A wide range of beautiful and serene beaches is what makes the twin villages of Harnai and Murud in the Dapoli taluka of Ratnagiri district such a big favourite of tourists all year round. Also, not only have they been blessed with natural attractions but they also occupy a significant place in the history of the state.
The white silky seashore at Harnai-Murud is adorned with a chain of sea forts such as Suvarnadurg, Kanakdurg and Goa. Murud is also famous for being the birthplace of two prominent personalities who have been awarded the Bharat Ratna.
Located 225 kilometers from Mumbai with the nearest railway station at Khed on the Konkan line and the closest airport at Mumbai, Harnai is an ancient port on the west coast of India. Though the village is very small, a visit to the sea fort Suvarnadurg makes for an amazing experience. One can also travel from here to a village called Anjarle by crossing the Paaj Creek to visit the temple of Kadyavarcha Ganapati. The forts of Kanakdurg and Goa are situated on the shore of the Arabian Sea at Harnai. Murud, with Durga Devi as its local deity, is located just 14 kilometers from Dapoli, the taluka place. This village too has a historical background apart of course from being on the map of pilgrims for its beautifully designed temple dedicated to Durga Devi.
The temple has intricately carved eight wooden pillars and decorative slabs. A six-layered ‘deepmaala’ stands tall in front of the temple. A smaller temple of Svayambhuva Devi is located in the courtyard of this main temple. A big bell hangs outside the main hall, this being a souvenir which Maratha warrior Chimaji Appa brought here to celebrate his victory over Vasai. Vasudev Joshi Murudkar was then the ‘subhedar’ of Vasai during the reign of Bajirao Peshwa I and is believed to have been instrumental in adorning the temple with this bell.
Murud is a tiny village with thick foliage of trees on its coastline. A unique feature of this village is that it has offered two well-known personalities in the service of the nation – social reformer Annasaheb alias Dhondo Keshav Karve and Sanskrit laureate Pandurang Vasudev Kane. They both were honoured with the supreme civil award Bharat Ratna. The official residence of Annasaheb Karve is no longer in existence but a bust honouring him has been erected in the square near the temple. The school in which both these personalities finished their studies has completed its centenary and is a matter of pride for Murud.