A Bliss Called Ganpatipule!

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September 27, 2009 Navi Mumbai, India - This time we decided to explore the land of the Sahyadris or the places beyond the Western Ghats, the western coastal villages across India. Typically, this place is known as the land of the Konkanis. The Konkani region is truly blessed by the Mother Nature that makes it stand just next to the God’s own country – Kerala. Inspired by the floating myths about the Konkani people, boasting about their hospitable and friendly nature, we decided to experience it this time. What an awesome idea it was to spend a few days of our life in the village itself, living in the company of the people and experiencing their lifestyle and culture. Ganpatipule, a holy village in the district of Ratnagiri, Maharashtra State was the ultimate choice. It was a sure breather from the strenuous city life of Pune.

The journey began on the Saturday night from the Swargate, Pune bus station at 9:00 PM. I have deep regards for the state transport buses of Maharashtra esp. when punctuality and versatility is considered. So our journey that started just in time didn’t take us by surprise. Since it was a night journey, it was nothing we had to see outside the window. After a few pit stops, it was the sleep that became our priority. Of course, a sound sleep is hard to be grabbed while you are travelling, but we tried hard lest we might waste the next day sleeping.

We reached the Ratnagiri bus station before dawn and I believe it was quarter to 4 o’ clock in the morning. At around 6:15 AM, just when the early rays of the beautiful and lazy Sunday morning hit the land, we reached the village of Ganpatipule. I looked outside the bus window and the breathtaking view of the mighty Arabian Sea almost made me hold my breath for a while. I never expected any Indian village to be so beautiful as this. Our bus continued drilling its way through the ups and downs of the roads, between the mountains, leaving behind the lush green flora every single inch and moment of our journey towards the village.

At Ganpatipule, we always wanted to stay at the long heard MTDC Resort, but we were unfortunate to get a room given that it was Sunday and a long weekend. Nevertheless, it is no big deal to find a hotel, lodge or any sort of accommodation here. The so called hospitable Konkani people are always ready to earn a few bucks from you and sometimes even end up quarreling among themselves to drag you to stay at their place.


Shree Kshetra Ganpatipule - Situated at a distance of about 350 kms. to the south of Mumbai is the pleasant holy place of Ganpatipule on the sea shores of Ratnagiri District. The ancient holy place of Shree Ganpati had sprung from the mother earth on the foothills facing westwards with lush green surroundings and waves lashing to a height of 2-4 feet or more and with a strip of soft sand leading to the holy place.

Just as the several myths floating in the Hindu mythology, even this holy place has various myths but the one that was scribbled on the walls of the Ganapatipule temple itself is worth to be believed:

History of the holy place – During the Mughal reign, some years before 1600 A.D. in a small village lived Shri Bhide who had a problem with one of the cows who refused to give any milk, since few days confused and puzzled, his cowherd decided to keep a close watch on her. To his amazement, one day he saw something unbelievable. Milk was itself flowing from the cow’s udder on the reef. At the same time a strong religious feeling encircled Shri Bhide. He tidied up the place and built a small shack on the spot and regularly worshipped the reef as form of Ganapati. Gradually, all the villagers began considering the hill to be a holy place. Some years later, a noble minister Annaji Datto Sachiv of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built a small temple on the spot.

During our stay in the village, we visited the temple as regularly as twice a day. The west facing Lord Ganesha idol has a divine look. The statue is also visible from the sea shore provided the temple door is kept open. Devotees deeply believe in the holiness of the hill at which the temple is built upon.

We were lucky to have visited the village during the ongoing Navaratri Festival. The very next day of our stay here, we decided to join the villagers with their Pooja and rituals. Unlike the way the festival is being politicized in the Indian cities, there is one very good aspect of it I observed at Ganapatipule i.e. the celebrations are performed collectively at only single location called the Temple of Gramdevata. The villagers have a deep belief in their Gramdevata – Goddess Chandika Devi. Every night of the Navaratri brings in a schedule of activities which is appreciated by the villagers by due participation and devotion. The Aarti performed by them consists of chants of immense power – I was almost miraculously carried away by the harmony it created.

The people of Konkan are talkative and sometimes overfriendly. They are financially sound and are a true outcome of a blessed natural environment and its obvious gift. Although friendly, they are equally quarrelsome and notorious at times.

Marleshwar – Just 60 kms from Ganpatipule is a beautiful cave temple of Lord Shiva. Alternatively, Marleshwar is 38 km from Sangameshwar and 21 km from Devrukh. Marleshwar literally means the Lord of the village Marle. This temple is a Swayambhu (naturally formed) temple and has numerous myths associated with it. I am rather interested in the breathtaking beauty surrounded across this temple. In order to reach this cave temple, you need to climb more than 500 stairs which are beautifully built in between two mountains. While climbing these stairs you get to see a few waterfalls. Make sure you plan your visit during the rainy season (June – September) in order to experience the waterfalls in their best forms. Once you reach atop the temple, you would get a view of your life. The waterfall you observe from here is one of the best waterfalls in the world. Marleshwar is also known as the Kailasa of the Sahyadris. Just beware of the King Cobras around the place as the place is also known for the home of snakes at their natural best. Unfortunately, they were the monkeys that troubled us a lot on our way. Better surrender your eatables to them – they are always hungrier than you. Every year, during the festival of Makar Sankranti, thousands of devotees get together at Marleshwar near Devrukh city to attend the Marleshwar Yatra.

During our stint at Ganpatipule, we also managed to cover places like the Patit Pawan Mandir, The Birth Place of Lokmanya Tilak, The Paramhans Sadguru Swami Swaroopanand Samadhi Mandir, Pawas and the Bale (Ratnadurg) Fort which is just around the vicinity of the village.

22 comments :

  1. hey ...nice to know that you liked Ratnagiri...I am from chiplun...it is a lovely town with very good people( take me for example...:-p)...I agree konkan is really blessed with a lot of beauty

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  2. Indeed Shahid! It was a total bliss. Nice to know that you are from Chiplun. We happened to cross the Chiplun railway station on our way back to Mumbai. Konkan Railway was one of its kind - a must to go for esp. during the monsoon. It's just green that I could see even when I close my eyes :)

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  3. I dunno how you do that...see green with eyes closed...lol....I am glad you liked chiplun

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  4. Enjoyed reading about your trip. I was searching for a photo of the waterfall you mentioned

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  5. Lovely place... would love to go there someday. BTW, you could have uploaded some more snaps to make the travelogue more interesting.

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  6. Looks like you had a wonderful time! Superb account of your travel!

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  7. monkeys are something that i m afraid of the most

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  8. you have been tagged...click on this link to know more about it and pass on the tag too

    http://painofmylife.blogspot.com/2009/09/lets-play-tag.html

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  9. It was pleasant reading your experience. it is in these places that you get closer to the vein of India.Since Inida is essentially a spiritual country religious festivals tend to bring out the essence of community living.

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  10. Really liked the description of your trip. thanks for sharing your travelogue!

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  11. A well written travelogue. Enjoyed reading about your trip...

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  12. your blog design is superb! how did you do it? is it inbuilt or did you create some new design yourself? please do reply when you can - sundarivenkat@gmail.com

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  13. Hi Sundari, The blog template is customized... I do not remember where I actually started... Thanks for your interest!

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  14. hi,
    my complements for well written peice there.
    can u also give out details of some home stay places, may be name n contact no, to help others planning a similar trip.

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  15. Hi Samar, At Ganpatipule... you can try out the MTDC resort which is just close to the sea shore and the temple. For, everything else you really do not need to worry since there are ample lodges and home stays available in the vicinity of the temple!

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  16. Nice photos and writeup

    cheers
    Merwyn
    http://merwynsrucksack.blogspot.in/

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  17. We have a travel website which is a Maharashtra travel Guide in which we have a page for Ganpatipule with lot of information regarding the place. We also have information regarding Ganpatipule Hotels for which we have provided direct link to the hotel websites. In addition to that we have a portal with information exclusively about Ganapatipule which is www.ganapatipule.in


    We also have a page for blogs on Ganpatipule. Do let us know if you would like to feature your blog in the Ganpatipule Blogs page in puneritraveller.com.

    Please write to puneritraveller at gmail dot com

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  18. Ganpatipule is best place i have ever been.
    But when you visit ganpatipule the most important part is which hotel to stay.
    There are many hotels in ganpatipule which have created benchmark in providing services.
    One of the best hotels in ganpatipule is Disha residency.
    With best accommodation facilities and many more.
    To know more visit http://www.disharesidency.com/

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  19. The silver shaded beach and the lush greenery fascinate the visitor who comes back year after year... Ganpatipule Beach

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  20. Ratnagiri Property is great place for meditation, eco living and cultural place, it's best tourism place must visit yearly.. i found many informative info from this post and blog

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