Sawantwadi is a small town located in the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra. It has the Arabian Sea on the west side and Sahayadris on the east. It is a nice little pit stop connecting Mumbai and Goa on National Highway 17.
It was formerly the capital of Sawantwadi state ruled by Sawant Bhonsle Marathas.
The language spoken predominantly here is Malvani. Marathi, Goan and Konkani are other languages spoken here.
It is a quiet town in the lap of nature with life going at a languid pace. However, it is a favorite stop for Indian and foreign tourists; do you know the reason why?
Here are five things you most likely didn’t know about Sawantwadi.
- Royalty still exists here
Sawantwadi kingdom was founded and nurtured by Khem sawants in the 16th century.
Sawantwadi Royal palace is one of the biggest attractions in Sawantwadi. It attracts numerous visitors every year.
The palace first constructed on the Narendra hills between years by 1755 and 1803. One of the kings, Khemsawant III built it at ground level just near hills.
This is a lovely and artistically built palace and maintained very well. There are now plans to convert it into a boutique hotel.
The descendants of the royal lineage still live there. Sometimes the royal family comes and mingles with the public. You may be lucky to meet one of them.
An imposing gateway impresses visitors right away. The darbar room is open to the public. The king’s throne is well preserved too. Murals and images of previous Rulers line on the walls in the palace. Stained glass, swords, daggers, emblems, stuffed animals, mosaic ceilings, huge chandeliers, and many other curios on display make it worth a visit.
- Famous for 3 player Ganjifa cards
Ganjifa cards are playing cards that originated in Persia and brought to India by the Mughals. There are many versions of this game across India. The most popular is the Dashavatara version from Sawantwadi.
The Dashavatara set consists of ten suits placed in a very tastefully painted box. Each suit again has 12 cards. The cards are circular and have lovely intricate hand paintings done by artists in this town.
The ruling family of Sawantwadi is great patrons of Ganjifa cards. This art was painstakingly revived by His Highness Lt. Col. Shivramraje Sawant Bhonsle and his queen Her Highness Satvashiladevi Bhonsle.
There are very few Ganjifa artisans left now. But the royalty supports efforts and workshops are conducted in the palace to train young boys and girls to continue this tradition.
- Small town with lot of places to visit and yummy food to eat.
Sawantwadi’s uniqueness lies in its history, wood industry, and delectable food. Some of the spots where you will find glimpses of it are…
This gateway is the entrance to the town and was built about 200 years ago. It still stands tall, though a bit rusty, inviting you to this amazing place.
This lake is in the right middle of the city and was built in 1874. A local legend says that pearls were found in this lake, so the name. It is a good place to go peddling or just absorb the vibes of the city. A 150 years old walkway near the lake gives you a place to stand and stare. Many poets and writers have found inspiration in this very place!
There is a huge market around this lake. From here you can buy wonderful toys and handicrafts, showpieces, woodware, Kolhapuri Chappals, silver and bronze jewelry, artifacts, and more. You can also buy the famous Ganjifa cards here.
In the eateries around you can find yummy Malvani thali, coconut dishes, Kokum Sharbat, dried fish, Agul, and Amala juice among others.
Check out authentic Konkani food in hotels such as Savali Restaurant, Naaz and Lake View Restaurant.
Hapus mango, cashews, jackfruit, pineapple, Jamun fruit, guavas, watermelon, and kokum are grown in small villages around this city. Do not forget to buy them before returning.
Devotees throng the Atmeshwar Tali, a Shiva temple with 2 unique shivalings.
Narendra Dongar or the Narendra hill is a place to visit to find unique birds and animals. En route, to the top one, can visit the Vittal Mandir and Hanuman mandir. After crossing small waterfalls you will come across the Narendra Garden. Do not miss the sunsets atop this green hill.
Two forts Manohar and Santoshgard are in close proximity to this town and you can include these forts too in your Itinerary.
Amboli hill station is another place that you should not miss if you are a nature lover.
- Home to lacquer ware – wooden toys and utilities
This small town also boosts dexterous artisans who excel in wood art. The marketplace around Moti Lake has numerous shops selling lovely woodworks and utilities.
The list of wood products that you can pick up here is spatula, engraved doors, showpieces, shelves, nameplates, kitchen toy sets, miniature village scenes, Candlesticks, fruits and vegetables, chessboards, musical instruments, airplanes, wooden flowers, furniture, and key chains.
- This town has its own Railway Station
Sawantwadi is well connected to other cities of India by Railway line, Road and Air.
It lies on the Maharashtra – Goa border on the national highway 17. So it can reach using both Public and private buses.
The nearest airport is Dabolim in Goa and Chipi Airport in Konkan. This place lies on the Konkan railway line and has a stop named Sawantwadi Road railway station. Many trains pass through this station.