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Wai

In the midst of nature

A popular temple town with a lot of mythical significance, Wai is an great getaway spot in Mumbai. Not only is it a great spot to enjoy some scenic beauty, it is a great stop-over to other destinations like Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. Home to more than 100 temples, it is rightly known as the ‘Dakshin Kashi’ of the state. That’s not all; in fact the beautiful locales of Wai has also attracted many film makers, who have shot their films in this region as well.

Situated 35 kilometres, north of Satara, Wai has nearly 100 temples that make it a great destination for history buff, architects and devotees. Most of the temple in this region follow the Hemadpanthi style of architecture, which is a technique that uses huge stone slabs without mortar. Further, these types of temple make use of stucco, lime-made sculptures and paintings. The most famous temple in Wai is the Dholya Ganapati Temple, also known as the Maha Ganapati Temple, which is present on the river Krishna on Ganapati Aali Ghat. Built by Ganpatrao Bhikaji Raste in 1762, it is extremely popular for design and impressive grandeur.

Wai is also called Viraatnagari, it is believed that the Pandavas resided with the King Viraat of  Wai when they had been exiled. In addition, it was also an important centre for business and commerce with traders heading towards the port of Konkan and cities of Satara and Narasimha. There are two temples at Dhomeshwar and  Narasimha, which witness a lot of crowds during religious occasions.

VIEW POINT

Take A Temple Tour

Spiritual getaway

Home to more than 100 temples, it is rightly known as the ‘Dakshin Kashi’ of the state. Some of the popular ones include the following:

1. Dholya Ganpati Mandir: Built by Raste {an important feudal family from the Maratha empire}in the 18th century, this temple is located near the Krishna River. In fact, Wai is the first holy place for Krishna worshippers.

2. Mandhardevi Kalubai: Situated on a hill 4,650 feet above sea level, this Mandhardevi temple overlooks the charming Purandar fort. According to devotees, this temple has many miraculous properties as well. Further, this temple was built during Shivaji’s rule and is said to be more than 400 years old.  

3. Kashi Vishweshwar Mandir: An ancient temple of Lord Shiva, the most unique element of this place is the fact that the nandi of the temple is made from the same stone as the idol of Mahaganapati. Don’t forget to check out the beautiful stone pendol in this temple.  

4. Krishna Ghat: A popular spot with many temples, where you can just sit back and unwind while soaking in the spirituality around you. There is also a large idol of Lord Ganesha on these ghats.

 

Visit Nana Phadnavis

An architectural gem

An influential minister and statesman of the Maratha Empire, Nana Phadnavis settled near the village of Wai and build a Wada {a mansion with inner courtyard}, a ghat leading to the river Krishna and two temples near the area. The architectural combination of a Wada-type residence, a Ghat on the water body and a typical Peshwa style temple were all created by him and is today Wai is one of the few places where such a combination is preserved.

Head to Dhom Dam

Scenic beauty at its best!

A truly scenic and pretty dam, the Dhom dam is situated on top of river Krishna. Visited by very few people, you can be assured of some quiet time in the midst of nature. The dam is surrounded by mountains, making this a truly exceptional sight. Further, many movies have also been shot here, making it a must visit, especially for all movie lovers.

Visit Pandavgad Fort

If walls could talk these fort have some stories to tell!

A famous medieval-era fort about 14 km from the resort, the Pandavgad Fort, 4100 feet above sea level, is a permanenet fixture in the skyline, visible all over the region from Wai and Panchgani to Mahabaleshwar. A major stronghold of the old Maharashtra rulers, Maratha kings and Peshwas dating as far back as the 11th century, the fort doubles up as an adventure spot, with the only possible approach being a challenging narrow trek. There are also some caves on one side of the hill, housing a shrine and a resting place.

activities

Go Trekking At Kamalgad Fort

Trek up the hill

Since Wai is located in a scenic location, trekking is a good way to discover the scenic beauty of this place. While there are many areas around the dam that you can explore, a good option would be the Kamalgad Fort which is surrounded by the dam on three sides and thick forests on the remaining side.

Nature Walk at Dhom Dam

Walk in the midst of nature!

The area near the Dhom dam is truly scenic and a nature walk is sure to add to your overall experience. With majestic views of the Sahyadri Range on one hand and the serene Krishna river on the other hand, this is your chance to experience some of the best elements of nature in a single trip.

Go Paragliding at Panchgani

Up in the air!

Surrounded by the Sahyadri range on all sides, Panchgani is known for its pristine and unadulterated beauty. This hill station, which used to be a summer resort under the British rule is perfect for paragliding because it offers breathtaking views of the mountains from above. It would be an understatement to say that once you are soaring high up in the sky, you can take some stunning photographs. No need to send your drone to do photography from the sky on this trip.

There are various camps and clubs ready to fulfil your dream of paragliding. They provide the basic training needed to fly a glider. Moreover, people who are not confident about flying alone can ask the guides to accompany them. Opt for any adventure activity depending on your comfort level. Since the climate here is mostly pleasant throughout the year, you can head to the hills for an adventure trip anytime.

how to get there

  1. By Air: The nearest airport is Pune, which is 2 hours away {88 kms}
  2. By Rail: The nearest railway station is Satara. It is located 40 kms away from Wai and you can easily get a cab which will take one hour.
  3. By Road: Take the Mumbai-Pune Express till Pune and then take the NH 4 till Surur. From here take the right turn and take the road between Wai and Mahabaleshwar. There are many private buses that ply from major cities of Maharashtra including Pune and Mumbai.

when to visit

Although you can visit Wai at any time, the best months to visit are between September and May. The monsoon season might make the view a bit cloudy, but visiting a hill station during this time has its own charm. 

Local cuisine

Maharashtrian Cuisine

Whether you fancy spicy or mild flavours there is something here for everyone

The Marathi cuisine is a combination of dishes that appeal to both mild and spicy palates like most other Indian states. Popular dishes include Pav Bhaji, Batata wada, Misal Pav and Puran Poli. The seafood as well is very popular with the Bombay Duck being a standout favorite of locals around the coastline.

Along the Western Ghats, sweets such as Chikki from Lonavala have also gained popularity around the country.

Local Shopping

Shopping in Wai

Head to Mahabaleshwar for more options!

Bargaining on shopping sprees is something which every Indian loves to do and for good reason. If you have the knack for bargaining a good deal for yourself then you should be prepared to do so in Mahabaleshwar. Start from the Town Bazar where you can find trinkets, leather goods, tribal pieces, slippers, beautifully carved walking sticks and local handicrafts. Buy all of them at one place, Pratapgad in case you don’t have the time to stop at different shops.

Shopping in Mahabaleshwar would be incomplete without buying the fresh produce of berries in the local market. Thanks to the fresh produce of fruits available in Mahabaleshwar, this place is a haven for lovers of jams, squashes, jellies and even marmalades. Want to watch the entire process of how these delectable jams and jellies are made? Do visit the Mapro Gardens which is en route Panchgani from Mahabaleshwar. There are licensed bee farms in Mahabaleshwar apart from the fruit farms which you can visit after you have sample enough jellies and marmalades.

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