From tiracol fort you can see beautifull view of otavne river where meets to sea.
By air: Nearest is Goa, dabolim
By rail: sawantwadi 37 Km
By road: 27 km. from Vengurla, 7 KM from shiroda , Nearest Bus Station shiroda 7 KM
Places to see nearby:
1) Redi Ganesh Temple 2) Yashwangad (Fort) 3) Sonurli Mauli Temple
3) Redi Ganesh :It's believed that every person possesses some sixth sense, but only few are aware of it, and among them very few believe them or listen them. It's really a miracle, which is beyond layman's understanding. Reddi's very famous Ganesh Temple finds its roots in such an intuitive and interesing story. This is a vigilant deity, wakeful towards its devotees' call. The occasions like Ganesh Chaturthi, Sankashta Chatarthi one observe floods of devotees.
It's foundation story is a follows: On April 18th, 1976 one truck-driver, Sadanand Nagesh Kambali parked his truck at a particular place. This truck used to ply from Reddi's (iron & minerals) mine to harbour. That truck -driver slept there and he had a dream. In dream, God Ganesha gave him divine appearance and told him to dig at the very same place, since He(God) is residing there. He had great faith in Lord Ganesha.
As per his dream, he started digging there and to the astonishment of all the villagers, there appeared two-handed idol of Lord Ganesha, carved in solid rock. The date was 1st May 1976. After seeking omen from Gram–Devata (Village deity), it was decided to build a temple at the very spot and establish this deity. After few days, in the same area they excavated a big idol of mouse, which is a traditional vehical of Ganesha. These idols are very pretty and graceful. Today one can visit beautifully built temple and get delighted by taking "Darshan" of the adorable deity.
4) Sagareshwar Beach Driving on the way to Shiroda from Vengurla just turn to the right at Ubhadanda you will see the huge streteh of shiny silvery sand dunes. By trampling the sand under the foot, a short walk, climbing the sand dunes and lo behold you are at the sparkling beach and crystal blue waters of Sagreshwar. This beautiful beach is just 3-4 kms from Vengurla. A small temple of Sagareshwara(Lord of the Sea) is situated on the beach.
The Cajuring plantations on the beach offers hospitality and pleasure to the tourists. Ideal for swimming, this is a secluded beach and can be accessed by trekking.
5) Bhogve Beach : Bhogave Beach is in the vicinity of Kille Nivati. These two form a complete package for history lovers as well as nature hungry tourists, alike. Bhogave beach is endowed with foamy waves and silver sand. This beach will surely destress you!
Village Bhogave has another attraction of unification of sea and river named Karli. This beach came in lime light in 1988–89 and after that it has emerged as the hotest tourist destination. This beach enjoys yet another magnetic characteristic, that is being a habitation of dolphins. Charming tricks of dolphins are really eye–candy. Place is ready for welcoming tourists with its state–of-the–art resort and other facilities for various activities.
6) Nivati Beach Offers peace and serenity to independent travelers. Fishermen seen launching their traditional boats and nets daily into the sea is an interesting feature to watch on this beach. Adjoining the beach is a twin village Kochara which offers wonderful view of small tropical oasis on Nivti shore.
7) Shiroda Velagar Beach :
Featuring natural beauty, privacy, sparkling blue waters, long stretch of silver sands, cool sea breeze whispering through towering cajuring plantations on the beach, amenities and salt depots around the village, Shiroda is feast for the eyes of visitors.
Everyone in Maharashtra and its neighbouring state is aware of great Marathi author Shri V. S. Khandekar. It is a place where he worked from 1920 to 1938 as a primary and secondary school teacher. So this place has got its own identity.
8) Sindhudurg Fort
The name of this fort is given to Sindhudurg district. Tourists from all over the world visit this great sea fort. Sindhudurg was built with the help of huge rocks on the ‘Kurte' island, which amazes people, and one appreciates the vision and foresight of Shivaji.
History: In 1664-67 AD, Shivaji erected this fort on 48 acres of island. Shivaji Maharaj personally selected this site, a rocky island, Kurte. It took 500 stone splitters and stonebreakers, 200 black smiths, 3000 laborers and 100’s of skilled artists who toiled very hard to complete this fort in three years. A notable feature is that the foundation stones were laid down firmly in molten lead. This is evident from the stone inscriptions. One of the best preserved forts of the Marathas, the 48 acre Sindhudurg fort has a four kms long zigzag line of 9 meters high and 3 meters wide rampart with 42 bastions.
Initially, 3 kms. long outer wall (Tat) was built. Average height of wall is 10 meters and breadth is 2 to 4 meters. The design of main door is an enigma. It has been a hallmark of Maratha Architecture of fort building. It defies detection of its location to the attacker. The technique was so deceptive for the enemy that they could not even realize where the entrance was due to blind curves. Zigzag pattern of outer wall was so built that the enemy would be visible from any point inside the fort and the troops inside could fire their guns and cannons effectively and humble the enemy. Cores of hones (gold coins) form Surat bounty, were spent to built this wonderful fort.
How to get inside the fort:
The fort is approachable from the Malvan pier by a boat through a narrow navigable channel between two smaller islands of Dhontara and Padmagad. There is even a guide to take you around inside. Fort is completely cut off during the monsoons.
What to see:
Shivaji’s palm and footprints are preserved here on dried lime slabs in a tower. Inside the Fort, temples of Bhavanimata, Shambhu Mahadev, Jirimiri, Mahapurush and Shivajeshwar are worth seeing, all of which are in good condition.
Chatrapati Shivaji’s younger son Rajaram in his remembrance built this temple. Shivaji’s idol stands in a boatman’s attire inside the temple and probably only one of its’ kind in the country – where the image of Shivaji is without a beard. Outside the southern wall there is a small beach, called Ranichi Vela (Queen’s private beach), where Queen Tarabai, daughter-in law of Shivaji, used to enjoy her sea-bath. The fort also houses some twenty Hindu-Muslim families, who have been living there for generations. Side the fort there are three wells of drinkable water, which is a nature’s marvel as sea surrounds the fort on all four sides. On a rocky island between Sindhudurg and the coast stood the small fort of Padmagad, now in ruins. It acted as a shield for Sindhudurg and was also used for shipbuilding.
To be seen in Malvan is the auction of day’s fish catch in the evening between 5 p.m. when all the trawlers return after day’s fishing in the deep sea. The catch is then sold to the highest bidder.
9) Bhalachandra Maharaj Ashram
This is the place of penance of Bhalchandra Baba. He lived here for 55 years. Monument is constructed and accommodation is available here in specially built 'Bhakt Nivas' for a nominal price. It is possible for devotees to do pooja–archa, abhishekh of shri Samartha’s Monument. After donating fifty one rupees one can do pooja–abhishekh of Samarth once in a year and prasad is sent by post to the mailing address. If a devotee wants to do pooja and abhishekh on any of following festive days, donation of a thousand and one rupees is asked for.
Holy place of Bhalchandra Baba’s Meditation period (Vaikunthvasi Pundalik Sabaji Kamat’s alive – monument.) In Kankavli market, in front of Shri Dev Kashivishveshwar and Shri Dev Datta Temple, there is alive monument of holy man of Kamat family, Pundalik Sabaji Kamat which is 150 years old. This holy man after his age of sixty preferred Sanyasashram and did meditation in a closed room. Then he drove away sorrows of people and at last he expressed his desire to take Sanjivan Samadhi. He took it in front of Datta Temple constructed by him.
When Bhalchandra Maharaj came to Kankavli, he started to sit here. People used to think that he was insane but nephew of revered Pundalik Sabaji Kamat, late Ramchandra Moreshwar Kamat got message that he was not insane but a yogi and he should get place near by me so late Ramchandra Moreshwar Kamat constructed one room in the close vicinity to the samadhi. In this room Bhalchandra Maharaj did his meditation for 50 years. In 1980 it was reconstructed by Shri Suresh Dinkar Kamat.
Life of Bhalchandra Baba:
He was born on January 08, 1904. His mother and father died when he was 5 to 6 years old. He ran away from home when he was about 25 years old. He was told to go to Satam Maharaj of Danoli to devote his life by Mule Maharaj of Gargoti. He did so according to Satam Maharaja’s desire. Bhalchandra came to Kankavli at his youth in 1930-32. He was unclothed with long beard and nails. People thought he was insane and some tried to tease him. Children used to throw stones but he was not daunted by anything. When his guru Satam Maharaj came from Danoli to meet Bhalchandra, people understood greatness of Bhalchandra Maharaj. People used to get great pleasure by his single look. People from all over Maharashtra started to come to see him. He never use to speak or accept anything from them.
On 16th December, 1977 he was in the Hanuman Temple of Lalbag. Continuous Ramjap was going on. Thousands of people had gathered to see Bhalchandra Baba. It was around 8 o’ clock at night when he left this world.
He was brought to Kankavli and on 18th December 1977 in the middle of ashram, samadhi was given. Numerous people gather here annually. On Margshirsh Shudh Saptami Baba’s Punyatithi is celebrated. His devotees are from all religion, caste and creed, poor and rich. He gave same love like sun to all. He is always holy like Ganga and great like Himalaya. People adore this saint as a supreme being.
Annual festivals of Samadhi Temple:
1) Shri Samartha’s Punyatithi – Margashirsh Shuddha Saptami.
2) Shri Samartha’s Jayanti – Paush Krishna Shashthi.
3) Mahashivratr – Magh Krushna Trayodashi.
4) Shri Gurudwadashi – Ashvin Krishna Dwadashi.
5) Gurupaurnima – Ashadhi Shudddha 15
10) Kunkeshwar Temple
Kunkeshwar Temple, an ancient Shiva Temple is located in Kunkeshwar village, 14 Kms from Devgad town. A pristine beach with a very long stretch of seashore and white sand adds to the beauty of temple surroundings.
This beautiful temple near beach has alluring architecture with reminiscent of South Indian style of temple architecture. Yadav Kings built this temple in 1100 A. D. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who rejuvenated this temple many times was a frequent visitor to this temple. This temple is also famous as Kashi of South Konkan. Every year a huge celebration takes place on the occasion of Mahashivratri, which keeps religious beliefs in constant sight of the multitudes. During the festival a large number of devotees throng this place with their families and friends. This vigilant Shiva deity bestows blessings on everyone who surrenders to its feet.
A walk through the 5 Kms long Kunkeshwar beach across the temple on one side of the hill has quieting effect on the mind. Swimming in the clear water freshens the mind and if you are lucky ones you can get a rare view of dolphins diving in the deep sea from a distance. Greenery of coconut and mango trees surrounding one side of the beach adds to the beauty and makes the whole experience of every visitor a memorable one.
World famous Alphanso mango is grown here in large number. This Devgad Alphanso mango is exported to UK, Australia, USA, gulf and asian countries. Visitors often enjoy mango plantations on both sides of the road while driving to this place and often buy mango-boxes from the villagers selling them on the streets.
On the eastern side of the temple, one enjoys the sight of the cave with beautifully carved male and female warriors in black rock. With the presence of Ganesh idol along with Shiv-linga and Nandi in the center, this place is must see for every visitor.
Amboli Hill Station Getting there:
By Air: Nearest airport is Belgaum, 64 kms. Dabolim(Goa) airport is 120 kms.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is Sawantwadi Road on Konkan Railway, 30 kms.
By Road: Mumbai is 549 kms by road, Pune 390 kms. State Transport and private vechiles ply from Sawntwadi, Malvan, Vengurla, Kankavli.