You get in to a weekend drive with totally no expectations. And get back with something wonderful. I’m sure nothing beats that feeling.
Experienced the same during a weekend getaway trip to Ganpatipule.
The route we took was on the Mumbai – Goa road via Panvel – Pen – Mangaon – Mahad – Khed – Chiplun – Sangameshwar – Chafe – Ganpatipule
Roadwise, 2 way road from Panvel to Chiplun, from there its only a single road and at places its a double road. But very nicely maintained road, a pleasure to drive. Traffic was only upto Chiplun and from there it was only wilderness. Almost 40% of the roads are Ghat like, not exactly Ghat but winding. 330Kms from Mumbai to Ganpatipule.
If you are planning to eat on the way, once you cross Panvel there are a few decent ones including a Kamath. Beyond that, its only manageable stuff only. Dont expect anything great.
We went in March and I’m sure the road must be driven across in monsoon, when everything turns green. In fact while coming back we took a detour from chafe and reached Chiplun via Sawarde. Little bad roads, but the views were amazing. Really amazing.
Stay in Ganpatipule is quite cheap, but the expensive place is the MTDC Resort. MTDC Resort serves decent food and definitely good compared to any other eatery in the vicinity. And the location of the resort is bang next to the temple and beach. You cant ask more.
The temple was a little different experience for the south Indian eyes which are used to see temples which sprawl in multiple acres. This is a nice small temple over looking the sea. Ganpati is swayambu here. And there is a calm place for sitting in front of God and make your wishes. It wasnt crowded when we went and the Darshan was really nice.
Coming to the beaches, Compared to the piece of dirty mass between land and sea in Mumbai, which is called as beach in Mumbai, this was heaven. The place near the temple is a little dirty owing to the crowd movement. There are boat rides available on the beach where they take you inside the sea for a quick ride. Not expensive though, these are 10 seater open boats and everyone was given a life jacket. Worth a try.
Apart from the beach near the Temple, I suggest you take a drive towards Jaigad Fort. You have two more beaches on the way. One is Gaywadi beach in Malgund, where you get to do a few Water Sports. A Jet Ski, Banana Boat and a ATV Ride. Much cleaner than the beach near the temple. Further down you’ll hit another beach, with virtually no one on the beach. Amazingly calm and very scenic.
Go further to Jaigad fort and get inside the Fort, climb up to see the amazing view of the ships piloted to the Jaigad port. You’ll be able to see the entire path from the open sea to the Port. But its a very sorry state of maintenance the Fort is going through. We saw a lot of cattle grazing inside and was not looking very safe for lone travellers.
While heading back, we took the road to Ratnagiri for a short while and bumped into another beach, this time, to the left side of the temple. Which climbed down from a cliff to the most beautiful beach, again, except a few family heads, virtually no one.
The drive took us around 7 Hours one way, owing to Mumbai city traffic and the narrow mindedness of a lot of drivers on the double road.
If you are looking for a beautiful beach, calm atmosphere and are willing to drive a bit longer, Ganpatipule is a place not to be missed.
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