You can both lose and find yourself in Sawantwadi

As another weekend rolls in, one of the first thoughts that occur to me are, ‘I can relax’, ‘I can finish up all the work I’ve been wanting to do for weeks’ and ‘It’s been a while, I need to catch up with my friends’. But while I d like to enjoy the weekend by sitting back and watching a film or reading a book,  also have the undying urge to get out of the city. It’s just that sometimes the plans can’t be formed soon enough, there isn’t enough time or simple I’m too lazy to get out and actually do something.

But honestly, when I do manage to get off my derriere, travelling can be fun. There is a certain charm about visiting places you have never been before, or even if you have been there a few times, the change of location is always welcoming and refreshing. I’m not sure, but  think it’s something which is more psychological than anything else.

Has anyone ever gone to Sawantwadi? Those who traverse the Konkan route often, especially the Mumbai-Goa frequenters, will know that passing through Sawantwadi is mandatory en route. It is practically the last town that separates Maharashtra from Goa. But what most people don’t know is that when not fulfilling the charm of being a mere stop-off, Sawantwadi has a certain beauty of it’s own.

A small town that was once ruled by the Bhonsale royal family, the town of Sawantwadi was built around the Moti Lake and surrounded by hills in whose valley it sits. Moti Lake makes for an interesting and picturesque view, especially during the monsoon, which ideally is one of the best times to visit the town. Moti Lake also provides the venue for small water sports like boating, paddling and speed boating. The Rajvada palace, constructed near the banks of Moti Lake, was the home of the royal family and still continues to be the shelter for descendants of blue blood. For adventure enthusiasts, apart from water sports, there are also hills surrounding the town. Trekking and nature trails are some of the activities for outdoorsy people. Nature enthusiasts will love the landscape especially during the monsoon when the ground is covered by all forms of green, including moss, grass, shrubs and other small vegetation. For those who will make the trek up Narendra hill, which overlooks the town of Sawantwadi and also houses the Hanuman Mandir, the view of the town is ecstatic. Trek further up all the way to the top and you are welcomed by Narendra Park which offers a quaint place to sit top the hill and taken in the serene beauty of the magnificent town of Sawantwadi. If you enjoy shopping, Sawantwadi is well known for it’s craftsmanship, especially lacquer ware and ganjifa cards. Ganjifa cards are only crafted in Sawantwadi and are a form of playing cards to a game the royal family themselves used to indulge in. There are other places to shop, from Chitrali for the popular lacquer ware to the ancient Raghunath market for handicrafts and groceries. Even the religious can happily fulfill pilgrimages with the ample number of temples in and around the town. Shilpagram is also an interesting place to visit since it is in effect, the home of artisans. A project to provide a house and work space for the local craftsman, Shilpagram is a small village in itself, and quite beautiful as well.

Sawantwadi does have the charm of the rustic, but it is a place to get right back to nature calm and relax. But all the same, you can get your blood pumping and burn some energy with outdoor activities and by simple exploring the town of Sawantwadi. All that matters is you care enough to get off your couch.

For more places to visit and for other adventure sports venues, visit InOnIt.

- Sean Sequeira

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