Where Sant Ramdas rests: Satara, Maharashtra
When one is in the state of Maharashtra a place worth visiting is Satara. The small town of Satara is an ideal place to visit for a tourist as it is easily accessible from major cities like Mumbai and Pune.
There are multiple options that one can avail of to reach Satara. The Satara railway station is located a good 6kms away from the town and one has the option of hiring an auto-rickshaw or taking a local ST bus to the town from the railway station.
The bus station is located in the heart of the city and hence most of the people who travel to Satara prefer this option. Many even prefer to drive to Satara from neighbouring places like Mumbai and Pune for the weekends.
Satara is a Maharashtran dominated town and this is very evident from the way of life of the people there. Marathi is the local language with just a handful of people speaking Hindi or English.
Accommodation in Satara is plenty to suit everyone’s budget. But the town is not open to backpackers and young single travellers. Accommodation is only given the families and married couples other travellers are treated very badly even in the worst of lodges.
The only place where a backpacker or a single traveller will find accommodation is a place called Sai Palace Lodge which is located 2kms downhill from the bus station.
Satara has plenty of street food to offer from vada-pav to fried fish they have it all. Vada- pav is sold at every nook and corner of this town and is really worth a try. There are also a few restaurants that serve pretty decent food. It is advisable to stick to a vegetarian diet while in Satara.
The main attraction in Satara is the Sajjangad fort. The word Sajjangad literally means the fort of good people. The fort was made by Bahamani Emperors in between (1347-1527). This fort is also the final resting place of Sant Ramdas, a social reformer in 17th century India.
This fort even today attracts a lot of pilgrims from all over the state. If one decides to visit this fort it is best advised to avoid weekends and public holidays since it attracts a lot of crowd and parking near the foot of the fort is a huge problem. The best way to reach Sajjangad is by a private transport since no ST buses play in that direction.
One has to climb about 500 steps to reach the entrance of the fort. There are a few locals selling lime juice and some other local drinks along the way to the fort. The first thing one will notice when they enter into the fort is a small pool of water; people staying in this fort used this water to wash their clothes.
The fort is huge and it will take one a good 4-5 hours to explore the whole thing. There is a palanquin service available at the fort for people who do not want to walk. Just after the pool one will pass through a place which has a few stalls selling both prayer and commercial goods.
After crossing this one will enter into a complex that houses all the Hindu priests and also where all the temples are located. This place is very crowded with people standing in huge lines to enter the temples. There is another massive open tank which has water that is green in colour.
Just as one passes the temple complex after walking for a couple of minutes one reaches a plateau which is easily the best place on the fort. This plateau is lush green during the monsoons and has a lot for cows which look a lot like the ones from Switzerland.
The plateau is majestic and gives one a superb view of the Satara Lake just above and is beautiful during the monsoon with the overcast conditions. There are also a few temples around the plateau.
The best time to visit Satara is during the monsoon from July to September if one does not mind getting drenched a bit as the overcast conditions make the town very picturesque. One can also visit this place from November to March when the weather is perfect. It is better to carry warm clothing while travelling there.
Satara is a good place to visit for families and married couples but a place to miss if one plans to backpack there.
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