Konkan is born rich when it comes to natural beauty. It is born rich with lack of nothing as we know it. Its natural treasures are filled with many rivers, oceans, flora, fauna, mountains, streams, forests and much more. The moment you enter these serenity of its nature, your mind will no longer be troubled by the stress of daily routine. Here the mind rejuvenates and becomes equipped to deal with the weight of your problems. With an understanding of these facts, the old temples were always built away from human dwellings, up in the mountains or at the banks of rivers and oceans. But, at Murud, the ancient Temple of Goddess Durga is situated right in the middle of the village, built right among the human residences.
During the 14th – 15th century, a seer came from Saurashtra (Vishalnagar). He established a settlement which comprised of people from all castes and sects. The village was formed by intellectuals and hardworking classes. The village flourished as the villagers lived in harmony. During this era of prosperity, there rised a need for a religious place and hence the Durga Devi mandir was built during this very era.
During this era, the village ran on the principles of mutual coordination and self-sufficiency. Regulation of social and religious aspects was done from this temple of Goddess Durga. Even today, if we look at the idol of the deity during Chaitra Shudha Pratipada festival, it seems quite evident as to how the values of social welfare are deep rooted in it. By means of this festival, arrangements are made to present to all races and tribes with equal tasks, tokens of honor and the oblations are then distributed among all of them. Even the festive celebrations of Navratri (nine days celebrated worshiping many forms of the goddess), in the month of Ashwin (hindu calendar) are inclusive of all races and tribes.
When this human settlement was founded, the temple had a very simple structure. The people staying there were farmers and Vedic educators, but as they were rustic, the temple’s prosperity had deemed. But as time passed by, many residents of Murud, who travelled far and came back, brought with them many new ideas and vigor. They decided to renovate the temple and thus few wise men of the village namely Shankarbhat Dixit, Vishwanath Joshi, Appabhat Datar, Keshavmath Karve and Naaro Hari Baal started working towards it. The architecture of the temple was planned on a larger scale. Many skillful artists and instruments were summoned from other regions. The construction of the temple continued for 3 years which ended in 1763. This is the same Durga Devi temple that we see today.
There is no other temple in this region that can compare with the beauty of the Durga temple. The structure of this temple stands on a strong foundation of black stone, the height of an average human. After climbing the stairs of this foundation, comes a big courtroom styles hall of the temple which is open from all the sides. The middle of the temple floor is fitted with a tile decorated in golden work. The pillars of the hall are adorned with beautiful carving of flowers and creeper patterns. After a soothing experience of hall’s beauty, the eight handed idol of the deity in the inner temple never fails to grab your attention. One cannot deny that there is a certain divine energy emitting from the idol. On the left and the right side of the inner temple, there are two pillars (2 on both sides each) which are bigger in size than the ones in the hall. These 4 pillars are decorated with beautiful carvings of Dashavtars (10 forms of Lord Vishnu), other gods, parrots, elephants, lions, tigers, reptiles and other animals. On the outer side of the hall, stands a huge bell with the latin words ‘omnes gentes laudate dominum’ written on it, which translates to ‘everyone should praise the lord’. There is no proof of how the bell came to this temple, except for some folklore. Outside the temple is another big temple dedicated to lord Ram, built by late Dr. Ramchandra Shreedhar Gaanu. There is a Nagaarkhana (place to play instruments) after the temple, which is closed now. Just under the Nagaarkhana, is a small platform made of black stone on which stands a huge black stone Tripur Deepmaal (huge structure lighting Diyas) along with a Tulsi Vrindavan.
As the seashore of Murud is nearby, many tourists visit this temple, because this temple is not just a temple but a living proof of history.