Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ganpatipule – A Temple Town

For those who want to get under the skin of this state; Maharashtra, Ganapatipule is an unexpected starting point to discover the landscape, art, culture and history of Maharashtra.
Arrive at the beach down the winding roads from Ratnagiri and you are right by the Swayambhu Ganapati Temple, one of the paschim dwar devtas. The Swayambhoo Ganapati is very popular with the konkani people, who crowd it especially on Angar Ki Chathurvedi which is held once in every six months on a tuesday. There is an interesting Ganapati-shaped walk of 1km around the hill, which is called Pradakshina, a way of respect shown by the pilgrims to the deity. Walk out of the temple and you are right on the beach. Small shacks sell coconut water (no hard drinks allowed). If the romance of the setting wasn’t enough it is so sparsely populated that the tourists outnumber locals here!!
Jaigad Fort and Lighthouse
Now in ruins, the bastions famous 17th century fort offers spectacular views of the village and sea. Jaigad fort is a perfect place to have a picnic perched on a cliff overlooking the confluence of River Sangameshwar and the arabian sea. There is a small beach below which is safe for swimming. The fort is not too large but there is an interesting story about it. One side of the fort wall would keep crumbling inspite of repeated repairs. A poor local by the name of Jai decided to sacrifice himself and his wife to propitiate the gods and lift the curse. Since then the wall has stood firm and there is a small temple to pay respects to Jai. About 1.5 Km away lies the ancient Karateshwar Temple behind which steps lead to a cozy and secluded beach. The Jaigad Lighthouse was built by John Oswald in 1832.
ganpatipuleRatnagiri, the district town of Ganapatipule is an interesting halt for sightseeing. It houses the home of Lokmanya Tilak, now Tilak Smarak. The first ever temple built for non-brahmins called Patit Pawan Mandir, the Ratnadurga Fort, Bhagivati Bunder, a sea port and the Coconut Research Centre are some of the other places you could visit in and around Ratnagiri. Also, stop at Velneshwar, to visit the old Shiva Temple and the beach. If you want to continue with the temple excursion, there is Marleshwar, 60 km from Ganapatipule, home to the famous cave temple of Shiva and waterfalls and the Parshuram Temple, located 112 km from Ganapatipule.
One could relive moments from history, at Thibaw Palace, built in 1910, for the exiled King and Queen of Burma, and see their tombs.
There are a few Ganpatipule Hotels and resorts in Ganpatipule but the bunglows of Atharva residency is worth a look

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