Ratnagiri is full of places to visit and experience nature at the closest. Waterfalls, beaches, mountains, biodiversity, forts, temples, water sports… you name it, Ratnagiri has it!
So, the list to-visit is very long and each place and activity an adventure in itself.
Sometimes you have special reasons for visiting a place. Few people enjoy the beach and sports activities. Others visit famous temples in Ratnagiri. Some wander in forests recording the wildlife in their camera.
So, if you are a history buff or experience seeker touring Ratnagiri, do not miss visiting the beautifully constructed three-storied Thiba Palace in Abhiyudhyanagar. The attraction of this structure brings many tourists to this place.
Thiba palace or Thibaw Palace is one of the important attractions of Ratnagiri. This heritage palace is maintained by ASI. It is just 2 km from the bus stand. You can take a cab and auto as well.
Built during the British period, it has its own story to tell. The king of Burma, Thibaw was kept on house arrest in this place from 1910 until his death. One of the few possessions of the king was a Buddha statue that was installed at the backside of the palace.
Colonization of many parts of the Indian subcontinent led to drastic changes in the political scenario. Big empires like the Mughal Empire ended during this time. The last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was defeated and exiled in Burma.
In another land nearby, the Burmese royal lineage was also cut short by the British.
King Thiba was last in the line of Konbaug had ruled over Burma, now Myanmar, for 7 years. His ascent to the throne itself was a result t of a political conspiracy that led to the murder of other throne aspirants.
When he became ruler, the lower part of Burma was under the control of the British. The new king intended to align with the French and wrest back this area. This led to the third Burmese war.
But the English won the war and stormed into the Palace. They took the king and family captive
The family was brought to India and put in exile first in Madras, now called Chennai. Later a palace was built for his stay in Ratnagiri. The palace spread over 27 acres cost one lakh seventy thousand rupees at that time in 1910.
The king was held captive in this palace until his death. He was entombed with his queen in a nearby place. He had 3 daughters. Two daughters married locals while the remaining family left for Myanmar a few years hence.
The Thibaw palace
Thibaw Palace is a beautifully constructed three-storied structure. This architectural structure with sloping roofs is made of Laterite and Lava rock. It has semi-circular wooden windows made of Burmese teak with intricate designs on top. The amazing carvings in the windows please the eye.
There are three blocks in the Palace. Projecting corridors on the upper floors add to its beauty. A courtyard is built in the center with a fountain to bring fresh air into the rooms. Connecting passages are airy with open arches. Tiled sloping roofs made with wooden frames make the rooms look large. Burmese teak is used in many other places showing the influence of Burmese architecture.
On the first floor, there is a dancing hall with marble flooring. You will discover that a Buddha idol is installed behind the palace. The idol was brought to India by King Thibaw.
The bifurcated Burmese-style wooden staircases were extensively used by the King’s family and the British officers who visited them. Some of these steps are under repair. The vast garden layout reflects the colonial and Burmese garden traditions. Sadly, there is no greenery in these parts now.
Archaeological Museum has artifacts that were used by the exiled king – ancient idols on the ground floor, art exhibition on the upper floor. Previously it was used as a Government office and sub-center for Bombay University.
This palace is beautifully lit and decorated during the annual arts festival in January
The place closes for visitors by 5 in the evening. Ensure you go early. Also, note that Monday is a holiday.
Towards evening you could visit the Thiba palace point side of the palace. It is in the Jijamata garden. It is the best place to get a grand view of Someshwar creek Bhatye Bridge, and the Arabian Sea.
Do not miss viewing the Bhagawathi fort that dazzles in the orange evening sun. Climb the tower here to get wider views of the sea waters and their surroundings. There is a small play area for kids to play trampoline, toy train, mini boats, see-saws, slides, and swings for play.