Sunday, 5 October 2014

Trip to Beauty of Konkan Ratnagiri, Ganeshgule and Jaigad


After a long monsoon break, we were ready to explore the Konkan region again. We took advantage of Dasera and Gandhi Jayanti vacation and planned a 4 day trip. Our destinations for costal line trip were Ratnagiri, Jaigad, Pawas, Ganeshgule and surrounding area. Travelers for this trip were Me, Renuka and our friends Abhijit and Manasi.

GaneshGule Beach
GaneshGule Beach

About Ratnagiri and surrounding places:
Ratnagiri city is a port city on Arabian Sea coast of Maharashtra in India. It is a main city from the Konkan region and famous for its Alphonso Mangoes, Birth place of “Lokmanaya” Bal Gangadhar Tilak, prime leader of India’s freedom movement and Shivaji’s Fort. There are many tourist points in Ratnagiri district that are blessed with untouched and beautiful beaches.
Pawas is well known for the Ashram of Swami Swaroopanand and is approximately 20 km from Ratnagiri city. Ganeshgule, a village few kilometers ahead of Pawas offers you a beautiful untouched beach.
On the northern side of Ratnagiri, you can visit twin beaches called Aarey - Warey and also the Malgund beach. Ganapatipule is a holy destination which is just 25 km from Ratnagiri city.

The route to reach Ratnagiri from Pune is –
Take National highway 4 – Drive till Karad city on highway – Cross Karad and drive for few km – after Karad, look for the first flyover on the highway – Do not take flyover route – Take right below the flyover – Drive on State highway 144 – Malkapur – Amba – Sakharpa – join on Mumbai Goa highway – Drive towards Mumbai for few km – Take left for Ratnagiri – Ratnagiri.
Total distance via this route is around 304km.

Other routes are Tahmini – Mangaon – Mumbai Goa national highway OR Pune – Umbraj – Koyanagar – Chiplun – Ratnagiri.

Road to Aare Ware Beach

Day 1: 2nd Oct 2014 – Pune - Ratnagiri (Total Distance traveled: 304 km): 
              We woke up early in the morning and left home at 6 AM with our friends. We wanted to avoid the highway traffic and enjoy the morning breeze. After Satara, we took a pit stop for tea and coffee. We decided to go by the Amba ghat route. After crossing Karad, we took right from Amba ghat route. Because of smooth and wide road we were able to move faster to reach our destination. We wanted to have lunch in Ratnagiri but because of few pit stops for photos, we were not able to make it. We had our lunch in Hotel Kasturi which is close to Amba ghat. Because of nonstop drive after lunch we could reach our destination by 2.30 PM
              In Ratnagiri, our stay was at one of our relative’s place. As they were out of town for a month, they had graciously offered us their apartment to stay in during our trip. We were tired so we took rest for an hour. In the evening, we decided to visit Ratnadurg fort and Mandavi beach. When we reached at the fort area it was too crowded. We got to know from the locals that due to Navratri people visit the temple on the fort to take a blessing from Goddess Bhagwati. Many people suggested visiting this place after Navratri, so we decided to come here again on 3rd Oct. We left for Mandavi beach. This beach is also known as black sea beach. The reason behind this name could be that the color of the sand here is black. This is the local beach of Ratnagiri and not at all well maintained. Too many people and huge number of stalls have messed up the beauty of the beach. There is a narrow bridge that leads into the sea. It is called the Getaway of Ratnagiri. Unfortunately everything here is poorly maintained. After watching the sunset we came home. We were more excited to visit Pawas and Ganeshgule village on the next day.

Mandavi Beach a.k.a. Black sea beach
Mandavi Beach a.k.a. Black sea beach

Sunset from Mandavi Beach
Sunset from Mandavi Beach

Expenses:
  • Car Petrol: INR 4000/- (approx. 50-51 Lit at average INR 80/lit)
  • Toll on NH-4 (Khed-Shivapur): INR 80/- one way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Anewadi-Satara): INR 55/- one way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Taswade): INR 70/- one way entry
  • Coffee: INR 30/- per person on highway
  • Lunch at Kasturi hotel: INR 685/- for 4 person (starter, Punjabi veg, Solkadi and Roti)
  • Coconut water at Mandavi beach: INR 120/- for 4 pic
  • Dinner at home: INR 200/- for 4 person

Day 2: 3rd Oct 2014 – Ratnagiri – Pawas – Ganeshgule – Ratnagiri:
              We woke up a bit late and had breakfast at home. We decided to travel to the south of Ratnagiri. We left home by 8.00 AM for sightseeing and our first destination was Bhatye beach. This beach is located on the Ratnagiri – Pawas road and this beach has large suruban. The important thing of the Bhatye beach is that Mandavi and Bhatye beach are divided by a creek. This beach is much better than Mandavi beach. It is quite clean and safe for swimming. We spent around an hour on this beach. It was a hot sunny day and we left the beach soon for our next destination.

Bhatye Beach
Bhatye Beach

Bhatye Beach
Bhatye Beach

               Pawas is a prime spiritual place in Ratnagiri district due to a very long stay of Swami (saint) Swaroopanand. He was born on 15th December 1903 at Pawas. At the age of 20, he had received the initiation (Dikshya) from his Guru Sadguru Babamaharaj Vaidya from Pune. From this point, his journey in the spiritual world had begun. At the age of 70, on 15th August 1974, Swamiji took Samadhi (self-immolation) at Pawas. Swami Swaroopanand was a follower of Warkari Sampraday (cult). Pawas is just 20km away from Ratnagiri city and the road till Pawas is in excellent condition. The temple in Pawas is very clean and well maintained. We attended the prayer at 12pm and it was managed very well by the temple staff. It is definitely a must visit place if you are in Ratnagiri area. We had lunch at Pawas as Maha Prasad. They served tasty Khichadi as Prasad.

Pawas

               Our next destination was Ganeshgule temple and the beach. This temple is older than Ganpatipule. The Ganesh idol in the temple is "Swayambhu" (i.e. formed naturally) idol with its trunk turned towards the west. The statue of the mouse in front of temple is very beautiful and made up of metal alloy. You can see beautiful valley view from the temple. It was a clam peaceful place as hardly any tourists visit this area. Near the temple there is an ancient well from supposedly the Pandava era. It is fairly deep but there are steps to reach the bottom.

GaneshGule Temple
GaneshGule Temple

               Next destination was the Ganeshgule village for untouched beautiful beach. It is a very small village and unknown to many tourists. We found only 1 resort in the village which was called “Oceano Pearl”. The resort was a mixture of Konkani-modern style with lot of greenery and with a huge farm of different trees (Wadi in Marathi) like Coconuts, Alphonso and many more. They have built nice rooms and one tree house which is very close to the beach. It was 3.30 PM and bright sun light was dominating. Management and staff from resort welcomed us with a smile. Even though we are not going to stay there, but they took us around to show the property. We ordered tea/coffee and went on beach.

Tree House at Oceano Pearl
Tree House at Oceano Pearl

            In the noon, we set up a tent on the beach and took some rest. Ganeshgule beach is around 1.5-2 km long beach and gives you a feel of a private beach. With white soft sand all over the beach, it was very neat and clean. Water was so clear that we were unable to stop ourselves from going into the water. We saw some small fish swimming around us even in 4 ft. deep water. We liked this place and it was one of the cleanest beaches in Konkan. Sea bed is safe to swim but avoid right side of shore. There are few rocky patches in the sea bed. I added this resort in my must visit places and definitely will like to stay here for a night. After spending quality time in water, we came back to the resort.

Tent Set up on Beach
Tent Set up on Beach

GaneshGule beach top view
GaneshGule beach top view

Local Fishing at beach
Local Fishing at beach

Drastic change in weather was amazing treat to eye - GaneshGule  Beach
Drastic change in weather was amazing treat to eye - GaneshGule  Beach

GaneshGule Beach
Cloudy effect after sunset - GaneshGule Beach

              They gave us a room to freshen up. We had some snacks and sea food and left this lovely place. During the return journey everyone was thinking to visit this place on our 4th day of trip before leaving for Pune. We had dinner in a restaurant called Veg Treat which was close to our stay. It was perfect day of our trip and we enjoyed a lot.

Tasty Sea food
Tasty Sea food

Expenses:
  • Breakfast at pawas: INR 120/- for 4 people (Poha and missal Pav)
  • Coffee at Oceano Pearl hotel: INR 20/- per coffee
  • Cold drink: INR 50/- 
  • Pomplet fish in snacks at Oceano Pearl: INR 200/- for 2 medium size fish
  • Dinner at veg treat: INR 470/- for 4 people (Panjabi veg, roti and Paratha’s)

Day 3: 4th Oct 2014 – Ratnagiri – Are-Ware – Jaigad – Ganapatipule - Ratnagiri:
               We woke up early morning and the plan was to have a 1 day trip to Aare-ware beach, Jaigad and Ganapatipule. We left home by 7 AM. Aare-ware is a twin beach separated by a small creek. Both beaches haven’t commercialized yet and hence clean as compared to the nearby beaches. The road journey from Ratnagiri to Ganapatipule offers you beautiful scenery as most of the time the road is parallel to seashore. The road has several curves and hair pin bends that give you wonderful view for photography. The road travels past a high cliff, below which the sea waves ferociously lap without a pause. In fact, the road hugs the seashore for a length of some 7 - 8 Km. It becomes difficult for nature lovers to go ahead without capturing the beauty in the camera. We took many pit stops for photography. This route is ideal for aerial view of the beaches.

Aare Beach
Aare Beach


Road to Ware beach
Road to Ware beach

              Aare-ware is blessed with heavenly seashore and clear waters. As of now, there are no amenities available and fewer tourists are aware of this heaven. We went on the Ware beach for swimming. This beach is also safe to enter into the water. We spent around 2 hours playing in the water before we left for our next destination, Jaigad fort. We had some heavy breakfast at Ware village and continued with our journey.


Ware Beach
Ware Beach

Clean untouched Ware beach
Clean untouched Ware beach

BhandarPule Beach
BhandarPule Beach


              Again the journey further from Ganapatipule till Jaigad is parallel to the shore which makes you feel fresh. Every ghat section offers you an aerial view of upcoming beach on same route. Road condition towards Jaigad is horrible. We reached at the fort in the afternoon. Jaigad Fort is a coastal fortification that is located resting on a cliff, at the entrance of the Shastri River. The fort offers you a breathtaking view of the sea. The fort area is very small and you can cover it in one hour. Currently it is not maintained properly. You can see a strong wall around the fort area, water tanks, 20 bastions, watch tower bastion, entrance gate and a ruined 2 storey palace. The fort was built by Vijapur Empire. An interesting story about the fort is that after investing money, time and efforts people were unable to built fort. Someone told the king that this place is cursed so you need to sacrifice man’s blood. No one was ready to die for fort construction when one young boy named “Jaiba” became ready to get sacrificed. He requested the king to name the fort by his name. He was killed there and again construction began. Afterwards without any problem the fort was built. As per his wish, it was named as Jaigad. There is no historical evidence and only the locals believe on this story. In year 1713, the fort was won by Khanoji Aangre (Navel head at the time of Shivaji Maharaj and one of the great undefeated navel warriors in the world).It was also conquered by Maratha before Aangre but year record is missing in history. There were 55 cannons on the fort till 1862.

Palace inside Jaigad Fort
Palace inside Jaigad Fort

Fort Wall - Jaigad
Fort Wall - Jaigad

                During our return journey we went to Ganapatipule. According to a local folk lore, the Hindu god, Ganapati, taking umbrage by a remark made by a native lady, moved to Pulé (a few km ahead of the town) from his original abode of GaneshGulé (which we visited on day2). Thus the region was named Ganpati-pulé. The temple is at the base of a hill and very close to sea. The God is considered to be the Paschim Dwardevta (Western Sentinel God of India), and those who visit Ganapatipule, make it a point to pay their respects to this deity. We and our friend already visited this temple in our earlier Konkan trip and there were too many tourists so we skipped temple visit.
                We saw a museum which is based on Konkan lifestyle known as Prachin Konkan Museum. It is an open air museum set up to display the houses, costumes, ways of livelihood and lifestyle in ancient Konkan. A guided tour in the museum takes you through various aspects of life in Konkan in the past. A lot of models are places which will give you details of how old konkan culture was like. Entire area is covered with lush green trees which doesn’t give us a feel of hot weather. Wooden toys from Sawantwadi (famous for the wood artisans and their handicrafts) are also available for purchase. There was also a display of a variety of shell collection. They claim that it is a biggest sea shell exhibition of India.

Prachin Konkan museum
Prachin Konkan museum

              We were hungry so without wasting any time we had our lunch in Ganapatipule. After heavy lunch, we began our return journey to Ratnagiri. We reached home by 3.30 PM and took rest for an hour. We kept our evening slot for local sightseeing. Our first place to visit was Bal Gangadhar Tilak Birth Place. He was an Indian nationalist, journalist, teacher, social reformer, lawyer and an independence activist. He was the first leader of the Indian Independence Movement. The British colonial authorities called him "Father of the Indian unrest." He was also conferred with the honorary title of "Lokmanya", which literally means "accepted by the people (as their leader)".
             You can see the entire house which is maintained very well. You can get a sense of the typical house of a Ratnagiri resident. Some of Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s personal belongings like pagdi, uparna, and pen are there on display along with some old photos too. Unfortunately tourists skip this place but I feel proud and lucky to visit such place where a legend freedom fighter of India was born.

Birth Place of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Birth Place of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak
              Our next destination was the Ratnagiri lighthouse. It is located on the nearby hill of Ratnadurga fort. The road to the lighthouse is narrow and only 1 car can travel at a time. You need to take left just 1.5km before the fort’s parking area. Timing to visit this lighthouse is from 10am to 5pm; it is better to visit after 4pm. Lighthouse offers you beautiful view of the sea and Ratnagiri city. Watching the sunset defuse its light over the sea is amazing sight in the evening.

View of Ratnagiri city from lighthouse
View of Ratnagiri city from lighthouse

Defuse light over sea
Defuse light over sea

Road to Lighthouse
            
             After the visit to the lighthouse, we moved ahead to Ratnadurg fort which we had missed on day one. This fort is also known as Bhagawati fort. It is at a distance of 3km from the city and looks like a horseshoe with an area about 120 acres. It is surrounded by the sea on three sides and is connected to the land at the southeast. It was built during the reign of Bahamanis. In 1670 Shivaji Maharaj won this fort from Adilshah. It was controlled by Karawir Chatrapati which was hand over to Aangre’s (Chief of the Maratha Navy) family. The fort was reconstructed in 1790 to make it stronger.

Ratnadurg Fort
Ratnadurg Fort

Information Board

                 Bale Killa (Main part of fort or small fort on top of main fort) is major attraction amongst tourists. You can see goddess Bhagawati temple after entering from main gate. The fort consists of a wall which is newly constructed. There are many bastions and Rede Buruj (Bastion) is the main bastion on the fort. It also offers you a breathtaking view of the sea and the cliff. There is small secret way which opens at sea but it is now not is use. Fort entrance is closes at 7pm daily. We enjoyed sunset and left this historic place.

Bhagawati Temple
Bhagawati Temple

View of fort from Fort - Ratnadurg Fort
View of fort from Fort - Ratnadurg Fort

              We did some shopping of homemade products of Konkan in the evening. When we asked about good restaurants we got to know 2 names, Aamantran (for sea food) and Mithila (for veg food). We had our delicious dinner at Mithila. After dinner we went back to the apartment for rest.

Expenses:
  • Breakfast at Warey beach: INR 135/- for 4 person (Poha and tea/coffee)
  • Prachin Konkan Museum entry: INR 30/- per person including guide for group
  • Prachin Konkan Museum Camera fee: INR 25/-
  • Konkani juice: INR 10/- (too many flavors are available outside museum)
  • Lunch at Naivedyam in Ganapatipule: INR 75/- for veg limited meal.
  • Coconut water: INR 25/- at ware beach
  • Ratnagiri Light house entry fee: INR 10/- per person
  • Ratnagiri Light house camera fee: INR 25/-
  • Dinner at Mithila restaurant : INR 605/- for 4 person
Day 4: 5th Oct 2014 – Ratnagiri – Ganeshgule – Pune (Total Distance traveled: 301 km):
              Today we were supposed to leave for Pune in the afternoon. We wanted to enjoy the seashore so we decided to visit Ganeshgule beach again. Yesterday we were unable to visit Thiba palace. As we didn’t want to miss it we visited there early in the morning. Timing to visit this place is 10am to 5pm. Thiba palace was built for the King of Burma when he was captured by the British. The palace is built in Pagoda style. It is huge palace but not maintained it properly. Renovation was going on hence we were not able to see it from inside. There is huge garden area around this palace which is poorly maintained. Some changes in palace and surrounding area can make this place as major tourist attraction. We left Ratnagiri by 7.30 AM.

Thiba Palace
Thiba Palace

              Ganeshgule was most beautiful and clean beach among the other beaches which we saw in last couple of days. We gave a call to “Oceano Pearl” hotel for arrangement like breakfast, washroom facility to get fresh after playing in water and lunch. He gave us a room for few hours when we reach the resort. We had tasty breakfast by 8 AM and then went on the beach. We were the only 4 tourists on the beach for entire morning. We enjoyed a lot in the crystal clear water. After spending more than 3 hours on the beach, we came back to the resort. My friends and my wife had veg meal whereas I enjoyed king fish meal. Memorable trip came to an end with Modak as sweet dish.

Crabs on beach

Oceano Pearl Home stay resort
Oceano Pearl Home stay resort

King Fish Meal
King Fish Meal

Veg Meal with Modak
Veg Meal with Modak
             We left Ganeshgule via Lanja route by 3 PM. We travelled via Amba Ghat – National highway 4 and reached Pune safely by 9.30 PM.
Expenses: 
  • Breakfast at Oceano Pearl hotel: INR 200/- for 4 person (Khichadi, Ideali sambar and coffee)
  • King fish (Surmai fish) meal: INR 300/-
  • Veg meal: INR 175/- per meal
  • Modak in sweet dish: INR 15/- per pic
  • Toll on NH-4 (Taswade): INR 70/- one way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Anewadi-Satara): INR 55/- one way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Khed-Shivapur): INR 80/- one way entry

Contact numbers for your reference:
  • Kasturi Hotel and restaurant: 9371923039, 9422513797
  • Oceano Pearl beach home stay at Ganeshgule: 02352-237800, 02352-219400, 8605599789, 9405340784
  • Ratnasagar beach resort at Bhatye beach: 96eg 04002661
  • Veg treat restaurant: 9823071188.
  • Joshi family for home made Konkani food products at Ratnagiri: 02352-220952

Visit Places which we miss due to lack of Time:
  • Ratnagiri aquarium: Now it is closed and heard from locals that it will shift to newer place soon
  • Marleshwar temple: known for the Cave Shiva Temple, where devotees handle venomous snakes
  • Malgund beach
  • Ganapatipule temple and beach

Other Travel blog on Konkan:
 Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy traveling.
Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune

18 comments:

  1. It is not easy to discover all places like you Priteshji, you are great, bcoz of you we come to know about these places,beaches, forts with detailed history... etc Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot for comment...Happy Traveling
      Regards,
      Pritesh Kulkarni

      Delete
  2. Dear Pritish,
    I have a group going to Bhigwan for bird watching on 14 Dec. I would like to know whether you will be able to join us as an expert naturalist. Looking forward to hear from you.
    Regards,
    (7757089334)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot for comment...Happy Traveling
      Regards,
      Pritesh Kulkarni

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment... Please avoid ads/website link in the comment... such post will be deleted

      Regards,
      Pritesh

      Delete
  4. Thanks for Good and detailed information. God bless you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot for comment...!!!
      Happy traveling :-)

      Delete
  5. It was a pleasure to read such a detailed post about the beauty of Konkan. Thank you for writing this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot for comment...!!!
      Happy traveling :-)

      Delete
  6. Wow, Pritesh! What an incredible account of your visit. It's such a small world. We haven't been in contact for years now but we've met several times and used to friends on Orkut, I think. Long, long time. I was just doing some research for pristine and relatively untouched beaches in Maharashtra with access to awesome food. Thankfully, I stumbled upon this post! What would you reckon is the occupancy at Oceano Pearl? And was the food there good? How far is it from the beach?
    Hope you are doing well. Pleasantly surprised to come upon this :)
    Best,
    Apoorva Joshi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Apoorva...Thanks for the post...Nice to meet you again!
      Ganeshgule beach is untouched beach...Oceano pearl is perfect resort and located close to beach. Distance between beach and resort is hardly 100 meter. Food was tasty....
      Pritesh Kulkarni

      Delete
  7. Dear All,

    Can you sugesset good site for konkan hotels i am want to book hotels anyware in konkan for 31 Dec.
    Want to stay with my Family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check my Blog for contact details from Konkan
      https://pritskulkarni.blogspot.in/2015/12/konkan-region-contact-details.html

      Delete
  8. Hi Pritesh,
    Wonderful blog !! I need to know if you could suggest me some beaches around ganpatipule like bhatye, ganeshghule, bhandarpule etc. are safe for camping ? We friends are keen to do private camping on one of these beaches.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. bhandarpule and Ganeshgule are safe place for beach Camping. you need to inform locals before setting camps on beach.

      Delete
  9. Hi Pritesh,
    Thank you for sharing your experience. It was a lovely read.
    It's that kind of blog that makes you want to pack your bags, call your buddies and leave for a trip within minutes!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which
    blog platform are you using for this site? I'm getting sick and tired of
    Wordpress because I've had problems with hackers and I'm looking at
    alternatives for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me
    in the direction of a good platform.

    ReplyDelete