Saturday, 16 June 2012

Weekend trip to Kondye, Rajapur in Konkan

We (Me and my wife-Renuka) decided to take a break from coastline trips during monsoon. But we got an opportunity to visit Rajapur and surrounding area on monsoon weekend in the month of June.  My Parents-in-law wanted to visit Rajapur for their personal work for 2 days and they asked us to join them. Saying No to them as well as for Travel/Trip was difficult for me and another trip was planned.
               Our stay was at Relative’s place in Kondye village which is 12km from Rajapur on Mumbai-Goa National highway (NH-17). Unlike other trips, this trip was limited to some relaxing time and experiencing the Kokani lifestyle.

Kokani lifestyle

About Rajapur
Rajapur is a city in Ratnagiri district, Maharashtra state. It is famous for Alphonso (Haapoos mango in Marathi) and a holy place "Rajapur Ganga".  It is a hub for business activity for the surrounding many small villages. Distance from Pune is approximately 330-350km.
             Best way to reach Rajapur is Pune - National Highway 4 (NH 4) –Kolhapur – Gaganbawada – At Gaganbawada chowk take right for state highway 114 – Ghat road – Take a right turn at Madhuban hotel for National highway 17 – Rajapur.
             We left Pune on Friday night i.e. on 15th June 2012 and back home on Monday early morning i.e. on 18th June 2012.

Day 0 (June 15, 2012): Pune to Kondye, Rajapur (Distance traveled: 412km)
             We started our journey at around 11.30 PM on a Friday Night. For convenience, we hired a Sumo Grande car with young and experienced driver. I and Renuka were back up drivers for night journey if needed.

Day 1 (June 16, 2012): Pune - Kondye, Rajapur and untouched Gavkhadi beach
             Our entire night journey was memorable. The driver was completely aware of roads but due to midnight time, we took a right turn at Karad city. We were supposed to take a right turn at Kolhapur for Gaganbawada ghat but now we were on koyananagar ghat. This was the longest route and our total distance became 412km. Drive through Koyananagar ghat was a thrilling experience. Road condition in ghat was good but once you finish with ghat section road, quality becomes little bit bad.
                Our route was Pune – Karad – Koyananagar ghat – Chiplun - National highway 17 – Pali – Lanja – Rajapur - Kondye village.

Morning at Chiplun
              We took our first pit stop at Chiplun in the early morning for tea and then moved ahead for Rajapur. Showers of rain welcomed us when we reach nearby Ratnagiri on NH-17. Sahyadri hills, which were completely covered by cloud, were giving us a spectacular view. After few hours of curvy driving on the highway, we reached Rajapur. Our destination i.e. Kondye village was just 11-12km away from Rajapur.


             By 8.30 in morning, we reached our relatives place. Their house was typically Konkani style house with a lot of greenery and with a huge farm of different trees (Wadi in Marathi) like Coconuts, Alphonso, jackfruit and many more.  It was raining so we were feeling a bit cold. They welcome us with a cup of coffee/tea and nice breakfast. Kondye village is a very small village and blessed with beautiful surrounding nature. House location itself is a great stress relieving place. After heavy breakfast, we took rest. It was necessary as in entire night journey I was not able to sleep for a minute.


                We woke up at noon for tasty lunch and again took a power nap. The evening was free so we decided to visit nearby Beach. We got to know about one beach which was about 45 km away from Rajapur. No official name for that beach but local call it as Gaonkhadi Beach as it is located near Gaonkhadi village.
              The route to visit Gaonkhadi beach is Rajapur – left turn after LPTV Relay center – State highway 112 – follow the same route and DO NOT take a right turn for Jaitapur – Kasheli Gaon – Gaonkadhi village – Gaonkhadi beach.

Road to Gaonkhadi beach

Gaonkhadi beach
              Beach is untouched, very cleaned and maintained by villagers. No tourists and food stall which makes this place very clean and beautiful. The first time we saw black color sand on the beach. Beach lovers will definitely fall in love with this place. Don’t tell anybody that I told you about this hidden heaven from Konkan. The weather was cloudy and due to the monsoon winds, the sea waves were very rough. We enjoyed in the water considering a safe distance. The small hill is just aside from beach so if you want to have a look of the entire beach then a small hill climbing can fulfill your wish. Do not miss the classic view of the sunset and keep your camera ready to capture it.

Black color sand on Beach

Gaonkhadi beach


Beach view from small hill

Sea Wave Splash

              Purnagad (Purna = complete; gad = Fort) is just 2 km from Gaonkhadi beach. It is said that Shivaji Maharaj stopped his fort construction after this fort hence the name Purnagad (fort). According to some pieces of evidence, the fort was built by Sekhoji Angre, son of Kanhoji Angre. One can view the entire fort premises in a sight. The fort is having two doors, one facing east and the other facing west directions. The fort is very close to the village – Purnagad which is a 10 minutes’ walk. The main entrance door is a very robust structure between the two bastions.

Purnagad (Only this Photo was taken from Google images)
                During our return journey, we went to Adivare village to visit Mahakali (Hindu Goddess of time and death), Temple.  We reached home in Kondye village by 10pm. There was not a single drop of rain in evening but when we reached home it started raining heavily.

  • Toll on NH-4 (Khed-Shivapur): INR 70/- one-way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Anewadi-Satara): INR 50/- one-way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Taswade): INR 58/- one way
  • Toll on Koyananagar Road: INR 20/- one way

Day 2 (June 17, 2012): Rajapur local sightseen and Rajapur to Pune by Gaganbawda (Distance traveled: 344 km)
               We decided to relax on Sunday and just roam around and explore nearby area. We went for a long walk in their farm and then had heavy and tasty breakfast.  My Parent-in-law went to work and we gave the company. We made the right decision, as we witnessed a very old Konkani house. We saw around 250 years old house. The owner still stays in the same house and it was never renewed yet.  Too many rooms in the house and every room have its own purpose behind construction.

200 years old Konkani House

               After their work now it’s again time to visit some local sightseeing places and Rajapur Ganga was on top priority. It is hardly 1 - 1.5 km away from Rajapur. Ganga River in India considered Holy River and In Hinduism, the river Ganges is referred to as Ganga goddess whereas Hindus who believe that bathing in the river causes the remission of sins. At Rajapur it appears once in 3 years. This place is usually dry. However, all of a sudden water started flowing in kundas (Ponds). Barring exceptions, usually, it happens once in 3 years. Small tanks are built for storing water and facilitating bathing. Surprisingly water temperature in these tanks is different from each other, though those are at distance of 1 meter from each other. Usually, Ganga appears in summer and then she disappears when she decides. Even during rainy season, not a single drop of water stays in these Kundas even after she disappears. Longest stay of Rajapur Ganga in history was for 115 days. Millions of people visit Ganga for bathing when she appears. One of the biggest ponds, 'Kashikund' delivers clean water like glass and people believe that bathing in this water will relieve them of sins.

Rajapur Ganga


               We were lucky as when we visited this place, Ganga Mata (water flow in kundas) was there. Water flow was very low and we got to know that now it will disappear within few days.
               A half a mile below Rajapur Ganga, there is a place called Ushnodak Tirth in Unhale which is a continuous flowing hot water stream running throughout the year. Separate arrangements have been made for men and women to take bath in this water. This water contains a small amount of Sulphur in it and therefore it is believed to have medicinal values. People with skin and arthritis problems can benefit from taking bath in this water. The place was good but not maintained by local people.

Great Pied Hornbill

Unhale: Hot water stream
               We came back home for lunch and then had a much-needed power nap. We left Kondye village by 6 in evening. This time we took the proper route via Gaganbawda (Not Gaganbawda ghat but this ghat route join Gaganbawda at the top) as mention earlier. During ghat climbing, there was heavy rain storm with dense fog.  Driving safely was a skillful job in such condition which was done by our driver in a clean manner. What a Thrilling experience and also we saw 2 landslides so most of the member of the car was praying for safety. Not a single vehicle was spotted during climbing. Finally, we were done with the thrilling experience and took dinner break in Kolhapur city.
              With memorable weekend moments, we reached home safely by via NH-4 route by 2.30 AM on Monday. 
  • Dinner in Kolhapur at Gokul hotel: INR 100/- per head for snacks
  • Toll on NH-4 (Kini): INR 58/- one-way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Taswade): INR 58/- one way
  • Toll on NH-4 (Anewadi-Satara): INR 50/- one-way entry
  • Toll on NH-4 (Khed-Shivapur): INR 70/- one-way entry
 Places which we miss due to lack of Time:
  1. Kanakaditya Temple (Sun temple) in Kasheli:  Local says there are only 2 Surya Mandir (Sun temple); one in Konark (13th century Sun Temple at Konark, in Orissa) and another in Kasheli.
  2. Vetye beach nearby Adivare village: another untouched beach.
  3. Dhoot papeshawar Temple: Very old Lord Shiva Temple is situated at 1.5 km Rajapur and famous for the waterfall.
  4. Yeshwantgad, an island fortification: Very few local people are aware of this place and it will be on my must visit places list.
Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.
 Pritesh Kulkarni