Sawantwadi is a taluka in the Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra. Sawantwadi has a municipal council, which is a local civic body. Sawantwadi was formerly the capital of the 'Kingdom of Sawantwadi' ruled by the Bhonsle royal clan of the Marathas.
Sawantwadi is well known for its wooden toys (including lifelike wooden models of fruits and vegetables) thanks to an active woodcraft industry. It is also becoming a major tourist attraction.
Till 1850 Sawantwadi was known as Sunderwadi (A beautiful locality). The name Sawantwadi came into the practice because of surname of this erstwhile state’s ruling family of Khem-sawants. The palace was earlier atop Narendra hill. Khemsawant III constructed the existing palace in late 18th century (1755-1803). The famous Moti-Talao (Talao-lake) built in front of the palace in 1874 has added to its beauty. Now the palace is a pride of Sawantwadi.
Sawantwadi was the former capital of the erstwhile Kingdom Of Sawantwadi during the pre-independence era. It was ruled by the Bhonsale royal clan of the Marathas. In 1947, it was merged with the Independent Republic of India The people were in a were confused with all the border issues on at that time in nearby areas of Belgaum and Karwar. There were initial plans of making it a union territory as it was a Konkani speaking area, However it was merged with Sindhudurg. Until the 18th Century the Kingdom of Sawantwadi included a major portion of today's North Goa district (Pedne, Bicholim, and Sattari), as well as the present day's Kudal and Vengurla from Sindhudurg district. Pedne, Bicholim, Sattari were later taken over by the Portuguese as a part of their New Conquest (between 1765 and 1788) and merged with their Old Conquest to form the present day's Goa.
The bulk of the people, the Marathas, Bhandaris, and Mahars were formerly known, both by land and sea, for their fierce cruelty. Even after the establishment of order under the British, Savantvadi has more than once been the scene of revolt and disturbance. But now, for nearly thirty-five years, peace has been unbroken and the old pirate and freebooting classes have settled down as quiet husbandmen. The only remaining signs of special enterprise and vigour were, until a few years ago, their readiness to cross the sea to Mauritius in search of work, and the fondness that still remains for military and police service.