Ganpatipule

 
 
ganpatipule_beach.jpg"Sparkling blue waters, endless stretches of golden or silver sand, sun beams dancing through the swaying palms, waves playing with the sand dunes, a cool breeze whispering sweet nothing in your ear. This is the land of Ganpatipule, one of Maharashtra's almost virgin beaches."

Nestled in the greenery is an almost 4000 year old land mark - the Swayambhu Ganapati temple (Swayambhu means 'self-made', this is a temple of the self-originated idol, Ganapati). It is flooded by thousands of devotees and tourists every year. Thus the village got its name Ganapatipule, Ganapati the lord of the "ganas" or army and "pule" which means sand dunes, Ganapatipule is one of the "Ashta Ganapatis" (eight Ganapatis) of India and is known as "Paschim Dwar Dewata" (the Western Sentinel God).

Ganapatipule is a small village, serene, sedate and unspoiled. The beach here is still as natural and pristine as ever. And traveling by roads 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 local vegetation includes fruit bearing trees like mango, betelnut, banana, jackfruit, coconut, etc. The entire western coast is covered with these trees. The locals are as warm and cheerful as their surroundings. Ever ready to chat with the visitors and make them feel at home.

These god-fearing local devotees take a "Pradakshina" around the hill where the temple is located, not just around the temple (Pradakshina is a form of showing obeisance wherein the devotee walks in a circle around the idol of the lord or around the temple, the house of the lord), As for the tourists, they can go walking simple to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Places to Visit

Malgund
Just a kilometer away from Ganapatipule, Malgund village is the birthplace of the famous Marathi Poet Keshavsoot. This small, yet beautiful village is frequented by visitors who come to take a look at the renovated and converted house of the poet, now a student's hostel. The Maratji "Sahitya Parishad" (Marathi Literature Society) has constructed a beautiful monument salled "Keshavsoot Smarak" in the memory of the great son-of-the soil.

Pawas
Pawas is 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). A visit to the place is a journey through time.

Jaigad Fort
The legendary fort stands high and proud on the cliff with a spectacular view of the sea. The fort is at the entrance of the Sangameshwar river and is 35 kms away from Ganapatipule.
 
Ratnagiri
The Konkan is the vast, beautiful western coast. One of its districts is the well-known Ratnagiri. It is here that the great freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born. This man with a mission led the "Swadeshi Movement" in the 20th centuary against the British. His house - Tilak Smarak - is a landmark now and is open to visitors. Also the "Patit Pawan Mandir" is of importance here. It was the first temple built for the non-Brahmins by revolutionary leader, Swatantryaveer Savarkar. Other Attractions are the Bhatye Beach, The Coconut Research Center, Ratnadurg Fort, Bhagwati Bunder (Sea Port) and The Seafood Processing Centre at Mirya. Also visit Thebaw Palace, which was built for the exiled King and Queen of Burma (now Myanmar) in 1910 - 11. They lived for five years till their death in 1916.

Velneshwar
This small and dreamy village around 170 kms away from Ratnagiri is the place to be for water sports - thanks to its beautiful clean beach and rock - free sea. Also an old Shiva temple near Velneshwar if Frequented by pilgrims and tourists. The whole place is a mystic aura around in the presence of the master mystic, Lord Shiva.

Excursions

Marleshwar
60 kms from Ganapatipule, famous for its Shiva temple and waterfall.

Derwen
85 kms from Ganapatipule, it is well known for its Shiv Shristi (an exhibition on Chhatrapati Shivaji)

Parshuram
Known for the Parshuram temple, it is 112 kms away from Ganapatipule.

mportant Information

Geographic Location
Ganapatipule lies along the Konkan coast, approximately 375 kms south of Mumbai.

Climate
The coastal climate is mostly hot and humid but it is healthy and devoid of pollution. The temperature is at its peak (around 38 Degree C) in the month of March. The monsoon falls between June and October. The rains are regular here. The climate is pleasant in winter and the temperature often falls at night.

Languages Spoken
Marathi is the common language here. People also know Hindi and English.

Local Festivals
All the festivals are celebrated with great enthusiasm and a spirit of togetherness. Gauri Ganapati and Magh Chaturthi are the most important events in the entire Konkan region. Holi, Gudi Padva and Diwali are well celebrated here, too.

What to wear
Loose cotton attire is suitable and comfortable. Although during winters, warm clothing is preferable. Swimming costumes are recommended for people indulging in water - sports.

What to eat
Since Ganapatipule is a pilgrimage destination, non - vegetarian food is a little rare. But on the outskirts of Ganapatipule fish curry, rice and kokam kadhi are available. Vegetable curries are also very tasty, prepared with a coconut base. "Modak" the favorite sweet meat of Lord Ganesh is also available.

What to Buy
The Konkan coast is rich in horticulture and the place is filled with delicious exotic fruits. These are also turned into sweet preparations like Ambapoli and Phanaspoli (pancakes of dried mango and jackfruit respectively). If you visit during the mangi season, don't forget to buy the world famous Devgad "Hampus" mangoes. 

Where to Stay
The MTDC resort lies on the slope of a green hillock, facing the sea. Alphonso mango trees and coconut palms dot the 45 acre grounds. Sea view cottages. tents and Konkani houses are also available (The latter two are not rented out during the monsoons).

How to get there

By Air
Nearest airport is Belgaum, 299 Kms.

By Rail
On Konkan Railway Bhoke is 35 Kms. However the convenient railhead Ratnagiri is 45 Kms.

By Road
Mumbai - Ganapatipule is 375 Kms.
Pune - Ganapatipule is 331 Kms.
Belgaum - Ganapatipule is 299 Kms.
S. T. Buses ply from Mumbai and Ratnagiri to Ganapatipule.
 

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