While my bike underwent basic maintenance, I wandered in by-lanes of Ratnagiri. Apart from finger licking street food. Two places were of great interest.
Thibaw, King of Burma (now Myanmar) was a unique personality. His educational achievement was marked with the Padhamarakyaw – a highest degree in Pali. Thibaw was the only king to achieve this degree in the entire Myanmar history. He had a great respect and love for Buddhist religion and monks. But his love for religion was not blind. He welcomed reforms. He invited suggestions from his courtiers and citizens for reforming religion and administration. Thibaw indeed loved his subjects. Publishing law books, creating a code of conduct for his officers and townheads are some of the examples of his orientation towards welfare. He spent considerable royal money for freeing slaves and for their rehabilitation. Such a steady progress of Myanmar in the reign of Thibaw was eclipsed by British machinations as the Britishers found Thibaw a major obstacle in their profitable trade. The warring British defeated Thibaw and captured him on 28th November 1885.
Apprehensive of a possible revolt from loyal followers of Thibaw, the British took him along with his family first to Madras and then to Ratnagiri. At first he was provided an accommodation in the rental bungalow. But as the space was inadequate the site for palace was selected by Thibhaw’s choice, south of Kolhapur road in Ratnagiri. This site was further approved by British Government
Rs. 1,25,000/- was allocated for construction of the palace. During the same period Thibaw also constructed a Buddha temple in Ratnagiri for religious purposes. The construction work of the palace began in 1906. Thibaw took a great interest in planning and executing the construction. Thibaw visited the site almost daily to supervise the work, to which the British did not object. Thus, planning and construction of this palace took place entirely according to Thibaw’s ideas and under his personal supervision. This palace was built with laterite stone in lime mortar and teakwood, an influence of Burmese architecture clearly visible till date. Thibaw inhabited this palace in 1910. His wife Su Paya Gale and Thibaw took their last breath in the same palace on 25th January, 1912 and 16th December, 1916 respectively. Their tombs are situated at Shivajinagar, Ratnagiri. (Source: Write up in the Palace)
Thibaw palace is now a State Protected Monument of Maharashtra. In poor state with litter in entire campus, this palace is undergoing restoration.