At a distance of 65 km from Ratnagiri, Marleshwar Temple is a cave temple located at Maral village near Sangameshwar in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. Surrounded by the scenic Sahyadri mountain ranges, Sri Marleshwar Temple is one of the popular pilgrimage places in Ratnagiri.
Marleshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that the temple was built by Lord Parashuram. The shrine is most famous for the cobras which are believed to live here with the shivaling and till date have not harmed anyone. This has resulted in increasing faith in the place and every year thousands of devotees visit the place. This temple is known as ‘Trimbakeshwar’ of Konkan. Marleshwar name may have come from Maral village.
Dhareshwar waterfall is another tourist attraction of Marleshwar. The Dhareshwar waterfall is formed over the Bav River. Adventure lovers and trekkers will love this area. The waterfall sight is very beautiful from the cave but one can get the better view of the falls from Karambeli Doh, which is situated near the falls. One can see a saffron flag fluttering right on the tip of the opposite huge hill behind Dhareshwar falls. This flag houses another Shiva temple and villagers take processions to this place from Marleshwar on marked days of Diwali.
Makarsankranti and Mahashivratri are celebrated with great pomp here. On the day of Makarsankranti, the marriage of Marleshwar and Girijadevi takes place. Local villagers celebrate the marriage ceremony with great enthusiasm. Besides Mahashivratri, there is also a fair conducted on Tripuri Poornima.
This temple perched atop a hill and one has to climb some 400 steps to reach the summit. A visit to this temple along with family will be a gratifying experience although the climb may prove to be a bit difficult for children and elders. Monsoon is the best time to visit the temple, but the temple will be closed if the waterfall reaches the cave premises making it very difficult to approach the temple site. There are state transport buses from nearby major towns to Maral village.
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