Pristine waters, never-ending stretches of gold and silver sand, rays of sunlight gently kissing the swinging palms, waves gently brushing the sand on the shore, accompanied by a mild breeze – Welcome to Ganapatipule Beach, one of the various virgin beaches of Maharashtra. Ganapatipule is located 375kms south of Mumbai alongside the Konkan coast.
The place – Ganapatipule
The Swamyambhu Ganapathi Temple, a 4000 year old landmark lies nuzzled in green pastures. Swayambhu means ‘self-made’, this temple has a self-built idol of Lord Ganapathi. Thousands of devotees and tourists throng this religious - holiday destination year after year. Ganapatipule, the name of the village is composed of two words, Ganapati means the Lord of the ‘ganas’ or army and pule means sandbank. Ganapatipule is among the ‘Ashta Ganapatis’ (eight Ganaptis) of India. This place is popularly referred to as the ‘Paschim Dwar Devatha’ meaning Western sentinel God.
Ganapatipule, a tiny village has tranquil, unpolluted, and serene surroundings. Ganapatipule Beach is still pristine, sparkling, and natural, as it has always been for years. Traveling to this place through the Konkan stretch is a wonderful experience by itself. The entire stretch is lush green and filled with mango, coconut, betel nut and jackfruit trees. The local people are very warm and friendly and make all visitors feel at home.
The climate is hot and humid as it is a coastal settlement, but the heat and sultriness are bearable in the face of the clean and non-polluted environs of Ganapatipule. Winter is pleasant and temperature drops during the night. Between June and October it is rainy season, summers are very hot.
As this place is considered holy to the Hindus, non-vegetarian food is an unusual affair. Modak is the popular food here; curries cooked in coconut base are also very tasty. On the outskirts of Ganapatipule fish curry, kokam kadhi, and rice are very tasty. This place is well-known for the mangoes they grow; never miss to pack some while you are there.
Ganapatipule is accessible by air, rail and road. You can access this place from Mumbai (375kms), Belgaum (299kms) and Pune (331kms). The nearest airport is at Belgaum. Ratnagiri is the nearest and convenient railway station that connects to Ganapatipule.
Places of interest
Malgund: Malgund, a small beautiful village, is the birthplace of the famous Marathi poet Keshavsoot. This place is located just a kilometer away from Ganapatipule. The house of the poet has been renovated and converted into a student’s hostel.
Jaigad Fort: This famous fort stands tall on a cliff and offers a magnificent view of the beach. The Fort lies at the entry level of River Sangameshwar and is located 35 kms from Ganapatipule.
Pawas: A serene and calm place, Pawas also houses the Ashram of Swami Swaroopanand.
Velneshwar: This is a very small village located at about 170 kms from Ratnagiri. This place is ideal for different water sports. The beach and the rocks in this area are very clean and the sea is open. An old Shiva temple near Velneshwar is regularly visited by pilgrims and tourists.
Ratnagiri: The Konkan coast lies on the western side of India and is picturesque and verdant. Ratnagiri is a popular and famous district in the Konkan coast. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the famous freedom fighter was born here. Tilak Smarak, his house is an attraction for all visitors. The Patit Pawan Mandir built by the revolutionary leader Swatantryaveer Savarkar is famous as this was the first temple built for non-Brahmins. Other attractions include Bhatye Beach, The Coconut Research Center, Ratnadurg Fort, Bhagwati Bunder (Sea Port) and The Seafood Processing Centre at Mirya. Do not miss the Thebaw Palace that it was built for the King and Queen of Burma (now Myanmar) in 1910 - 11.