Why is a visit to a beach so much fun?
Is it because of the tranquil sound of waves?
Is it the amazing views of the rising and setting Sun?
Could it be because of any of these other reasons – adrenaline pumping water sports, solitude or an opportunity to get away from our strained work life?
It is a combination of all these, and more!
I was thinking of my previous college trips to the Ganapatipule when was I was studying in Mumbai. Yes! It was the last outing with my friends after graduation and I remember how much we enjoyed ourselves there. These memories came back when one of my neighbors, who had recently visited this tourist spot, was telling me about some new attractions to there.
I now live near the opposite coast of India in another amazing city called Vijayawada. However, a desire to revisit this beach grew. Therefore, I suggested to my family that we travel there during the long upcoming weekend.
It was decided that we leave for Ganpatipule on Thursday early morning train and return by Sunday evening. My whole family …wife, parents and my college-going kids waited in pleasant anticipation of the trip.
Ganpatipule is some 375 kms from Mumbai south and nearer to Ratnagiri, just 25 kms away. A small beach town it is also famous due to the holy Ganpatipule temple.
- Ganpatipule Beach
The first stop of our first day in Ganpatipule was the beach. We were treated to white silky beach sand, clean environs and cool breeze that really assuaged our stressed nerves. However, the sea here is not safe for swimming because it is deep and rocky.
My children did have a gala time indulging in many water sport activities. Maharashtra Tourism has provided for water sports activities such as Motor boat, water scooter, rowboats, pedal boats, paragliding, jet skiing, kayaking, snorkeling, parasailing, banana boat ride, aero boat and scuba diving. These facilities can be availed during the tourist season from November to May.
We stayed back in an MTDC resort. Some popular ones that one can choose from are MTDC resort, Greenleaf Resort, Areopagus Spa, Abhisek Beach “Resort, Hotel Bhakt Nivas and Hotel Heramb
- Ganpatipule Temple
After spending a day on the beach, we chose the next day to see other attractions around this small town. My parents had a good darshan of Lord Ganesh at the Ganpatipule Temple located on one side of the beach.
This temple is home to an ancient 400-year-old statue of Lord Ganesh. Folklore tells a story about how Lord moved from his original abode in a place called Agargule to this place called due to remarks of a woman.
The idol, of Lord Ganapati or Ganesha as he is also called, is a swaymbhu, meaning self-born as it was not made by any artist. He faces west unlike other idols which face the East. Like other pilgrims we took a parikrama of the hill where this temple to seek the Lord’s blessings.
- Magic Garden
Our next stop was the Magic garden. It is a new attraction, just opposite to another popular spot called Prachin Konkan museum.
It is open from 8 am until 10 pm. One can also book tickets online. The space has been maintained very well.
Some highlights here are Mirror maze, adventure show, ghost in Konkan show and Infinity hall. We enjoyed the live magic show too. My mother, an artist herself, praised the art exhibition of local artists. Though my children are college going, they enjoyed a 3D show in mini theatre and the horror house just like young kids. All of us had our lunch at the food centre in the premises serving mouth-watering vegetarian food.
- Prachin Konkan Museum
About 1 km away from Ganpatipule is Prachin Konkan Museum. It is spread over an area of 3 acres. The museum is best explored with the help of a registered guide.
The life-size exhibits represent the Social, economic religious background of people of Konkan since ancient times. Small village scenes created here depict rural life. Models of artisans, weavers, pot makers, shoemakers, basket weavers, ironmongers, and villagers wearing traditional costumes, few equipments, weapons and vessels are amazing high-points of this exhibition.
One cannot stop also admiring the replicas of Marine forts of Ancient Konkan that depict the grandeur of Konkan history. A shell museum and a souvenir shop completed were heavily crowded.
There is a viewing platform to have a glimpse of Ganpatipule beach here. Food-enthusiasts can relish local favorites such as Thalipeeth Kokum sherbet, Modak and Aluwadi in the food courts here.
- Shree Mahalakshmi’s House Of Wax
We also visited the Shree Mahlakshmi’s House of Wax. Here you can view wax statues of famous personalities, cinema stars, politicians and sportsmen. Since photography was allowed, we took selfies with statues of Amitabh Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan. There were many more amazing wax exhibits made by local artists.
- Kavi Keshavsoot Smarak
Kavi Keshavsoot Smarak is located in the birthplace of the great poet Marathi Keshavasoot. It is some 2 ½ Kms away from the beach. This great poet’s famous poem Tutari can be heard on the soundtrack of the Marathi film Harishchadrachi Factory that was nominated for the Oscars. If you are a literature-lover, do not miss a chance to visit this well-maintained Smarak.
- Jaigad Fort and Light house
On Saturday, we decided to visit the Jaigad Fort located 19 kms away from Ganpatipule. It is located at the meeting point of Shastri river and the Arabian Sea. Many parts of the fort are intact. One can see the strong fortifications and the palace of Kanhoji Angre, the builder of this fort and commander-in-chief under Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj inside.
The British built the Jaigad lighthouse in 1932. The specialty of this lighthouse is that it was built completely with cast iron.
The best time to visit is after monsoons between October to May. Nearest airport is Mumbai. Ganpatipule is 375 kms away from Mumbai and 331 from the city of Pune by road.
The nearest railway head is Ratnagiri and it is connected to many major cities like Bikaner, Coimbatore, Mumbai, Goa and Mangalore
If you are taking the road route, you can avail the services of either State Road transport or private buses and cars People living in Maharashtra can take direct buses from the Miraj, Pimpri-Chinchawad, Sangli, Kolhapur, Panjim, Pune, Chiplun or Ratanagiri to reach this incredible beach.
After exploring the fort and the lighthouse, we returned to the hotel for lunch and headed to the beach for relaxing. In the evening, we were ready for the journey back luggage brimming with freshly made memories.