INDIA TRAVEL - GANPATIPULE BEACH AND TEMPLE - LEAST EXPLORED BUT MOST BEAUTIFUL

Hi Guys! India has so many amazing places, some of them very well known and traveled. However, there are many more places, which are truly majestic but are unknown or less traveled.
One of such places is Ganpatipule. It is a small town in Ratnagiri district of state of Maharashtra, in western India, along the Konkan coast. It is located around 25 km(15 mi) from Ratnagiri city.
Ganpatipule is an ideal getaway for tourists, backpackers, adventure seekers and pilgrims , beach lovers and peace seekers alike.
It has amazingly serene surroundings with one of the most spectacular beaches on the Konkan coast. The temple of Swayambhu Ganesh(self originated Ganesh) is a major draw here and is visited by thousands of people every year.
Ganpatipule has many villages full of greenery and stunning scenery. Marathi is the main language spoken here. However, Hindi and English are also understood here. Agriculture is the main occupation of the locals here and rice and coconut are the main crops. People celebrate two major festivals here namely Gauri Ganpati and Magh Chaturthi.

HISTORY OF GANPATIPULE - As per the Hindu folklore, Lord Ganesha was taunted by a native lady for some reason. He took umbrage at this and decided to shift his abode from original Gule to Pule, a few km away. Thus the name was given to the town, Ganpatipule. The temple has a 400 year old idol of Lord Ganesha, also called Ganpati, which is believed to have sprung up from the soil on it's own. Another legend has it that town got it's name from the white sand of it's beach. White sand is called Pule in Marathi language.

SWAYAMBHU GANESH TEMPLE - This is a pilgrim site for Hindus. The 400 year old Ganesh idol is situated here. It is made of white sand or pule . A peculiar aspect of this temple is that the Ganesh idol here faces west, whereas idols in other Hindu temples face east. It is said that idol was situated facing west because Lord Ganesh protected western gates or pashchim dwar and is called Pashchimi Dwarpalak(western gates protector). The temple is located at the base of a hill. Pilgrims consider it sacred to walk around the hill, called Parikrama or Pradakshina as a mark of respect.
Another Ganesh idol, made of copper, is kept in the sanctum sanctorum. It shows him riding a lion. The idol of mooshak(mouse, Lord Ganesha's vehicle), also made of copper, is placed outside the temple. The best part is that the temple is located at the sea shore.


Image of Swayambhu Ganesh Temple
SWAYAMBHU GANESH TEMPLE
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Night view of Swayambhu Ganesh Temple
SWAYAMBHU GANESH TEMPLE AT NIGHT
Temple Visit Time - 6 am to 9 pm

GANPATIPULE BEACH - This is one of the only two white sand beaches in the Konkan region and the cleanest one. The beach is 6 km(3.8 mi) long. It is surrounded by mangroves and coconut palms and is very rich in flora. The beach here has clear blue water. The temple on the shore gives it a soothing look. Ganpatipule beach has many shacks and has facilities for horse and camel riding. Apart from that you can enjoy water sports also. 

Blue water of Ganpatipule beach
GANPATIPULE BEACH
Image of Ganpatipule beach
CALM SEA AT GANPATIPULE BEACH

PLACES AROUND GANPATIPULE
1. Jaigad Fort - The place where Shastri river and Arabian sea meet is called creek of Jaigad. To protect this creek, two forts were built. Jaigad in south  and Vijaygad in north. Jaigad fort is situated on a cliff and provides a magnificent view of the sea as well as almost perfect view of village life of Konkan. It is situated around 20 km(12.5 mi) from Ganpatipule and is easily accessible by a scenic road.
Jaigad fort is a protected monument and comes under Archaeological Survey of India(ASI).
The construction of the fort was started in the 14th century but was completed only in the 17th century bu Sultan of Bijapur. It was named after Jayba Mahar, who sacrificed his life in building the fort. Kanhoji Angre, commander in chief during Shivaji's regime, conquered the fort and Shivaji controlled it for sometime and then handed it over to Pashvas, before British gained control of this fort in the year 1818.

Jaigad fort, Ganpatipule
JAIGAD FORT
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Jaigad fort view
VIEW FROM JAIGAD FORT
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Jaigad fort is spread over an area of 4 acres and it's outer walls and ramparts are still intact. It is surrounded by moats and strong bastions on the southern side.
There is a Ganpati temple and three wells inside the fort. In the center of the fort lies the palace of Knhoji Angre. A government rest house is also situated inside the fort premises.

How to reach - Local transport is easily available from Ganpatipule to travel to Jaigad fort.

2. Lighthouse - About 6 km (3.8 mi) from Jaigad fort is the Lighthouse. It was built in 1932 and is still fully operational. It's uniqueness is that it is built completely from Cast Iron. It provides a breathtaking view of the coast and the sea and it's surroundings. Your vehicle can reach right at the doorstep of the lighthouse by a tar road.

3. Prachin Konkan Museum - Located just 1 km (0.6 mi) from the Ganpatipule beach and just 600m from bus stand, this is an open air museum. Built by Vaibhav Sardesai in the year 2004, it gives a detailed view of the local life in Konkan besides providing employment opportunities to the local people. The museum not only depicts various professions of local people but also local deities besides old barter system. It also has sculptures of Shivaji Maharaj, showcasing historical moments. It also displays models of amazing sea forts of Konkan region.
Prachin Konkan Museum has a separate exhibition counter of sawantwadi wooden handicrafts. You can buy memorabilia and souvenirs.

Prachin Konkan Museum, Ratnagiri
PRACHIN KONKAN MUSEUM
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Picture of Prachin Konkan Museum
INSIDE PRACHIN KONKAN MUSEUM
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A very interesting part of the museum is Nakshatra Baug. This is a garden, which has tree for each of the sunsigns.
It's lush green surroundings are a paradise for bird watchers as trees in the museum are home to so many species of the birds from the region. To add to this, there is a small exhibition which tries to display birds and fishes found in the region.

Timings - 8.30 am to 6 pm
Tickets - INR 40 with guide

4. Malgund Village - Just 1 km from Ganpatipule is Malgund village, which is the birth place of famous Marathi poet Keshavasuta. He was born in the year 1866 and is regarded as the one who heralded the dawn of Marathi poetry. Malgung has a monument dedicated to his work. There is a museum also which has detailed information on most of the modern dat Marathi poets. Nirmal Nagari of Her Holiness ShreeMataji Nirmala Devi is also located here.

5. Gaywadi Beach - Situated near Malgund village, it is considered to be the hub of water sports activities. It is again a very clean beach and you can enjoy paragliding, motorboat, scooter and pedal boat rides here along with swimming. Gaywadi is 2.5 km(1.5 mi) from Ganpatipule. Water sports activities are made available between November and May. 

Gaywadi Beach, Ganpatipule
GAYWADI BEACH
Google images

6. Velneshwar Village - Situated north of river Shastri, this village has it's own beautiful and peaceful beach surrounded by coconut palms. You can relax here in tranquility. This quiet village comes alive once every year on the occasion of Mahashivaratri festival, when there is a mega fair and pilgrims in large numbers visit the old Shiva temple. Legend has it that a local fisherman found a Shiva statue in his net while catching fish. He threw it back into the sea. But again he found the same statue in his net a second time and in anger, he banged the statue on the ground. To his surprise, the statue started bleeding. He then kept it in a small temple nearby, which later became Velneshwar Shiva Temple.

How to reach Velneshwar - It is situated at a distance of 41(25 mi) km from Ganpatipule and local transport is easily available from there to reach Velneshwar.

7. Aare Ware Beach - Located at a distance of 8 km(5 mi) from Ganpatipule, this is another pristine beach, which is still unexplored as compared to other beaches. It is a very clean beach with clear water. The green and peaceful surroundings will mesmerize you. There is very less human activity around here, so it is ideal for spending some peaceful and leisure time. But you have to be careful if you plan to swim here as in case of an emergency, you may find it difficult to find help.


AARE WARE BEACH
Google images

WHEN TO VISIT - The most comfortable and pleasant season in Ganpatipule is winter(October to February). Although temperature starts rising in March but doesn't cross 30 degrees Celsius. May is the hottest month with temperature touching 40 degrees celsius. June to September are the monsoon months when rail is regular.

HOW TO REACH GANPATIPULE - 
Air - The nearest airport is Ratnagiri, which is about 30 km(19 mi) from here. You can get taxis from here to reach Ganpatipule. However, this is not a major airport. The nearest major airports are Mumbai(352 km/220 mi) and Pune(335km/210 mi). There are regular flights from all parts of India to these two major cities. From there you can hire a taxi to Ganpatipule.

Rail - The nearest railway station is Ratnagiri, which is about 25 km(15 mi) away. It is well connected to all parts of India. You can hire a taxi from here. State transport buses are also regularly available from here to reach Ganpatipule.

Road - Ganpatipule is well connected by road. It is about 370km(234 mi) from Mumbai and 335km(210 mi) from Pune. You can hire a taxi from these cities to reach there. Alternately, private operators run bus services from these two cities to Ganpatipule.

WHERE TO STAY - The best option to stay in Ganpatipule is the MIDC Beach Resort, run by government of Maharashtra. It's location is ideal, overlooking the beach. And it is reasonably priced too with good amenities. Apart from this, there are other luxury and budget hotels in Ganpatipule, where you can stay.

So if you are looking for a peaceful stay in picturesque surroundings, or want to indulge in some adventure water sports or want to see stunning beaches, head straight to Ganpatipule.

HAPPY TRAVELLING!!

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