By Upasana Sharma:Â
Sparkling blue waters, an endless stretch of white and golden sand, the sound of waves playing with the sand dunes, innumerable trees of mangoes, coconuts and cashews and the cool breeze whispering sweet nothings into your ears. This breathtaking scene awaits you in Ganapatipule, an almost virginal and naturally beautiful beach in Maharashtra, along the Konkan coast line.
Ganapatipule, each year is flooded with beach lovers and pilgrims alike. The temple of “Swayambhu Ganapati” i.e. an idol believed to have sprung up from the soil on its own, is a highly revered place of worship, thronged by thousands of believers every year. The interesting thing about the idol is that it’s the only idol in India to face west, unlike all others that face the east, and for this unique quality it is also known as the “Paschim Dwardevta” which means the western sentinel Lord of India.
A true manifestation of the magic of nature, Ganapatipule is a small and quiet town, seemingly hidden away from the commercial and busy world. Running along the Konkan coastline, the town is blessed with blue waters and clear skies, both of which seemingly meet at a breathtaking horizon. You can wonder watching the sunrise, marvel at the sunset and soak in the colours that the two get along, in the blue sky. These images will stay behind in your mind long after you have come back to your earth from this coastal heaven.
It is an ideal place for those seeking to break free from their routine lives and seeking moments of solitude, quiet and bliss. Sitting on the sand dunes, with feet soaked in the cold sea water, listening to the waves crashing on the shore, will make you feel far away from the hustle bustle of a city life.
The culturally inclined can interest themselves at Jaigad Fort, 15 kms away, a fort standing tall on a cliff, giving a breathtaking view of the sea and a unique insight into the Konkan village life. Also, the port city of Ratnagiri which is about 30 kms away, is a city of historical importance.Â This town has something for everyone. The peace seekers, beach lovers, pilgrims and thrill seekers. A beach called Gaywadi, along the same coastline, situated in Malgund, which is 1 km away from Ganapatipule, offers water sport rides to the thrill lovers. Jet Ski, Paragliding and banana boat ride among others are a few things that will satisfy adventure lovers.
The best time to visit Ganapatipule is between November and February. The winters are pleasant in the day and the temperature drops only in the night. The language spoken there is Marathi but the tourists speaking Hindi and English will not have any difficulty either.
Local shops can be tried out for shopping. They sell decorative household items made of sea shells. The modak, i.e. Lord Ganapati’s favourite food, can’t be missed.
The closest international airport to Ganapatipule is Mumbai, which is 375 kms away, and the nearest domestic airport is Kolhapur, being 144 kms away. After getting off at the airport, you can hire a cab or take a bus. By road, the scenic town is 30 kms off the Mumbai-Goa highway. There are direct buses plying from Pune (331 kms) and Kolhapur (144 kms). Since Ganapatiphule does not have a railway station, the closest and best connected railway station is Ratnagiri. Private cabs can be hired from Ratnagiri to get to Ganapatipule, with ease.
Whatever the mode of transport, the scenic views make sure that you relish the journey as much as the destination.