Sawantwadi Palace is indeed one of the prominent tourist destinations in the Konkan Belt of India on the West Coast of India. The palace does come with historical background and magnificent history. Let us explore the tourist attraction in finer detail and get us accustomed to this little-known town.
History of Sawantwadi City
Sawantwadi was known by the name Sunderwadi in the ancient days. However, the city belongs to the earliest rulers of Maratha origin who were called KhemSawants. The city came to be known as Sawantwadi after it became the capital city of the kingdom ruled by the KhemSawants.
The Sawantwadi Kingdom included parts of North Goa and Sindhudurg. The city and the kingdom were ruled by the clan of the Marathas known as Bhonsales. After the entry of Portuguese, the parts of Goa were handed over to them. Sawantwadi alone remained under the reigns of Bhonsales.
Today, part of Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra state, Sawant wadi is well known for the Sawantwadi palace, Moti Talao and a host of tourist destinations. Of all the attractions that you would come across at Sawantwadi, the Sawantwadi Palace comes across as one of the best you can visit in the tiny beautiful village.
The History of Sawantwadi Palace
The Royal Palace of Sawantwadi or the Sawantwadi Palace is an excellent option if you are in Sawantwadi or around the place. Locally known as Sawantwadi Rajwada, the palace was built on the top of Narendra Hills. The palace derives its name from the erstwhile rulers of the region, the KhemSawants.
History has it that the palace was built during around 1755 to 1803. Later on, Khem Sawant III constructed the palace on the ground near the hills. The entry to the palace which is referred to as the Lester Gate was constructed in 1895.
The palace is built with laterite stones and consists of the residential places, a durbar hall and an administrative hall for the then bureaucrats. The brown colored walls built from the bricks will definitely take you back into the historic days. The ethnic touch of the architecture is clearly visible in every corner of the palace. The rooms are carved in an extremely magnificent manner and provide you a glimpse into the history books.
The Moti Talao in front of the palace was built in 1874. It, in fact, adds up value to the already magnificent view that the palace offers you. Needless to say, the Sawantwadi palace along with the Moti Talaohas become the pride of the city of Sawantwadi.
Sawantwadi Palace Queen
The Sawantwadi palace still belongs to the royal family or the descendants of the royal family. The queen Rajamata Satvashiladevi was still living here with her family members till recently. She breathed her last in July 2018 after a prolonged illness. She was the wife of the last king of Sawantwadi Late Shivramraje Bhosle.
However, it should be noted that she used to interact with the visitors to the palace and share a few anecdotes about the days gone by. She was involved with the development and sustenance of the local arts and artifacts. She had taken a personal interest in the support for the local arts and artisans.
Sawantwadi is known for a host of local artwork. Woodwork, Ganjifa art, and lacer work are a few of the arts that have always received a helping hand and royal support right from the beginning. These arts and crafts date back to the 18th century and still have been one of the major attractions for the visiting tourists in Sawantwadi and surrounding areas.
The royal family in general and the queen of Sawantwadi, in particular, has always been supportive of these artisans. The queen used to conduct regular training sessions and workshops for the new generation of artisans who want to learn tricks of the trade. The queen Satvashiladevi has been involved in interacting with developing the Ganjifa arts from the artists from Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala and other areas with a view to bringing in a variety in the traditional designs of the Ganjifa.
Sawantwadi Palace Museum
The old palace or the Rajwada has now been made into the museum for the exhibition of old antique items, photographs of the days gone by and the handicrafts from the region. You will definitely fall in love with the arts and crafts developed here. The walls are blessed with the old photographs that make you walk through the grandeur of the historical olden days.
It is the home for the antique lacquerware goods. Of course, everything you watch here would be completely traditional and handmade. The skill and expertise of the artists are evident from the set of the furniture, chess, and board games and dolls are a few examples of an exciting array of the traditional artifacts available here. Yet another important aspect you will love would be the Chitkaris that adorn the walls. The Chitkaris include the paintings, wooden and clay items, and jewelry. These were patronized and groomed by the Sawantwadi Royal family right from the beginning.
A part of the palace has been made accessible to the public as a museum, while most of its part is held by the Royal Family as its residential complex. The museum is managed by the 3-4 of the descendants of the Chitkaris and other artists.
Well, that was what you could enjoy in Sawantwadi and at the Sawantwadi Palace. If the information shared here has turned you interested enough and you are planning an itinerary to the place – here is the important information that may be useful.
Visiting Time – 9.30 am to 12.30 pm & 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm
Best Time to visit – All Year Long
How to reach Sawantwadi Palace?
Nearest railway Station – Sawantwadi Road Station @ 20 km distance
Nearest airport – Goa International Airport, Dabolim – Goa @ 135 km distance
Nearest Bus stand – Sawantwadi Bus stand – Walkable distance.
The Sawantwadi Palace or the Sawantwadi Rajwada has been able to gain an important place in the tourist itinerary of anyone visiting the west coast of India. The construction and ambiance of the palace is an excellent option for revisiting the history of India in general and Malvan in particular.
Visit the palace once, and you will never forget the experience ever!