A Tale of Two Religions unfolds at Karwar
India offers a fine example of how diversity, be it in language, culture or religion, can flourish peacefully despite odds stacked against it. It is not rare in this country to find people from diverse backgrounds co-existing harmoniously in the same locality for hundreds of years and at many places, one can even find well known landmarks of two different religions located in close proximity to each other.
About 6 kms from Karwar, atop a 200-feet high hill situated on the Northern banks of river Kali, is a 600-year old Durga temple. Right opposite to this temple lies a famous 17th century Dargah, built in memory of the famous Baghdadi saint, Peer Shan Shamsuddin Kharobat. This Dargah is renowned to be one of the most beautiful Dargahs situated along the coast of the nation and Muslims consider it to be an important pilgrimage centre.
In Sufi Islamic tradition, a Dargah refers to a shrine built over the grave of a revered religious figure. Dargahs often contain within them a mosque, meeting rooms, hostels, religious schools and residences for teachers. Thousands of Dargahs are present across India. While some believe that the blessings of the deceased saint can be invoked here to make wishes come true, others visit it to simply pay respect to an important personality of their religion.
Thousands of devotees offer prayers at the Dargah of Peer Shan Shamsuddin Kharobat. Meanwhile, the Durga temple too is an important pilgrimage site in Karwar. It is believed that Chatrapathi Shivaji had installed the idol of Shantadurga Devi inside its shrine. The temple is located near the Sadashivgad Fort. The Fort was constructed in 1698 by Raja Sonde and since then, has belonged to various rulers, namely Portuguese, Marathas and British at different points in time.
The Fort is partly in ruins today, owing to annihilation by General Mathews of East India Company in 1783. Nevertheless, one can savour a picturesque view from it. It offers to its visitors, a breathtaking view of the village and the confluence of Kali river with the Arabian sea. Tourists on a trip to Karwar can board local buses or hire taxis or private buses in order to reach this place.
Karwar is a beautiful beach town with a lot of historical significance. This beach town lies near the coast of Arabian Sea and is surrounded by the Western Ghats. A road trip through the greenery of the Ghats is breathtaking. During your trip to Karwar, don’t forget to make time to visit the Dargah of Peer Shan Shamsuddin Kharobat and the Sadashivgad Fort, for together, they mark an area of harmonious existence of two different cultures and religions, since time immemorial.