ENCHANTING ABODE OF THE GODS-GANPATIPULE

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‘One impulse from the vernal woods will teach you more of man, of moral, of evil and of good than all the sages can.’

This verse aptly describes the beauty and grandeur of a place called Ganpatipule in Maharashtra. Believed to be the abode of the gods who rule the world from this divine seat, every tourist who comes here is said to experience the presence of the supreme powers in every wave of beauty and peace. A journey to Ganpatipule is not just the crossing of distance but the crossing of the frontiers of negativities and malice, of human failures and shortcomings. It is a journey that enraptures, enthrals and elevates you to heights that you have never known.

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Ganpatipule is a small town located on the west (Konkan coast) in Ratnagiri district. Nature here is serene, sedate and unspoiled. It is described as a beach with ”sparking blue water, endless stretches of silver sand, sunbeams dancing through the swaying palms, waves playing with the sand dunes, a cool breeze whispering sweet nothings in the ear.” The beach is natural and pristine and so is considered to be one of the virgin beaches. To go by what a poet once said, ”What is this life, so full of care. We have no time to stand and stare?”, Ganpatipule, for the stress-tossed modern man, provides a respite from all the pressures of an urban life.

The Divine Presence

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The name of this picturesque town is derived from the temple of Lord Ganesh or Ganpati which is built on the fine white sand, also known as the ‘pule’. The idol of Ganesh is ‘swayambhu’ (self-originated) and the temple itself is almost 400 years old. This Ganpati temple is referred to as one of the four ‘dwar-dewata’ (welcoming deities) to the Indian sub-continent and that is the reason why Lord Ganesh at this site faces the west, unlike the other deities who face the east. He guards the Western Ghats. The idol of Lord Ganesha is carved from one massive rock and is in the sanctum sanctorum or the garbhagriha. The golden rays of sunset penetrate the garbhagriha and illuminate the idol.

At this place, the river Shastri meets the Arabian Sea and the hill that is shaped like Ganpati enchants the visitors. Instead of ‘pradakshina’ of the temple, the devotees perform ‘pradakshina’ of the hill which they consider sacred. In the rainy season, a spring flows from the hill to the pond beside the temple, thus adding to the touch of serenity. From the hilltop, tourists can enjoy an idyllic view of a small creek which passes across the beach and goes behind the hills.

Simply Refreshing

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Here the cup of joy is full to the brim and overflowing. The beach is one of the most spectacular getaway places for peace-seekers, beach lovers and pilgrims. It is a unique place as the scenic nature is combined beautifully with spirituality. Even the road makes for a scenic experience through the Western Ghats-the chain of green hills along the Konkan Coast. The presence of a lagoon adds more beauty to this site. Tourists can also go for romantic seaside walks to enjoy the beautiful surroundings along the shoreline.

Ganpatipule is an ideal place for relaxation and a chance to leave behind the hectic world by stretching out on its silver sands or through an exploration of the many trails that lead to the beaches. Situated in the evergreen ranges of the Sahyadri, Ganpatipule is rich in flora and has an abundance of trees like the mango, cashew, betelnut, jackfruit, coconut, palm and casuarina, to name just a few. Located around 375kms off Mumbai by road, the beauty of this small town is enhanced by a beach of six kilometres which is not so commercialised as the other famous beaches on the western coast. This tiny town is mainly marked by neatly drawn roads, red soil and roofed houses which have clean boundaries.

Apart from the beach, Ganpatipule offers many interesting spots of importance to the tourists. The backwaters are worth exploring. The water sports complex offers a variety of water sports like rowboats, motorboats, aero boats, pedal boats, etc for recreation. The adjacent beach provides facilities like swimming, sunbathing and so on. Also one can enjoy paragliding at the beach.

Time to Visit

The coastal climate is generally moist and humid. The climate in winter (October to mid-February) is the most pleasant season. The ideal period to visit is from November to January.

Other Attractions

Pracheen Konkan

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This is a museum in Ganpatipule depicting life as it was in the earlier years on this coastal belt. Set up by Mr Vaibhav Sardesai with the help of the state government, it imparts information about the region to the tourists.

Malgund

Located just a kilometre away from Gnapatipule, it is the birthplace of the famous Marathi poet Keshavsut. The Marathi Sahitya Parishad (Marathi Literature Society) has constructed a beautiful monument called the Keshavsut Smarak which displays information about most of the modern poets of Marathi Language.

Ratnagiri

It is located about 25 kilometres away from Ganpatipule and is known for being the birthplace of the great freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak. His house-Tilak Smarak-is a landmark and open to visitors. Also of importance is the Patil Pawan Mandir. It was the first temple built for the non-Brahmins by revolutionary leader Swatantryveer Savarkar. Some of the other attractions are the Bhatye Beach, The Coconut Research Center, Ratnadurg Fort, Bhagwati Bunder (sea port), the Seafood Processing Centre at Mirya and Thebaw Palace which was built for the exiled kind and queen of Burma (now Myanmar) in 1910-11.

Jaigad Fort

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Located 35kms away from Ganpatipule is the Jaigad Fort, situated at the entrance of the river Sangameshwar. This 17th-century fort offers a commanding view of the sea and is also famous for a unique view of Konkan’s village life.

Pawas

Pawas is famous for its scenic beauty and serenity. The place is also prominent for the ashram of Swami Swaroopanand, a spiritual leader who influenced an entire generation of Maharashtrians.

Velneshwar

Around 170kms away from Ratnagiri, located north of the river Shastri, is this small village called Velneshwar. This peaceful, coconut-fringed beach is famous for water sports. During Mahashivratri pilgrims in large numbers visit the Shiva temple.

Shopping

 

Gnapatipule offers a variety of local preparations like ambapoli (thin pancakes of crushed and dried mango) and phanaspoli (thin pancake of dried and crushed jackfruit). In summer, tourists can buy the world famous ‘Devgad Hapus’ mangoes.

Food

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Fish curries and the kokam kadi/sol kadi (a pink-coloured digestive drink) are the specialities of the region. Modak, a sweet (and a favourite dish of Lord Ganesh) is also available.

Reaching There

Ganpatipule is accessible by all modes of transport.

By Air-The nearest airport is Kolhapur

By Rail-The nearest railhead is Bhoke(35kms) on the Konkan Railway.However, Ratnagiri (45kms) is more convenient.

By Road-Mumbai-Ganpatipule (via Mahad) is 375kms.Pune -Ganpatipule (via Satara) is 331kms. Kolhapur-Ganpatipule is 144kms.