Latur, a city in the heart of Maharashtra, is a treasure trove of history, culture, and architecture. From magnificent temples to ancient caves and bustling markets, there are countless attractions to explore in this hidden gem. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the top places to explore in Latur, making your visit to this city an unforgettable experience.
1. Ganj Golai Market
Ganj Golai is a marketplace that’s an architectural wonder at the heart of Latur city. The market place is a roundabout where nearly 15 streets converge to a focal point which is a two-storied structure which is the Temple of Devi Jagdamba. Ganj Golai was designed by a city planner named Faiyajuddin and was constructed in the year 1917.
Shopping at Ganj Golai
The various small stores dot the streets converging to the center. These shops offer a wide range of products, from gold to footwear. This commercial extravaganza can be accessed from any part of the city, making it the perfect spot for shopping enthusiasts.
2. Nana Nani Park
Nana Nani Park, also known as Vilasrao Deshmukh Park, is a favorite relaxing place in Latur. The park is known to be a great place to spend quality time with family, friends, and children.
Features of Nana Nani Park
The park is spacious enough and has a place for community meetings and an open theatre. It is famous for its pleasant and quiet atmosphere. Nana Nani Park is located near the Municipal Office and is open for visitors from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
3. Siddheshwar Ratneshwar Mandir
Siddheshwar Ratneshwar Temple is a 12th-century temple dedicated to Lord Siddharameshwar of Solapur. It was constructed by King Tamradwaj, who was a devotee of Siddharameshwar. The temple was a mark of the evolution of the Shaivism sect.
Significance of Siddheshwar Ratneshwar Mandir
Lord Siddharameshwara was one of the most prominent prophets and a spiritual leader of the sect. He was also a poet and wrote verses in Kannada. Lord Siddharameshwar was known for being a part of Basavanna’s Veerashaiva revolution.
The temple features intricate carvings of mythological creatures and characters, making it a marvel to the eyes. Siddheshwar & Ratneshwar Temple is located 2 kms from the city of Latur. The temple sees an immense number of devotees every year during Mahashivratri when a fair is organized. Devotees from all around Latur gather to be a part of the celebration.
Siddheshwar & Ratneshwar Temple opens at 5:30 AM and closes down at 8:00 PM after the evening aarti.
4. Shri Ashtavinayak Mandir
Shri Ashtavinayak Mandir is known for its beautiful structure built in south Indian style. The temple has gardens on either side with an artificial fountain, which makes it even more attractive.
Highlights of Shri Ashtavinayak Mandir
The garden is blessed with a standing statue of Lord Shiva, nearly 9 feet tall. The main chamber has eight different idols of the forms of Lord Ganesha in the walls, and a 4 feet tall Ganesha idol carved out of marble stone.
5. Shri Virat Hanuman Mandir
Shri Virat Hanuman Mandir is located on Ausa Road in Parivar Housing Society of Latur. The temple is well-known for the tall statue of Lord Hanuman over the actual temple and the serene environment of the garden surrounding it.
Unique Features of Shri Virat Hanuman Mandir
The complete structure comprises a lower base over which the temple with a small idol of Hanuman is constructed, and an upper base above the temple which is a platform for the 25 feet tall Hanuman idol. An artificial stream of water falls from the frontal edge of the upper base into a pool below and creates a fantastic curtain of water in front of the main temple.
6. Surat Shawali Dargah
Surat Shawali Dargah is the tomb of Saint Saifulla Shaha Sardari. The Dargah was constructed in 1939 and is located in Patel Chowk, Ram Galli. It is attached to the Chintamani Parshwanath Digambar Jain Temple.
Cultural Significance of Surat Shawali Dargah
A five-day fair is held during June/July, during which the Hindu community of Latur offers a blanket of flowers and a green flag to the Dargah through Shri Siddheshwar Mandir. The Muslim community also offers flowers and a saffron flag to the Temple during the Shri Siddheshwar Temple fair. Both the communities of Latur show an example of unity despite the differences.
7. Udgir Fort
Udgir Fort is a 12th-century fort famous for the treaty of Udgir, which was a result of the battle between the Marathas, led by Sadashivrao and the Nizams.
Historical Importance of Udgir Fort
The fort is named after Rishi Udaygiri Maharaj, whose Samadhi rests 60 feet under the ground level of the same fort. The fort is designed in a quadrilateral form with several hall spaces. The surrounding hills have ruins of observation points built of white clay for military purposes. The fort is surrounded by trenches as deep as 40 feet to avoid intrusion. Some parts of the fort have Arabic and Persian inscriptions. The fort is supposed to have underground tunnels that connect to the Bidar and Bhalki forts in Karnataka.
8. Ausa Fort
Ausa fort in Latur district is a fort that has a blurred history of itself. Ausa Fort’s prominence came to light during the fights between the Deccan Sultanates after the Bahamani Era.
Features of Ausa Fort
The Fort had been named 13 different names, but the name Ausa was the last one that it is now known by. The fort is located in a depressed ground level, and the highest point of the fort looks over the surrounding higher ground level. The design seems to have been useful to watch out for incoming armies from a greater distance while keeping most of the fort hidden.
9. Kharosa Caves
The Kharosa caves are a cluster of 12 caves located in the village of Kharosa, at a distance of 45 kms from the city of Latur.
Significance of Kharosa Caves
The caves of Kharosa welcome visitors with the sculpture of Yaksha, which in turn is very popular. The caves depict mythological stories in the form of carvings. Each of these caves has a Shivling in them along with intricate sculptures of various other deities.
Some of the famous sculptures include a seated image of a Jain Tirthankara, a beautiful painting of Buddha, and a detailed picture of Lord Dutta. The caves date back to the 6th century, and the Sita Nhani (Sita’s Bathroom) points towards the indications that Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita might have stayed in these caves during their exile.
The Kharosa Caves are well known for the Shiva-Parvati and Vishnu Idols along with the sculptures of them, including that of Kartikeya, Narasimha, and Ravana.
In conclusion, Latur is a city full of historical, cultural, and architectural wonders that offer visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. The top places to explore in Latur, as mentioned in this guide, will ensure that your visit to this charming city leaves you with memories that last a lifetime.