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Patit Pavan Mandir

Patit Pavan Mandir is located in the Ratnagiri District of Maharashtra. A port city located along the coast of the Arabian Sea, Ratnagiri District lies in the south western part of the state Maharashtra and is one of the six districts that lie under the Konkan region.  The small, peaceful district is watered by many rivers. The Sahyadri mountain range lies on the eastern border of this district. Another interesting feature of the locality is that there are two beaches on the two sides of the Ratnadurg fort, one of entirely white sand while the sand in the other beach is completely black.

As a result of being close to the sea and along the Sahyadri mountain range, Ratnagiri district gets very heavy rainfall. This heavy rainfall leads to a high erosion of the topsoil in the coastal area. However, fertile alluvial valleys are littered along the region that entertains various forms of agriculture. Some of the commonly grown produce here includes rice, coconuts, cashew nuts and fruits. The “Hapus” or Alphonso mangoes grown in this region are particularly well known across the country and beyond. Apart from agriculture, fishing is the other important industry.

Many important figures of the nation have taken birth in this area. Among many, perhaps the most well known and well remembered is the nationalist “Lokmanya” Bal Gangadhar Tilak, an important leader for the freedom struggle of India against the British. Other illustrious Indians born here were “Maharshi” Dhondo Keshav Karve, who received the esteemed Bharat Ratna award for his efforts in the field of social reforms and eduction and Wrangler Raghunath Purushottam Paranjpe, an educationist and mathematician.

About the Temple

The Patit Pavan Mandir was founded by Tatyarao Savarkar, a freedom fighter better known by the name Swatantrya Veer Vinayak Damodar. Having undergone over thirteen years of rigorous imprisonment, during which period he was kept in the Andaman cellular jail for his patriotism, he was finally released in 1924 by the British Government. However, his release was conditional and he was interned within the Ratnagiri District under political restraints. During his stay in this district, he fuelled a social revolution, bringing about many change in the society.

Tatyarao Savarkar was staunchly against the belief of untouchability harboured by practitioners of the Hindu religion. He believed that no one is ascribed a caste by birth – whether that be high or low in status. In keeping with these beliefs, he undertook many steps to eradicate the practices of untouchability, trying to instil a belief in equality of right and status among all Hindus instead. He was completely against identifying a strata of society as ‘Patit’ or fallen by birth.

To combat the strong frame of belief and practices that governed untouchability in the Hindu religion, he chose to build a temple as a medium for his social movement. With the help of a generous businessman, Shriman Bhagoji Sheth Keer, Sarvar managed to erect this temple in 1931.

The temple allowed an open and equal access to all members of the Hindu community. Devotees belonging to any caste or sub caste had the unrestricted right to enter into the very heart, the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and pay his respects to the idols of Laxmi and Narayana that reside there. To signify this, all inclusive nature of the temple, Tatyarao Sarvarkar named the temple ‘Patit Pavan’ or the “purifier of the fallen” instead of naming it by the names of the idols housed within. Patit Pavan Mandir is known as the National Pilgrim Centre of Social Equality for this unique inclusivity – the first of its kind known for these objectives.

Ganesh Festival

The Ganesh festival that is held in this temple was started as an initiative for public education by “Lokmanya” Bal Gangadhar Tilak. A popular festival in these areas, the Ganeshotsav was taken up by Sarvarkar in the Patit Pavan Mandir premises, even as the temple was being built. Tatyarao Sarvarkar named the festival “Akhil Hindu Ganeshotsav”, meaning pan Hindu Ganesh festival, laying emphasis on the all inclusive nature of the event. The activity was conducted from the very beginning with a clear view to eradicate the evils of the Hindu community – specifically untouchability – and to ensure interaction between all classes of the Hindu religion. The idea behind this celebration was to rebuild a homogenous Hindu community.

For the first seven years, from 1930 to 1937, this activity was carried out by Tatyarao Sarvakar himself through organised processions, fairs, specific ceremonies for Hindu women of all backgrounds, various entertainment programmes as well as lectures and speeches. Leaders from all over India visited the temple during this festival and applauded Veer Sarvarkar’s efforts to bring together the Hindu community as one. The organisation of this event was a revolutionary activity.

This Ganesh festival was initially conducted in the Bhadrapad month that begins approximately around the 20th of August and lasts till the 20th of September. In 1955, however, a decision was taken to shift the celebration to the auspicious date of Ganesh Jayanti, which falls on the month of Magh, which occurs approximately halfway through February and lasts until mid March. To this day, the Ganesh festival continues to be celebrated in the temple with great fervour.

How to Get There

The Konkan Railway circuit is one of the best and most picturesque railway tracks laid in India. It features on various lists of essential things to see in India. An engineering masterpiece with many intricate tunnels and long bridges, the Konkan Railway is laid along some extraordinarily beautiful landscapes. Ratnagiri can be reached by train from Mumbai in a journey of about six to seven hours, and is about halfway down toe Mumbai to Goa route.

Bus journeys are an equally comfortable option. Numerous private busses ply between Mumbai and Ratnagiri, leaving at around 7:00 in the evening and reaching by six the next morning.

Best Time to Travel

Patit Pavan Mandir is at its festive best during the annual Ganesh festival that happens in the months of February/March. However, don’t miss the beautiful monsoons in the Konkan region. Taking a morning train and travelling through this region is one of the best experiences that one should not miss!

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