There are numerous temples in the Konkan region. But a major portion of these temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva. From mountain tops, to sea shores, you will find Shiv temples, where the deity resides in the form of a Ling (as seen in the image). In many of these temples, the Ling has appeared naturally. There are many legends and folklores related to these places. But, the fundamental truth about all these places is that, most of them are very ancient. The true age of these ancient temples can only be revealed by a scientist; or else, we will have to settle down for the only information we get from local legends and folklores.
One such Shivalaya (Shiva Temple) is located at a place called Tamastirtha in Ladghar in Dapoli taluka. Technically, this Shivalaya is within the borders of the neighboring village called Karajgaav; but the seashore of Ladghar is right beside the temple, hence it is popularly known as ‘Ladgharcha Veleshwar Mandir’ (Laadghar’s Veleshwar temple). In the first look itself, one realizes that this temple is very ancient. The foundation of the temple is almost as tall as a full grown man. The construction is vast and sturdy as it is made out of black stone. From the steps to the dome, the temple is extremely beautiful. Many villagers say that the temple belongs to the era of the Pandavas.
Folklore says that, the ground where the temple stands today, used to be an open space with tall grass growing all over it. A herdsman used to bring his cattle to graze here. He saw that a cow used to join his herd from another way. He observed the behavior of this cow for a couple of days and one day he decided to follow her. He found that the cow would go amidst the tall grass and there she would bathe a Shivalinga with her milk and then strangely she would disappear behind the rocks at the seashore of Laadghar. He later confronted other herdsman staying there, saying “your cow loses her way and comes with my heard to graze; hence you should pay me for it”. On hearing his complaints, the other herdsman poured a portion of rice flakes in the complaining herdsman’s blanket as a compensation for his troubles. The complaining herdsman did not find this payment fair enough so he threw the rice flakes on the sea shore while returning home. After returning home, he was shocked when he saw that the few rice flakes that had stuck to his blanket had turned into gold. But not only he loose the gold he could have had in his blanket, but the mysterious cow stopped coming from her lost way. This folklore has been told here since ages. It is also said that, small kids who suffer from Vela (a disease where hands and legs grow so thin that they bend, the stomach swells and the body becomes extremely thin) are brought here and when they drink the Tirth (holy water) of the temple, they become healthy again; hence the name Veleshwar (god who cure vela).
In 1885 the temple received charter from the Peshwas. This charter is eternal; the record of this charter can be found in the court of the executive magistrate. Many such historic ties are related to this temple. Ancient temples like these are not just tourist spots in Konkan region, but they are Konkan’s ancient treasure and this treasure must be preserved and cherished.