Monthly Archives: May 2009


Mumbai to Ratnagiri/Ganpatipule 8

Ganpatipule beach is basically named on Lord Ganesha. There is a Lord Ganesha’s marvellous temple on the beach and in rainy season, sea waves use to come till temple dwar. One can’t describe its magnificent view in words. Its a svayambhu (self-originated idol) Lord Ganesha idol, means no-one made the statue, but it is self-originated. It is one of the ‘Ashta Ganapatis’ (eight Ganpatis) of India and is known as ‘Paschim Dwar Dewata’ (Western Sentinel God). It’s a belief that whatever you wish here in this temple, it will get fulfil.

This place is really awesome. If somehow I would become the Tourism Minister, I will definitely put a proposal that “if any tourist comes here, and if s/he will not find the trip worth, the money will be back”… :). Whatever you want, peace, neat and clean beaches, temples, good market, helpful people, scenic highways, good roads… everything which comes under the radar of your brain, when you plan to go out somewhere, you will get it. This is a place where when I came first, I thought to buy some house to stay my old age there. I had been to this place twice, once, only and especially to Ganpatipule with AT, RN and SP. Another trip was not specific to Ganpatipule, but we (me, SP and RK) explored Ratnagiri as much as we were able to, within the given time. Second time we had great advantage of being SK with us who is working and residing there.

So I am here describing my two trips to Ratnagiri.

Ganpatipule Temple…

Phase I — Specific to Ganpatipule with AT, RN & SP.

There was a public holiday and we took one day leave in continuation with Saturday & Sunday and the boys were ready with their bags. But before that, RN told us acc to his previous experience that if we are going to Ganpatipule, there is no other place as good as MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) to stay. As a matter of fact, in all Maharashtra coastal regions, taking MTDC resorts is always the best option. MTDC has its all resorts just on the beach.

You need to get up from your room, take a small walk of 20-30 steps and you can wash your face from the sea water if you think you are a superhero and salty water will not have any affect on your eyes. So we booked a tent house of 4 in MTDC resort. Now the pending thing was travelling etc. After our great analysers ruled out the road journey, we planned to take the train option. Jan-Shatabdi express is train from Mumbai and Goa, everyday and it stops at Ratnagiri station. Travelling in this train itself is an experience. It has AC chair class option and no doubt this train is full with all the non-social kind of elements like us who goes to Goa on and of.
Stylish hairs, colorful clothes, some with their guitar etc, making pranks, throwing jokes and happy-go-luck-persons kind of creatures. Though, some of the elite class families were also there, with some ‘Phoren’ friends but there was no time to take care of all them!!! When you have destination like Goa, you already filled with some kind of nostalgia and dramatic feeling and already your level of energy booms like anything. There is no doubt that train is always the best option for Mumbai to the places like Ratnagiri and Goa. It roughly takes 5 hours to Ratnagiri and 7 hours to Goa. The route is one of the most beautiful and scenic route in India with river crossings, green fields, tunnels etc.

So we had MTDC resort booked and train ticket booked in hands and we were ready. AT came to Mumbai at night itself and we were at the Panvel station with our bags at 6:00 AM in the morning. At 6:30 AM, train arrived and the journey started. As described earlier, there were various kinds of people inside, hip-hoppers, rockers, decent couples etc. After sometime of settling down, we had our photo sessions etc while standing on the gate etc. Had seen many guys requesting to TT to let them be on the train, their tickets were not confirmed and some with other issues. I doubt if we had that kind of respect anytime in our eyes for our teachers, school principals, college lecturers etc which some people were showing to that TT. The voices were so smooth and honey dew like TT has to provide them a million dollar loan amount. If there would be a bucket, one could have collected some kilos of honey which was dribbling from their voices. We guys are like that…if we meet some person who is their for any kind of audit purpose, like policemen, TT, our personality suddenly change with in a friction of seconds. From juvenile, we immediately turn very social creatures who know that we are at fault but excuse we provide is always bigger than that.

We reached Ratnagiri at around 11:30 or so and one of our friend’s driver was waiting for us. SK, our friend, who had his job there, had done arrangement for rest of our way from Ratnagiri to Ganpatipule, a distance of around 50 km. We first had our lunch at his home, and then pushed of. He also gave us the company for that day. So finally we were at Ganpatipule MTDC resort, just opposite to the beach. The first thinking was a big ‘wow’ from me and AT side. RN had been there once so there was nothing for him to say, SP, as always was in his own world of laptop, some office work, analysing something that he also didn’t knew, looking at the tent house if that was in ‘good’ condition or not etc. etc.

The stretch…

The beach was neat and clean, well maintained, with white sand and green water. SK gave us company till evening and then he pushed of to his home, Ratnagiri. We all enjoyed our time of 4 days and 3 nights there. While SP was getting lost in his own world ‘at times’ (and recurrence of his this kind of ‘space for himself’ is too high), me, AT and RN at all the nights were getting into the mode of ‘I love you guys’ and ‘I love the world’. Routine was predefined. Getting up at 11:00 AM or 12:00 noon types, have something, go onto the beach, play rugby kind of thing (still don’t know what name should get assign to that play) with our sleepers, get back into tent house by 3:00 PM, have something which we named as ‘lunch’, but waiters were also sceptical about our orders, as according to SP, he never had in a mood to have lunch, AT always had some list of menu in his mind which he never solved what he really need, me, as always had a doctor inside me who suggest why ‘not’ to eat this thing or that thing at that time, and among all of us, RN was the coolest personality who always go with the wind and never say no to anything. Whatever friends decide, he goes with that. His theory I guess is not to get into arguments with fools and always do agree with them as that saves a lot of time and energy. Intelligent creature!!!

MTDC resort and view from there…

Evening time was again a kind of game time for all of us (the kind of games which are still searching for their existence in the dictionary…like playing rugby kind of thing with sleepers, pretending like we were in warfare and fighting with waves, drawing competition etc…). And sometime, SP set himself far away from the water, fixed himself on sand, thinking as he was the loneliest creature of his own kind in the world and asking to God that why either all the good or all the bad things happening to him only. His silent mode sometimes throws very powerful ultrasonic waves. Apart from his silent mode, the best thing is you never knew when again the bulb turns up and throw some enchanting light using the mode of smile. Yes, apart from exploring this ‘sage’ side of SP, we did many other things like bonfire on the beach at 3:00 in the night. Actually that got organized by some two other guys, with which we became ‘janam-janam ke saathi’ after we came to know that they have organized such a thing. Those guys were also finding the reason why they were at the beach and we gave them…to enjoy!! We gel along them and after some time, those two kind hearted people pushed off and we again were our own, AT — ‘I don’t know what to do’ theme guy, SP — the lost sage, RN — the ‘no problem’ bike imported from a south India coast and me — a multi personality disorder. We had dance, photo session, some weird games in the sand like donkeys, also had some sleep etc kind of activities there, till the guard came and told us that staying late night on the beach is not allowed. He had a solid ‘police wala danda’ in his hands and we didn’t wanted someone to kick us at that time when we will not find any hotel also. So we had to be inside the province of MTDC resort which was just 20 steps from the beach and again we were on the same ‘hot’ topics like ‘ladkiyan and life mein kuch karna hai yaar… etc…etc…’ till the time we realized that we need to get up again next day and to able to do that, we need some sleep.

Few moments…

So with this schedule, we spent 3 days there, and on the 4th day, we packed our bags again for Mumbai. Before pushing off from there, we had to go for Lord Ganesha temple (village name is Ganpatipule due to this reason…Ganpatipule, the Lord of the ‘ganas’ or army and “pule” means sand dunes). We gone to this utter beautiful temple and had blessed.

We didn’t had any plans to call SK again from Ratnagiri to pick us and to drop till Ratnagiri station, so choose the MSRTC bus option to reach Ratnagiri station. It was very hot but as soon as the bus started and wind crossed our hairs, there was no time to think about that. It took an hour or so to reach Ratnagiri station and we had around 2 hours in our hands. So we decided to have our lunch there only, which ultimately turned something else…party time. We were lucky enough to get all the desired and delicious food there, and before half an hour of train time, we reached at Ratnagiri station to catch Janshatabdi express. Train was late and again our photographer knock the heart, so we clicked some snaps, did some more chit-chat and boarded in the train. Unlike while coming in this train, people were tired, exhausted and had a scary feeling of going back to work next day on their faces… :). We had also nothing much to do so slept for sometime and due to effected by Mr. SP, gone into silent mode until we reached Panvel, Navi Mumbai station.

Policemen were waiting there for checking the bags etc due to the reason most of the people buy whisky/scotch etc. from Goa due to price factor and which is not permitted in Maharashtra. You can’t enter with the bottles with a tag of “For Sale in Goa only”. That’s a common rule that you can’t take one state liquor to another state, but you can’t find that kind of police checking which we seen there. Anyways we all are good guys so we don’t do these things (and even if we do, this is not the right place to mention that…) and moreover we were coming from Ratnagiri and not Goa, so we seen a kind of disappointment on ‘police wale bhaiya’s’ face after we told him so… :).

We took a local from Panvel to reach our places, RN had a bit long way to go then us, me, AT & SP came back to our flat from where AT pushed of to Pune and as always, with a great experience for lifetime to cherish…!!!

Phase II — Specific to Ganpatipule again, but turned ‘exploring Ratnagiri’ after reaching RK’s place.

As said earlier, it is one of the most beautiful and peaceful place atleast for me and during my first visit, I decided to be there atleast once in a year. And this time when I decided to go there was New Year eve. Like all the past times, the first person I tried to contact for this trip was AT. I applied all sort of ‘dosti ke vaste etc…’ things on him but he had some assignments to finish. RN was out of town and SP was not at all in the mood to join. So after all this emotional dramatic stuff, which continued for 2-3 days, I decided to go alone there. RK, one of our friend’s friend was still working in Ratnagiri and I talked to him about my arrival.

The most difficult thing to do for this trip was to get the train ticket and MTDC resort at Ganpatipule. As I didn’t had much time in my hand and that was again going to be a new year, one of the biggest carnival in Goa etc…, one have to plan atleast two months before while going to Kankan stretch like Ganpatipule, Goa, Velneshwar. You will not get hotels or either you will need to do some compromise regarding the quality etc which may ruin your trip. December is anyways a peak season for Goa and the Christmas celebration, new year ever attraction pack Goa like anything. So it was just a week in my hands and neither I was getting the train ticket, nor the MTDC resort. I convinced myself to take the bus route to reach Ratnagiri (I hate long trips in buses, though, didn’t had any option), I talked to RK and he convinced me about staying there and luckily I was getting the ticket for way back to Mumbai in Janshatabdi express. It was just a day before when I was about to book bus and train tickets, somehow somewhere a light flashed, some announcement happened in sky and SP’s soul waked up for salvation. He asked me to book two return tickets as he was also joining me. That was actually a good thing happened because even if I planned to go alone, but ‘what is life without friends’ theory was hitting me again and again!!! So finally on the same evening I booked two bus tickets for Ratnagiri and two train tickets for way back. For stay and all other requirements, we decided to make RK one of our best friend for next week.

The day came and we boarded on the bus in the night. The drive was hectic, even that we were in AC volvo. The worst thing is you hardly get space to adjust yourself. But the thought of being in Ratnagiri/Ganpatipule was enough to overwhelm that pain of journey. We reached Ratnagiri bus stop in the morning around 5:30 AM. Had tea there which was the first ‘feel good’ factor. The air was neat and clean and was adequate to leave the bus experience on the bus stop itself. We hired one auto which was very much unknown to any name like RK, and the best part was I had a rough idea of address in my mind. This was again the result of thinking me as a bond, who never forgets something which he read or hear once. RK explained me the address on phone, I noted it down on some corner of some paper, which somehow I lost in my flat (which was more of a chemistry lab, where all the chemicals are misplaced and one never find anything on time one require the most). There was no reason for me to say anything about that piece of paper where I wrote down the address and a map of Ratnagiri treasure… “SK’s house”. I somehow managed to recall the place name and I gave kudos to myself for my sharp memory (without looking at SP, who was already gone into his deadly silent mode and was staring at me…). So the ‘rick wale bhaiya’ dropped us at the place which we told to him and we had to find out the building of where our proud engineer RK was staying. We didn’t want to disturb RK as it was just 6:00 AM in the morning and he might be sleeping at that time like normal people. Some people have quite normal life and not like us, so why should they suffer…? Yes, we had to ring the bell once we would have been reach there, but why to make him get up from sleep before that, so being on this idea, we started recalling our last trip to Ratnagiri and SK’s building (Courtesy: Phase – I of Ratnagiri) as RK had acquired SK’s flat post SK shifted to north India. We got the building but flat number was still a mystery for us so we then decided to call RK. To our surprise, he picked the phone in first call itself. I think he was really working on ‘Athiti Devo Bhava’ quote before that, but RK didn’t knew that sometimes ‘Athithi’ like us makes the ‘host’ to feel like ‘Athithi’ in his/her own house. We acquire the host’s house and before anyone say ‘feel at home’, we make the host to think ‘feel at home’ for himself…we guys have a big heart and accept the things without any issue(s)…

So we put down our bags like RK’s flat was our ancestral property and RK was just a caretaker. RK also was surprised to meet such nice guys… ;). We were at rest till evening and in between we discussed about our this trip, what to cover, what all the place to see etc…etc… Eventually our trip turned to “Ratnagiri Darshan” rather then “Ganpatipule revisited”. RK told us that there are more than 10 unexplore and non-commercialized beaches in Ratnagiri itself. So we alter our plans and decided to go to Ganpatipule only on 31st December to celebrate new year eve. Before that, we were about to unfold Ratnagiri only.

Exploring Ratnagiri…

RK had a bike and he took one of his other friends bike because we were 3 people. It that 2 days in Ratnagiri was an experience in itself which one can only feel and atleast for an immature write like me, there are no words to explain the same. At the end of this blog, I have described what all the places one can roam in Ratnagiri and I am attaching couple of snaps too. It is a beautiful place with some hidden beaches (known to localities only), good roads, lush green sights and great taste of food. Two days we roamed with RK as our guide and he really made our trip worth to write this Phase II of Ratnagiri. He was in Ratnagiri since an year when we had our trip and he explored almost all the places there. Such a nice person, who never said no for anything, and yes, we tested his patience thoroughly. He made us so comfortable and we gel along with him so well that once we felt that we are his roommates and we are residing here only since long back. He told us about all the places of Ratnagiri according to whatever he has gained in an year and which was quite enough for us being new to that place.

So after collecting non-mentionable memories in two days, third day, the 31st December, we decided to go at Ganpatipule beach. Again the issue was getting a place there to stay, as we were planned to celebrate our new year eve there and we were not in a temper to come back at Ratnagiri after that. That was the most difficult thing to get a room in any hotel at that peak time, however, due to Mr. Ratnagiri, SK, we got a room in a hotel which was also near to the beach and MTDC resort. So we reached Ganpatipule by 5:00 PM in the evening and by 6:00, we were in between the waves…We came back to hotel after we got enough slaps from the sea and like all the past times, we declare the end of war by showing white piece of cloth to the ocean. Unlike to last time, it was more aggressive, as like he was also celebrating the New Year… We again got back onto the beach after change and some rest. This time, just to sit on the sand of the beach and to see its beauty at night, it was around 10:00 PM. People were celebrating, some had arranged the bonfire, and some couples got very cosy, and there were enough policemen to take care of any mis-happening and to keep people away from the sea shore. At 12:00 in the night, we saw enough fireworks in the sky to welcome new year. It was a very beautiful scene, water everywhere, some ships/boats with light in the sea, colorful fireworks and some funny people on the beach… it was a “cheers to life” moment… what kind of beautiful paradise it was…

Beaches @ Ratnagiri…

Post our New Year celebrations, we slept for a while on the beach itself till some policemen again came and asked us to go back to our respective hotels. This happens with us everytime, don’t know why we are so precious to this world that everyone starts caring about us, wherever we go… ;). So we got back into our hotel with a magnificent picture in our mind. That was the most delighting New Year celebration and till today it is. What you want and how you want the things to happen, and atlast those things happens in the same way, what could be more beautiful than that…!!!

Next day before pushing off, we had gone to Lord Ganesha temple and this time, we had parikrama too (Its about 1 kilometre, round to the temple). Post that, we pushed of for Ratnagiri. Our train time was again in the evening at 5:30 PM like last time as I said that is a fixed and the best train from Mumbai to Goa and vice-versa. Train was late by an hour or so and in the meantime, RK took us to his office which was near to Railway Station itself. As like all other government offices, the picture was same with a difference of cleanness. It was pretty big and everything was properly arranged. We had some hearty and heavy lessons on semiconductor devices etc from RK. It was kind of KT that happened for another an hour and we were back on the platform. Train took another half an hour to arrive. Again we were on the way back to Mumbai with bang-up memories which will never fade and always become a cause for smile on our faces…

Description of Ratnagiri/Ganpatipule (Some copy-paste stuff…)

Kankan, one of the most beautiful stretch of Indian ocean covering Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka and famous for white-sand beaches and palm trees, mostly coconut and betel nut. It covers Maharashtra’s districts of Raigad, Mumbai, Thane, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, the state of Goa, and the Uttar Kannada, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts of Karnataka. The geogrophical location states that the eastern boundary of the Konkan is “Sahyadri Mountain range”, the western boundary covered by “Arabian Sea”, “Gangavali River” coveres its southern boundary and “The Mayura River” forms the northern boundary.

The district of Ratnagiri is located at a distance of 370 kilometers from Mumbai. The main languages here are Konkani and Marathi. Rice and coconut are the main crops produced in Ratnagiri, but it is also famous for cashew nuts, and fruits, delicious “Hapus” (Alphonso) mangoes across and abroad the country.
Other local vegetation includes fruit-bearing trees like betelnut, banana, jackfruit etc. Fishing is an important industry in Ratnagiri. Heavy rainfall results in highly eroded landscape in the coastal region. The climate is pleasant there all the months, throughout the year, except April to September when there is a high humid and sun reaches a point directly overhead.

Ratnagiri district offers the most diverse attractions and endowed with many tourist assets. The beauty of this place is a contribution of the rising hills of Sahyadri on east and the depths of Arabian sea on the west. It is blessed with hills, sea shores, creeks, beautiful rivers, hot water springs, forests and water falls among many others.

A few nationalist, socialist and educationist, including Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak; Bharat Ratna Maharshi Dhondo Kehav Karve and Raghunath Purushottam Paranjpe, were born in Ratnagiri.

Places to Visit:

There are more than thirty places in Ratnagiri distric to visit and are main tourist attractions. Out of which the below are most famous.

Places of worship: Ganapatipule, Velneshwar, Marleshwar, Hedvi, Hatis, Parshuram (Chiplun), Rajapur
Caves: Panhalekazi, Sangameshwar
Palace: Thibaw Palace (Ratnagiri)
Sea Shores: Kelshi, Murud, Guhaghar, Palshet, Ganpatipule, Velneshwar
Beaches: Mandovi (Gateway of Ratnagiri), Bhatye, Guhagar, Anjarla, Ganapatipule
Birth Places of eminent personalities: Ratnagiri, Malgund, Dapoli, Palgad
Forts: Bankot, Mandangad, Ambolgad, Jaigad, Ratnadurg, Mahipatgad
Sea Forts: Ratnadurg, Harne, Purnagad, Jaigad
Bird Sanctuaries: Vanadi valley, Anaskura Ghat
Exotic forests: Pat Panhale, Bavnadi valley
Water Falls: Parshuram, Prachitgad, Marleshwar
Hot water Spring: Unhavare, Aravali, Tural, Rajapur

Prime Attractions

Ganpatipule: This is the land of Ganpatipule, one of Maharashtra’s almost virgin beaches. It is idyllic. It is famous not only because of its blue water and white sand, but for Swayambhu Ganpati Temple (Swayambhu means a self-originated idol, Ganapati). It is flooded by thousands of devotees and tourists every year. The beach here is still natural and pristine as ever. Sparkling blue waters, endless stretches of golden or silver sand, a cool breeze whispering sweet nothings in your ear.

Devotees take a “Pradakshina” around the hill where the temple is located, not just around the temple. Pradakshina is a form of showing obeisance. It is said that the will be done if devotees make a Pradakshina by their sole heart.

Thebaw Palace: The Thebaw Palace was built in 1910-11 for the 1911-16 stay there in exile of the king and the queen of Burma (Myanmar). The place has tombs of the royal couple.

Malgund: The famous Marathi poet, Keshavsut, was born in the village of Malgund. His house has recently been renovated and converted into a students’ dormitory. It is just a kilometre away from Ganpatipule. Visitors like to take a look at the house of the poet, now a student’s hostel. Also a must visit to beautiful monument called the Keshavsut Smarak. It has also constructed in Malgund.

Jay Gadh: This 17th century fort offers a spectacular view of the sea. Standing high and proud on a cliff with a spectacular view of the sea the fort is at the entrance of the Sangameshwar river and is 35 kms away from Ganpatipule.

Pawas: Naturally beautiful and serene the place is also prominent for the ashram of Swami Swaroopanand a spiritual leader who influenced an entire generation of Maharashtrians. His residence has now been converted into an ashram.

Velneshwar: Velneshwar is located 170 km from Ratnagiri. Its adjoining beach is clean and lined with coconut trees. There is a well-known Shiva temple near Velneshwar. The village comes alive each year during the Maha Shivaratri far when pilgrims in large numbers visit the Old Shiva Temple.

Ratna Durga: This fort was built during the Bahamani rule. The Arabian Sea surrounds it on its three sides.

Parashuram Temple (near Chiplun): This temple was built in 1685 by Maharshi Brahmendra.

Shivasamarth Gad (at Sawarde near Chiplun): contains sculptures from Shivaji’s times.

Getting to

Getting to Ratnagiri is easy and convenient. Travelling by road to Ratnagiri is an experience by itself. The vast Konkan stretch abounds with scenic greenery. There are narrow mud-roads, the earth is red and the roofed houses with clean courtyards add a quaint touch to the panorama. The district of Ratnagiri is well-connected by roadways with all the major cities and towns such as Kolhapur, Mumbai and Pune. NH-17 passes through the district. From Mumbai, (Ex Panvel) a comfortable car journey to Ratnagiri will take around six to seven hours.

The National Highway 17 connects cities and towns of different states as follows Mumbai, Mahad, Ratnagiri, Panaji, Madgaon, Karwar, Kumta, Bhatkal, Udupi,
Surathkal, Mangalore, Kasargod, Kannur, Thalassery, Vadakara, Kozhikkode, Kodungallur,North Paravur and Kochi. The NH 17 passes through hills, forests, rivers, rivulets, and streams,. Most of region has typical scene like coconut trees dotted all along with paddy fields. The road is not even, with humps, bumps, curves, steep rises and narrow paths in between hillocks are found all over this highway.

Apart from Road, Rail journey is having an owesome experience for life. It is called the most scenic railway track so far. Ratnagiri is having a distric railway station where most of express trains halt. From Mumbai, Jan-Shatabdi express from Mumbai to Goa halts here which could be the best option due to AC chair option and its time. The train starts from Mumbai at 5:00 am and takes aprox five hours to reach Ratnagiri. From here, you can take a taxi/cab to any hotel in Ratnagiri or Ganpatipule. Ratnagiri city from Railway station is five kilometers.

Distance

Mumbai to Ratnagiri – 370Km
Pune to Ratnagiri – 380Km
Goa to Ratnagiri – 220Km

Where to stay

A number of good options are there in Ratnagiri, from lexurious suits to economical rooms. If you are going there just for Ganpatipule, MTDC resort is incomparable. The best feature of MTDC resort is you open your eyes in the morning and the sea is around you. This government resort is on the main Ganpatipule beach and consists of AC cottages, Non-AC cottages, general rooms and tent houses under coconut trees for those who want to feel a forest touch.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Ratnagiri is either between the months of April and June or October and December.

Happy Journey… 🙂