Jawhar, located in the Sahayadri ranges 165 km from Mumbai, is popularly known as Mahabaleshwar of Thane. Pleasant climate and scenic beauty of Jawhar evokes comparisons with the popular hill station in Maharashtra.
Unlike other popular tourist destinations in the country, Jawhar also boasts of strong cultural ethos and history dating back to fourteenth century. Founded in 1306, the princely state of Jawhar was ruled by the Munke dynasty. Jawhar also served as camping point for Maratha king Shivaji and his army enroute to Surat. Jawhar was part of the Mumbai Presidency under the British.
Home to the Warli tribe, Jawhar is also home to Kolcha and Kukana tribes. The tribal communities of Jawhar have taken special efforts to preserve their culture and traditions. Jawhar is noted for the wall paintings of Warli tribals. Warli paintings revolve around the daily life of tribals and were drawn using white and red colours. However, with growing commercial popularity of the paintings, Warli painting use different colours and also depict new ideas.
To offer a peek into daily life of the tribals and help educate outsiders, tribals have started offering homestays for visitors.
In addition to its scenic beauty, Jawhar also boasts of several interesting places to see. Jai Vilas Palace, the residence of Munke rulers, Dabdaba falls, Bhopatgad fort and scenic places like Hanuman Point and Sunset Point are some of the must visit places in Jawhar. Dabhosa Falls is one of the biggest waterfalls in the state.
Jayabha Munke of the Munke dynasty founded Jawhar in 1306.
His son Dulbarrao expanded the kingdom and received recognition as ruler by Sultan Muhammad Shah II Tughlaq, He was given the recognition as Nimshah and the hereditary title of Raja. However, in order to marry his love, he converted to Islam.
After his death, his son wasn’t accepted as a successor on account of being a Muslim.
Nimshah’s younger brother was chosen as the new ruler. He ruled the state for a long time before falling out with the Marathas in 1742. This led to an uneasy political situation within Jawahar for almost a century due to constant battles.
Jawhar became a princely state under Bombay Presidency and later merged with Indian union.
- In Kelichapada, tribal women teach tourists how to cook with local forest produce.
The tiny village offers a lot of exciting shopping options. Warli paintings are extremely popular buys. Originally done on walls, the paintings are now sold on canvas, boards, etc. Bamboo vessels, handicrafts and articles made out of waste paper are other interesting things worth shopping in Jawhar.
Where to stay
There are limited accommodation options in Jawhar. There are no plush hotels. However, one can enjoy the traditional hospitality of the locals of Jawhar by opting for the home stay facility. Living with the tribal families allows one to get acquainted with the local culture.
One can also choose to stay in resorts offering mid-range accommodation.
Where to eat
There are no fancy restaurants in Jawhar. However one can savour delicious local cuisine of the tribal community living in Jawhar. There are community kitchens in Kelichapada.
One can also choose to have food from the restaurants attached to resorts.
Best time to visit
Jawhar can be visited any time of the year. However, during peak summer season it tends to get a little hot. Jawhar looks most beautiful during monsoons. September-April is the best time to visit the hamlet.
Photo credit: Vibhor