Just 200 kilometers from Mumbai is one of the most heavenly places you are likely to find. That’s Harihareshwar for you – a coastal region that is home to a great beach, not to forget that it is also known as ‘Kashi of the South’ for the ancient temple of Lord Shiva. Harihareshwar therefore offers a great combination of natural beauty with spiritual enhancement.
The holy river Savitri that originates at Mahableshwar merges with the Arabian Sea at Harihareshwar. This river is the dividing line between the Raigad and Ratnagiri districts. Harihareshwar is situated on the north bank and on the south bank is the village Bankot in the Ratnagiri district. A fort, Himmatgad, stands at Bankot and you can cross this channel on a ferry boat.
Four hills named Harihareshwar, Harshinachal, Bramhadri and Pushpadri stand sentinel to this town in the Raigad district.Towards the north of the town is the temple of Lord Harihareshwar, said to have been blessed by Lord Shiva. Hence Harihareshwar is often referred to as ‘Devghar’ or ‘House of God’. Besides its reputation as a major pilgrimage center, Harihareshwar is a popular beach resort with two beaches, one to the north and the other to the south of the temple. It is on the south beach that the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has a resort.
The Harihareshwar Temple was built in the late medieval period with the deities of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Parvati in the form of ‘linga’. It is the ‘kuladaivat’ or clan deity of the Peshwas, the prime ministers of the great Maratha Empire. Hence the Peshwas contributed a lot to this temple, including the construction of a charitable rest-house for the devotees who visit the temple. It was even renovated completely in 1723 by Bajirao Peshwa I after having been almost destroyed in a fire. Besides the main temple, there are two temples of Lord Kalbhairav and Goddess Yogeshwari. It is interesting to note that the image of Kalbhairav, a manifestation of Shiva, in this temple faces north. The image of Kalabhairav is almost invariably shown facing south. It is customary to pay tribute first to Kalbhairav, then to Lord Shiva, and again to Kalbhairav.
Distance from Mumbai: 200 kms