Marleshwar Temple, the Temple of Lord Shiva, is located in the lap of the cascading waters of the Dhareshwar waterfall in Marleshwar, Maharashtra, India. It is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Chiplun and is built in a cave. If you are up for some physical effort, it requires climbing 520 steps to reach the sacred shrine. The climb is accompanied with beautiful scenery around. The lush green River Bav Valley, the massive mountains and the view of the ghats are sure to mesmerize you with its simplicity and beauty.
The most unusual phenomenon related to the Marleshwar Temple, which also makes it extremely popular among pilgrims, is the presence of cobra snakes in the temple complex. It is widely believed that Lord Shiva lived here with these snakes. Legend says that these snakes are harmless and do not bite the visiting pilgrims and one can even touch them if they want to. So far, there have been no reports or incidents involving the snakes, and this occurrence makes the temple extremely renowned among devotees. The sighting of these cobras has, however, reduced drastically over the recent years. This is because tourists tend to annoy or scare away these snakes, and hence, they are rarer to see.
Although Marleshwar Temple is most popular for religious beliefs, the location of this site makes it quite popular among thrill seekers. Surrounded by the lush greenery of the gorgeous Sahyadri range and the stunning Dhareshwar Waterfalls, this temple packs a punch for anyone looking for an adrenaline rush. The treacherous yet exhilarating pathways of Marleshwar coupled with the surrounding natural beauty make it a nature lover's perfect weekend getaway.
A trek through Chiplun to reach Marleshwar Temple is a 3-day trek from Helwak through Chandoli Forest. Since it is not a one day trek, the destinations are broken down. One the first day, the trekkers may cover Ram Ghal, Bhairav Gad and Patharpunj Village. The second day may include reaching Prachit Gad through the dense Chandoli Forest and Chandel Village. And on the third day, one can cover Kundi Village, Mahimar Gad, and Marleshwar. If the time and occasion call for an unplanned stay at one of the villages, it can become a 4 to 5 day-long exciting adventure.
Numerous festivals are celebrated at the Marleshwar Temple with great energy, and devotees especially love to visit the temple at the time of these festivities. The temple is also thronged with a large number of devotees on Makar Sankranti. It is believed that the marriage of Girijadevi and Marleshwar had taken place on this day, and thus this festival holds high importance for the devotees. Locals, as well as tourists, have great enjoyment and fun on this occasion. Also, an exclusive Yatra also takes place at the Marleshwar Temple on special occasions such as Makar Sankranti. A fair is also organised on Mahashivratri and Tripuri Poornima.
The mountain on which the Marleshwar Temple is located is accessible from the NH17 when you travel from Chiplun to Ratnagiri. The right turn to Marleshwar is just before a bridge and is well marked, but it is good to ask the people on the streets for some directions.
Travellers can avail state transport buses from Sangmeshwar or Devrukh which are the major towns nearby that located at a distance of 30 and 18 kilometers respectively. Hired rickshaws or taxis will also drop you off at the temple base.
1. Travellers must wear trekking shoes for traversing the mountain road as the temple is reached after climbing around 530 stairs.
2. Wear good trekking gear and carry enough food and water.
3. Carry a first aid kit.
4. Ensure you do not disturb flora and fauna around. If you sight cobras and others snakes, please do not harm them.
5. Do not litter and pollute the site.
6. Be careful when you bathe under the waterfall. Use railings if needed.
7. Carry enough change of clothes.
8. Avoid visiting during the monsoon season as the trek gets dangerous and the temple might be closed if water reaches the cave premises.
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