We drove from Ganpatipule to Marleshwar primarily in search of some big and small waterfalls. It was monsoon time – the best time to chase waterfalls in western ghats. We knew there is a temple next to the waterfall but that is all we knew.
As we approached the destination, various boards started announcing its presence and directions. One of the boards had a poem saying
आकाश दर्शन पर्मेशवर, गिरी दर्शन मारलेश्वर
गिरीचे मस्तिका गंगा, मारलेश्वरी अस्ति गिरी गंगा
Just like the sky has God, the mountain has Marleshwar. And just like the Himalayas have Ganga, Marleshwar too has Giri Ganga – I assume referring to the perennial waterfalls next to the temple.
As soon as I read this board I noticed that we were driving along a river. Boards started telling me that this area is known as Shri Kshetra. With my limited knowledge, I would interpret it as the region of prosperity or region of female divine power. Finally, a temple arch in blue welcomed us and we knew the destination has arrived.
Climb to the temple
What I did not realize, and blame it on my lack of research, is that there are more than 530 steps to be climbed before you reach the cave temple and see the waterfalls.
Shops along the steps
I started climbing. There were shops at every step – mostly selling offerings for the temple but some of them had tempting food stalls. There were local drinks shops selling anything from Nimbu Pani to Kokum Sherbet to Aam Panna. Of course, there were tea and Bhajjis. Some of the Mithai or sweets were being made right there. I picked up a sweet made of coconut and jaggery, offered it to God and distributed it to fellow travelers. Thankfully, the shopkeepers know exactly how much more steps to go from their shop. They keep encouraging the pilgrims by saying just a little ahead, so have already come so far.
Halfway to the top, we met a small waterfall – more like rolling water on the bare dark rock. Many people were taking a break here and enjoying the waterfall. I enjoyed the small groups of people positioning themselves for the best picture and best selfie.
Every inch of the rugged hills around us was covered in green. Green came from tall trees, from foliage and even from the moss that filled all the gaps.
Video of Marleshwar Waterfalls
First glimpse of waterfalls
We got our first glimpse of the tall waterfalls as we moved our eyes in the direction opposite to the flow of the river. Surrounded by greenery and making a loud noise at it hit the rock – the waterfall looked beautiful. A small temple at the base of it which I assumed is the temple to visit. I was wrong as I would soon discover.
A little ahead when we saw the waterfall as part if a large rock we realized we are standing in front of many big and small streams of water coming down from the hilltop. In fact, a lot of them were joining to create this big waterfall that tends to hold your eye more than others.
At the end of the stairs stands a huge platform, that has a small cave opening. Steel arch outside it tells you that this is Shri Marleshwar Teerthkshetra. The cave opening is smeared with red and yellow marks that the devotees put as a mark of respect.
We stepped inside the cave and saw two Shivalingas on a platform. Legend is that these Shivalingas are Swayambhu or they are not man-made. Two priests were sitting next to the left Shivalinga while the other was on its own. When I asked priests said the left one is Marleshwar while the other one is Mallikarjun.
Water was all over the cave. Standing inside the cave felt like standing in the rain, while it was not raining outside.
The temple gets lots of pilgrims during the month of Saavan or Shravan that falls roughly in August during the peak monsoon season. This month is special for Shiva Devotees and they visit all possible Shiva temples, especially on Mondays. We had visited just before the Shravan month so there were not many visitors. We were told that in Shravan, there are long queues and you have to spend many hours before you can reach the cave temple.
We started looking for other waterfalls and were directed towards the Nivali waterfalls.
After a lovely drive that took us through lush green landscapes of western ghats interspersed by water bodies at regular intervals. Suddenly, about 20 km before Ratnagiri, we saw a massive waterfall across the valley at a distance.
It would need a fair bit of trekking to reach the base of the waterfall, so we decided to admire it from the distance. The advantage of watching it from a distance was that the waterfall appeared a part of the overall landscape. It was a part of a large painting, adding its own color and rhythm to the environment.
Nivali Waterfalls Video
Take a glimpse of the Nivali waterfalls we managed to capture.
A half day trip from Ganpatipule to the temple and waterfalls via Nivali falls was tiring, remember there were 530 steps to be climbed. Was it worth it – Oh yes, it was much more than that? How often do we get to spend time with nature and nothing else to distract you.
The temple & waterfalls is a great destination to explore during Monsoons.
Recommend you to read the following tourist attractions of Konkan, Maharashtra.