1500 steps to a breathtaking view: Chaul, Maharashtra
The quiet and peaceful village of Chaul is located about 3.7 km north, from the village of Revdanda. The most economical way of getting to Chaul is by hopping into one of the many six seater Tuk-tuks. These Tuk-tuks can be boarded from the main junction in Revdanda.
A Tuk-tuk ride from Revdanda to Chaul village takes not more than fifteen minutes and all along the way the view on either side of the road is simply stunning. On one side are the never ending paddy fields and on the other side are the beautiful Konkan houses and jac kfruit trees.
At first view the village of Chaul looks like noting more than a regular village along the Konkan coast with a very similar look and feel about the place. But this village houses the famous Datta Mandir. Chaul was also one of the many villages that were under the Portuguese rule. Most of the houses in this village are over a hundred years old.
A unique feature about all the houses in this village is that they are built on a brick platform, which doubles up as a veranda or courtyard. The main reason for this construction is to avoid flooding during the monsoons. The houses are lined along the slope of a hill.
Since the temple of Lord Datta is located on the top of the hill in this village, the village of Chaul is frequently visited by many devotees and worshipers all through the year. Lord Datta is mainly worshipped by the people from Maharashtra. The temple is located on top of a hill inside the village of Chaul and the only way to reach this temple is to climb the 1500 concrete steps from the foot of the village to the top of the hill.
The climb to the temple takes not more than 30-40 minutes for a moderately fit person. The climb is relatively made easy with construction of broad steps and trees on either side that proved plenty of respite from the blazing heat of the sun.
At the start of the climb there are a few ladies selling prayer offerings in the form of flowers and coconuts. Along the climb there are a couple of water filters and benches for devotees to take some rest.
Once on top of the hill, the view from the temple complex is simply breath taking. From the temple it is possible to see the entire region around Revdanda. Locals claim that this temple to Lord Datta or Dattatreya, the encompassing of the trinity of Hinduism was build during the rule of Maratha King Shivaji Maharaj with the main motive of keeping an eye on the enemy.
To celebrate the birth of Lord Datta there is a huge five day celebration in the village of Chaul that commences on the birthday. The festival is celebrated with great pomp, with schools remaining shut for the duration of the festival.
The birthday of Lord Datta is generally celebrated towards the end of October or during the first week of November and during this period, devotees from all over the state of Mahrashtra and its surrounding area flock to Chaul for the celebration.
The village of Chaul provides very basic food and accommodation to the people who visit. The accommodation is in the form of a couple of Dharamshalas or rest houses which are ideally meant for pilgrims and a few home stays which provide very basic facilities. The food available is typically Maharashtrian and only vegetarian.
Chaul village is a must visit place for all the devotees of Lord Datta. It is also a good village for tourists to visit while spending their time in Revdanda.