Chaul – The Portuguese Temple Town

Having heard this name numerous times, (a close friend’s native place) we happened to visit this adorning little town recently. Chaul is a small village on the Alibag-Revdanda route. It was a former Portuguese City and has played an important role in the anicent history and pre-maratha regime. Chaul is not a typical touristy spot but a peaceful little town with a lot of historic structures and old temples. Chaul (Also previously known as Cheul) is about 15 kms towards the south Alibag.

Korlai Fort is just 8 kms from Chaul and was built to overlook and defend their province by the Portuguese. We just drove out from Nagaon to Chaul and came across beautiful temples which must surely date ages back. We read that there are 365 temples in Chaul. One can visit one temple every day for a year. Stepped rectangular tanks in front of temples called Pokharan is a speciality of temples in Chaul.

IMG_2634.JPGThis ‘Pokharan’ is built in front of the temple and the tank is usually filled with water throughout the year. The symmetry and beautiful architectural layout of these ‘pokharan’ is stunning.

Rameshwar Temple, though renovated a number of times in one of the most ancient temple in Chaul. The pokharan in front of this Shiva temple is huge and aesthetic and is a perfect place for meditation. The area around the temple is very well maintained and one can spend some nice quiet time around the temple. One can take a stroll around the temple to drench in the history and character of the old village style homes.

The temple is vibrant and is believed to be built in the Hemadpant style of architecture. The mandir has three tanks parjanya kund, agni kund & vayu kund representing three vital elements of nature : rain, fire & air.

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IMG_2602.JPGIMG_2616.JPGThe little town of Chaul is alive with history and each little street seems to speak out stories it must have witnessed. We also came across a huge storage tank which dates back to Shivaji Era. IMG_2625.JPGThe water storage, treatment and planning of Shivaji era is a topic of study in itself. Chaul also has a few welcoming homestays where you can relax and spent some peaceful time. Away from the commercialised touristy spots of Alibag. Nagaon and Revdanda beaches are extremely close from Chaul so it can be a perfect destination for a history-loving beach person to spend a couple of days. Chaul streets are lively with villagers selling home-made food stuffs like pickles, papads, sarbat, honey and lots more which is grown and produced there.

It is refreshing to stumble upon such glorious towns with such intricate character. Time spent in Chaul was soothing and we would love to go there again.

P.S. India is a magnificent country. Please do not litter. Be a responsible traveller.

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