Ganpatipule is a hamlet located in the Ratnagiri district of southwest Maharashtra in India and is around 375 kilometers from Mumbai by road.
Long stretches of beaches, sparkling waters, beautiful sunrises and sunsets and the famous 400-year-old Swayambhu temple of Ganpati are what make Ganpatipule an attractive tourist destination. Whether you take a drive or travel by train, the journey to Ganpatipule itself is exciting as you can experience the scenic surroundings of the Western Ghats that showcase a chain of green hills along the Konkan Coast.
What to see
While the pristine beaches and the Ganpati temple are the center of attraction, there are a few other places you could visit while at Ganpatipule.
Located a kilometer away, from Ganpatipule is Malgund village. This is the birthplace of the famous Marathi Poet Keshavsoot. The main attraction at Malgund is the renovated house of the poet that now serves as a student's hostel. Also check out the beautiful monument called 'Keshavsoot Smarak' constructed by the Marathi Literature Society in memory of this great poet.
The ancient Swayambhu Temple of Ganpati located in Ganpatipule is 400 years old. What's unique about the temple is the fact that the deity faces west (to guard the Western gates according to local legends) unlike other deities in Indian temples who face the east. The temple is situated at the base of a hill and all the pilgrims walk around the hill as a mark of respect.
Prominent for the ashram of Swami Swaroopanand (a spiritual leader who influenced an entire generation of Maharashtrians), Pawas offers a beautiful and serene atmosphere.
The Jaigad Fort located around 35 kilometers from Ganpatipule is nestled on a cliff just at the entrance of the Sangameshwar River. This 17th century Fort offers a breathtaking view of the sea. There is also a small beach here.
South of Ganpatipule lies Ratnagiri, birthplace of freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Tourist attractions here include the Bhatye Beach, The Coconut Research Center, Ratnadurg Fort, Bhagwati Bunder (Sea Port) and The Seafood Processing Centre at Mirya.
Velneshwar is situated around 170 kilometers from Ratnagiri and is an ideal destination for water sports as the beach is free of rocks. You can also visit an old Shiva temple if you want some quiet time.
Ganpatipule offers a number of opportunities for excursions into remote fishing hamlets, villages and towns of the Konkan. Check out these excursion spots.
- Marleshwar - Located 60 kilometers from Ganpatipule, famous for its Shiva temple and waterfall.
- Derwen - Located 85 kilometers from Ganpatipule, popular for the Shiv Shristi (an exhibition on Chhatrapati Shivaji).
- Parshuram - Situated 112 kilometers from Ganpatipule and famous for the Parshuram temple.
Gauri Ganpati and Magh Chaturthi are the most important events in the entire Konkan region and celebrated on a grand scale at Ganpatipule too. Holi, Gudi Padva and Diwali are also celebrated.
How to get here
The nearest airport and rail station is in Ratnagiri (50 kilometers away). Buses are frequently available from Ratnagiri to Ganpatipule. Tourists can also drive down to Ganpatipule from Mumbai, Pune, Kolhapur or Belgaum.
Accommodation and food
Tourists can stay at the MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) resort situated on the beach. This apart, a number of budget and economy hotels are also available. You can also opt for sea view cottages, tents and Konkani houses most of which are privately owned and might be more expensive.
Mostly, vegetarian food is available at Ganpatipule as it is a pilgrim center. If you venture out into the outskirts, you will find non-vegetarian food available too.
Look out for fine fruits produced using horticulture and a variety of local preparations. The specialties include ambapoli and phanspoli - thin pancakes made of dried and crushed mango and jack fruit. Ganpatipule is also famous for its crop of mangoes especially during the summers.
Remember Wear loose cottons during summer and warm clothing in winters. Do not forget to carry your swimming costumes if you want to venture into water sports. You can walk your way through the town. Rickshaws are available for short distances. The best time to visit Ganpatipule is between June and October (just after the monsoons).