Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Konkan Escapade

I spent a good 5 days discovering Ganpathipule - a virgin beach on the Konkan coast. It was a thrill to discover a beach absolutely unpolluted by tourist traffic. I knew instantly this was going to be one of the best holidays (not that I have been on too many) I have had. The endless stretch of silver sands and sparkling blue water dancing merrily under the warm sun was intoxicating.

Maharashtrians say traveling to Ganapatiphule by road is a vacation by itself. The entire 'Konan' region is a paradise. There is something new to discover in whichever direction you go.

Our trip started out to be a disaster, for thrills we had decided to take the Maharashtra state transport (we obviously weren’t thinking). The driver had some crazy sense of punctuality I suppose, for he refused to stop anywhere on the 12 hour ride up and down the western ghat. Had he looked back or even glanced at his rear view mirror just once, he would have realized half the bus was throwing up.

The creek that that facilitates water sport and one can walk across it during low tide

After the roller-coaster-tummy-turning ride I got off the bus feeling wobbly, a fleeting glimpse of the beach was enough to replenish all my lost excitement. A huge beach blanket, beer and a lovely colourful sarong; I was ready to hit the beach and watch the gallant sunset (this became a ritual of sorts for the next five days).

We where put up at MTDC resort in one of their colourful miniature circus tents. Now I have never stayed in chirpy little tents so for me it was an adventure in itself. These tents were equipped with four beds, a cupboard, and a mirror. The washroom was common, however unlike most public places this was really well maintained and clean.

It is a 400-year old land of the swaymbhu ganpathi, that’s how it got its name Ganpathiphule. There are lots of places to visit in and around the place. We went to the Jaigarh fort, which is on a cliff, at the entrance of the Sangameshwar River about 35kms from Ganapatiphule. Jaigarh served as the naval base for Shivaji, the great king of the Maratha’s. He was the one of the first kings in India to have a naval base with a fleet of 500 ships.

This sun kissed maharashtrian beach sure is a place worth visiting once. I loved the tan I sported for weeks after the trip not only was it a pleasant reminder but also made me look wonderful, like some foreigner put it ‘A bronze statue’.

How to get there:

BY ROAD: Mumbai to Ganapatiphule (via Mahad) is 375 kms. Pune to Ganapatiphule (via satara) is 331 kms. Kohlapur to Ganapatiphule is 144 kms.

BY RAIL: The nearest railhead is Ratnagiri, 50 kms on the Konkan railway.


luNaTic said...

Ah! Now thats just what i was looking for. I'm a happy man, now. Thank You.