Shree Kshetra Dervan
Dervan is a small village (which had remained totally backward for a long period) about 19 kms. from the town of Chiplun, Ratangiri District, Maharashtra State, Western India. To reach this place one has to come to Savarde, a village on Chiplun-Ratnagiri Road. From here, one has to turn to left and follow the path that leads to Durgawadi. After covering a distance of 3 kms, one comes to a place where every visitor feel as if he / she is being welcomed by the Mavlas (soldiers) of King Shivaji and then the visitor can be sure of the fact that he / she has reached Shree Kshetra Dervan and the magnificent Shiv Samarth Gad.
This village Dervan came on the world map as a historic and religious centre only after Shree Sadguru Digambardas Maharaj served there with all his might and built, Shiv Samarth Gad, Temple-shrines, schools, hospitals etc.
In Savarde village, a great Saint in Swami Samarth Sampradaya Shree Digambarbaba Wahalkar Maharaj took Mahasamadhi [the last conscious communion with God] on January 19, 1951. As per the instructions of his preceptor, Shree Baba Maharaj, Shree Digambardas Maharaj got built a shrine and a small temple of Lord Hanuman at the site where the last rites had been performed.
Later on, Shree Sant Seetarambua Walawalkar took Mahasamadhi on January 18, 1969. His last rites were performed on the piece of land newly purchased by Shree Sadguru Digambardas Maharaj for Shree Sitarambua, a trust known as "Shree Sant Seetarambua Walawalkar Charitable Trust" was formed on July 17, 1969.
After getting completed the memorial of Shree Sant Seetarambua, Shree Sadguru Digambardas Maharaj wanted the depiction of King Shivaji's valorous, chivalrous and virtuous deeds through a memorial which should kindle the fire of patriotism in the minds of visitors.
It was Shree Maharaja's conviction that the depiction of each memorable incident of this great personality King Shivaji in an exquisite form would serve the purpose of that flash of lighting that would fill the heart of every visitor with the light and fire of the supreme form of self honour.
Shree Maharaj also took the decision of raising a memorial in the honour of Shree Samartha Ramdas along with the memorial of King Shivaji's.
Ultimately, on May 05, 1981, on Shivjayanti Day, that Shiv Samarth Mandir was inaugurated after its completion. Afterwards the sculptors were busy creating the soldiers, the troopers and the hands of masons were busy erecting the fortification.
Thus, Shivshrushti had rather started assuming a concrete form. It was like erecting a monument upon the sacred land of Dervan which would be seen by the coming generations of Indians as the highest symbol which cherished feelings of self-respect and self-honor; that something which would inspire them to be virtuous and upright. It was a remote corner of India hidden from publicity of any type that was now witnessing the emergence of a true but artistic depiction of the glorious cultural past of our nation, that something to be proud of; that deserved to be cherished in the best possible way; that which left behind a tradition of highest order to be inherited by the coming generations for their upliftment and constant progress.
Every year the Shree Shivaraya birth anniversary celebrations are held in Shree Shiv Samarth Gad on "Falgun Vadya Trutiya"[third day of Falgun month after full moon]. Visitors from various corners of Maharashtra come here and take part in the celebrations. Till now innumerable eminent personalities, social workers, political leaders, religious leaders etc. have visited this place and have gained a feeling of being blessed.
When the visitor after observing the exterior of Shiv Samarth Gad crosses the main gate his / her eye catches the glimpse of Shree Sant Seetharambua Walwalkar temple-shrine. By its side can be seen Shree Swami Samarth Shree Ram Mandir. In the mandir (temple) you will find the idols of Shree Swami Samarth and Shree Sadguru Digambardas Maharaj on two sides (made of five metals like Gold, Silver, Copper, etc.) and the idols of Lord Rama, Mother Seeta, Lord Laxman and Lord Hanuman in between.
In front of Shree Ram Mandir, one finds a small Hanuman temple. Backside of this temple one finds the Lord Datta temple. Right behind this Lord Datta temple one finds three Audumber trees (Glorious fig trees). The note worthy about it is this that about 27 years ago, whenever Shree Sadguru Digambardas Maharaj would come here (it was open space in those days) he would sit at a particular place. After a few days there appeared three Audumber saplings which grew into trees. In 1995, it was under the shade of these trees that the Lord Datta temple was built.
Besides the architectural or structural importance of Shree Kshetra Dervan and its surroundings Shree Sadguru Digambardas Maharaj wanted them to be the centres of providing food, clothing, shelter etc. to the needy and downtrodden villagers. In view of this, the following schemes were undertaken :
- "Work for anyone who is ready to work", which will provide cash return for the work done. A number of construction works of public places like temples, post office, Talati office, police outpost, road building, water supply scheme etc. were undertaken.
- Free dispensary, cash assistance to surgeries, free distribution of notebooks, raincoats, scholarship to students, cash assistance to higher studies, supply of equipments to laboratories, assistance to building extension were undertaken.
- Provision of potable water to villages, cash assistance for construction of new wells arranged.
- Provision of free cattle, free supply of fodder, seeds undertaken.
- Supplying of rice, edible oil, sugar etc. at subsidized rates undertaken 4-5 times a year.
- Free distribution of clothes, blankets to the needy, free supply of Mangalore tiles for roofing purpose undertaken.
- A beautiful garden for the children was planned. This was completed afterwards and inaugurated on December 18, 1994 and named as Shree Swami Samarth Udyan'.