Some places become famous because of their beautiful landscape, others due to incidents associated with history. At Shivthar Ghal though, it is a combination of both. Also known as Sunder Math, this is a picturesque cavern inside a cliff located in Varandha Ghat in the Sahyadris on the Bhor-Mahad Road. It is here that the famous Marathi spiritual and social mentor-poet Samarth Ramadas Swami resided for almost 22 years, and created the famous work ‘Das Bodh’ with the aid of his most loyal disciple, Kalyan Swami, who worked as his writer. It is also believed that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj met Samarth Ramdas for the very first time at Shivthar Ghal.
Shivthar Ghal is located around 34 kilometers away from Mahad near Barasgaon in the district of Raigad. An easily accessible place, there is a good frequency of state transport buses to Mahad from Mumbai, Pune and Kalyan. Private vehicles too can be driven till the foothills of Shivthar Ghal. The approximate distance to Shivthar Ghal from Mumbai is around 200 kilometers while it is only 89 kilometers from Pune.
The area of Shivthar Ghal comprises dense forest situated in the region of Javali which was famous for its More rulers, known for being the opponents of Shivaji. The Maratha ruler eventually defeated the Mores and brought this region under his supremacy in the 17th century. Before proceeding on his great campaign in South India, Shivaji came to meet Ramdas Swami here.
Shivthar Ghal occupies a place of special importance among historians and, in particular, the followers of Ramdas Swami because it played a great role in giving birth to his great compendium called the ‘Das Bodh’. According to historical records, Shivthar Ghal had gone into oblivion for many years before being re-discovered in 1930 by Shankar Krishna Dev of Dhule, an ardent follower of Ramdas Swami. The entire region of Mahad-Raigad-Shivthar Ghal is also important because of Shivaji’s stronghold.
You need to climb 100 odd steps to reach the cavern or the ‘ghal’. Since the place is of spiritual significance, many visitors spend time in meditation in the divine and tranquil atmosphere that envelops this place. A waterfall outside the cavern is a sight to behold. Moreover, it is best to visit Shivthar Ghal during the monsoon season to witness nature blooming at its best.
The place is well-maintained by the Sundar Math Seva Samiti and Shri Samarth Seva Mandal established in 1950. The campus includes a cave under a waterfall, the temple dedicated to Ramdas Swami, a dining hall and lodging facilities. The ‘prasad’, consisting of ‘moong dal’, ‘khichadi’ and ‘shira’, is distributed free to visitors between 12 noon and 1:30 pm. For accommodation, you will find a good number of decent hotels in Mahad and an MTDC resort in Raigad.
Distance from Mumbai 190 kms.