Marleshwar Temple – It’s not easy to find Shiva!
Marleshwar Temple is located in Marleshwar of Ratnagiri district. It is a cave temple of lord Shiva in the Sahyadri mountain range. The distinctiveness of this temple is that snakes can be seen in the temple but they do not bite the devotees. This is one of the reasons due to which every year thousands of devotees throng to Cave Shiva Temple. The Marleshwar Yatra which takes place during the Makar Sankranti is a major event of this temple. This place is easily accessible from Mumbai, Pune and all other cities of Maharashtra.
We had completed our tour of Ganpatipule and were planning to head back towards Mumbai but at the last moment we decided a detour via Marleswhar Temple which is around 85 KM from Ganpatipule. The route from Ganpatipule to Marleshwar was a scenic beauty with greenery, mountain, and river on the way. The best part was the end of our journey towards Marleshwar where the place is covered by mountains from all the sides and the road comes to an end on the foothills.
It took us around 30 minutes to climb the stairs and reach the cave. We took the blessings of lord Shiva and quietly came out of the cave. En-route we saw lot of monkeys waiting for an opportunity to snatch the bags containing Prasad from the devotees and some were successful as well. We were not fortunate enough to see any snake in the temple but the environment was very soothing. We asked about the snakes from the priest and they said that in summers they can rarely be seen in the temple.
There is also a waterfall near the temple which originates from the river Bav and is known as Dhareshwar. Since we went to the place in May, we expected the fall to be dry but a very thin line if water was still percolating from the hills and flowing to the river. Some people were enjoying under the waterfall but people have made it dirty with strewn plastic bottles, wrappers, clothes, etc. When will people learn to take the moral responsibility to keep the place clean? Also, we found lack of dust bins over there which should be more near pilgrimage places. We took a small rest amidst the natural environment of the hills and left with an imagination about how this place will come to life during monsoon with manifold increase in its scenic beauty. Finally a thought, what does I mean by it’s not easy to find Shiva? Well, when we visit all such terrains and enters the cave then we realize that the cave represent your inner self where we can find Shiva.