Mumbai to GanpatiPule- There is nothing to beat a Konkan getaway if you want to drink in the beauty of lush greens, clear, sparkling waters of pristine white beaches, and ancient, colorful temples each of which has a unique story to tell.
We decided to go on a road trip to Ganpatipule, a charming beach town on the Konkan coast of Maharashtra that had everything to offer to tourists of all kinds. A haven for beach lovers, the in-place for adventure lovers, and a resort for the religious-minded, Ganpatipule was sure-shot key to a refreshing and rejuvenating holiday.
What is so Special about the Place?
Ganpatipule lies at a distance of 342 km from Mumbai. Apart from its white pristine beach, Ganpatipule is best known for its 400-year-old Lord Ganesha temple. The temple houses a self-manifested idol of the Lord which is carved out of a huge rock. The ‘swayambhu’ idol was discovered several hundred years ago.
Another important feature of this place is that it still remains untouched by commercialism and hence becomes a perfect idyllic resort for people of all ages. Besides, adventure sports which are being offered during specific months of the year become an added pull for the brave hearts.
I recommend you to check out our exclusive Konkan Trip blog done on the bullet.
Best Time to Embark on Your Journey
Ganpatipule enjoys a warm and humid climate and therefore, the best time to visit this place is during the winter months. The weather is pleasantly cool around this period and hence November to February forms the best months to pay a visit. It is advisable to carry light woolens along with you.
Another good time to visit the place is during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. This is the time when weeklong festivities are held in the entire town and processions of Lord Ganesha are taken out around the place.
Monsoons are best avoided as the area experiences heavy showers during the rainy season.
How to Reach by Road?
There are two route options to reach Ganpatipule if you are travelling by road. The first option is:
- Mumbai to Ganpatipule via NH 66
This route covers Rasayani, Kolad, Khed, Chiplun, Kalambaste to reach Ganpatipule. The total distance required to travel is about 343 km under this route and will need around 7 hours or so to reach your destination.
- Mumbai to Ganpatipule via NH 48
This route covers Rasayani, Lonavala, Pune, Satara, Karad, Shahuwadi to reach Ganpatipule. The total distance to travel under this route is about 469 km and will need around 8 hours plus to reach your destination.
We had embarked from Mumbai in our vehicle and had a halt-over at Mahad to visit my grandparents. We began the next day morning and traveled via the NH66 route. Since we had a stopover at Mahad it was a relatively shorter distance to reach Ganpatipule having already traveled part of the way.
You can avail rickshaws or cabs or you can also obtain bicycles or motorbikes on hire. Chauffeur driven cars are also available.
Types of Accommodation Available
Ganpatipule has accommodation catering to all budgets ranging from decent homestays, lodges to luxurious hotel rooms. Today, though there are a number of luxury villas or laidback homestays the place has not lost its original ethos.
We had stayed at the MTDC holiday resort which had cottages adjoining the white sands of the beach. It is one of the best places to stay as you get mesmerizing views and sounds of the splashing sea waves, just a short distance away from your room. At night time the sea waves sing a soothing lullaby and you wake up to the faint sounds of the temple bells ringing early in the morning.
Besides the spellbinding view from the cottage, the main temple of Lord Ganesha is also very close by. The meals offered by the resort are delicious and scrumptious too with an option of veg. and non-veg fare.
Type of Food Available
You can relish some good Maharashtrian fare, both veg, and non-veg kind. Kokam curry, fish curry or sweets like ‘phanaspoli’ and ‘ambapoli’ are a few of the dishes that you must taste besides the famed steamed ‘modaks’ and Alphonso mangoes.
Things to do
- Visiting Beaches
- Visiting Temples
- Water Sport Activities
Ganpatipule is a town that is thronged largely by the religious-minded and those needing to relax in the lap of nature. Since the town is not yet commercialized in a big way shopping is limited to souvenir shopping or shopping for decorative seashell pieces or relics.
However, if you visit the place during the summer season then you can shop for the famed and popular Alphonso mangoes which can be got for very cheap prices as compared to those in big metros like Mumbai and Pune.
If you want to obtain an adrenalin rush you need to head to the varied water sports offered by the MTDC resort in Ganpatipule. These are available beginning from the month of November and continue till May.
The strong-hearted can test their strength through the exciting row-boating ride in the beach water or you can get a James Bond to feel whizzing through the sea waters on a water scooter or motorboat. Banana boating activity is best for family groups. You can also go paragliding, kayaking in addition to enjoying the camel and horse rides offered on the beach.
- Remember to have a stock of drinking water with you for the day while you indulge in water sports.
- Select only those operators equipped with all the necessary safety equipment.
- Do some stretching exercises before you go for the water sport activities.
Places to Visit
1) Ganapati Temple
The ‘swayambhu’ temple of Lord Ganesha is one of the top attractions of this place. The temple is located at the base of a hill adjoining the beach. The unique feature of the temple is that its presiding deity stands facing in the westward direction unlike those in other temples.
The idol of Lord Ganapati placed in the sanctum sanctorum which rides on a lion is made of copper while the self-manifested idol is made from a single huge rock. The placement of the deity is such that during sunset time, the idol is engulfed in a beautiful glow cast by the setting sun.
The timings of the temple range from 6 am to 9 pm.
2) Velneshwar Temple
Velneshwar which lies about 37 km from Ganpatipule is well-known for its ancient Lord Shiva temple. There are several shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Vishnu and Kala Bhairav in the complex. The temple witnesses a big crowd of devotees during Mahashivratri.
Another spot of attraction here is the Velneshwar beach. With Ganpatipule and Guhagar beaches adjoining on both sides, this beach with its virgin sands, smooth shoreline and swaying coconut palms is also a big pull for tourists. You can enjoy some good local cuisine here.
3) Ganpatipule Beach
The Ganpatipule beach is an idyllic location for all beach lovers and adventure enthusiasts. The pure white sands of this pristine beach, the clear waters of the sea, the mesmerizing sunsets, and the ringing bells of the Ganapati Temple close by offering a soothing ambiance to every visitor. The beach attracts a lot of visitors who wish to relax and experience some quiet moments in the midst of nature.
However, the waters are known to be treacherous and visitors are warned not to step into the sea.
As for the food variety, you can have your fill at any of the veg or non-veg restaurants in the area.
- If you are planning on spending some peaceful moments on the beach avoid visiting the place during important Ganapati festivals or peak season.
- Remember to don comfy clothes and footwear while on your visit.
Other nearby Beaches
If you want to taste more of the beach environment there are two more beaches close to Ganpatipule. These are the Bhandarpule beach and the Aare Ware beach which lie at a distance of 3.5 km and 9 km respectively from Ganpatipule.
Aare and Ware are two unspoiled beaches with clear blue waters and smooth sands while the sea waters of the Bhandarpule beach have a bluish-green hue to it. If one wants to go far away from the maddening crowds then these are the places to go. The utter solitude and peace that exists here can exist nowhere. And how can one forget the mesmerizing views of the sunset at the beaches here! They remain forever etched in your memory.
1) PrachinKonkan Museum
Another interesting place to visit is the PrachinKonkan Museum, an open-air museum that lies at a distance of about 1 km from the Ganpatipule beach.
The museum spans an area of 3 acres and showcases the way of life of the locals. It provides a glimpse into the Maratha history and has several sculptures of the Maratha ruler, ShivajiMaharaj as well as models of the majestic sea-forts of the region.
Another unique exhibit of this open-air museum is the Nakshatra Baug where each sun sign is depicted by a garden of trees. The museum is also a treat for bird lovers being home to a wide variety of bird species.
Entrance Fee: Rs 40 per individual (guide included)
Timings: 8.30 am to 6 pm
2) Jaigad Fort
The Jaigad fort which was once a strategic location of the Maratha Empire is located at a distance of around 14 km from Ganpatipule. Standing tall on a cliff, the fort offers a commanding view of the Arabian Sea and the ships sailing by.
Though the fort is largely in ruins, the stunning view more than makes up for the climb! The existence of a decent tar road enables you to drive up to the entrance of the fort.
The Jaigad lighthouse which is located close-by also needs to form a part of your visit.
Timings: 9 am to 4.30 pm
- It is best to visit the fort during broad daylight.
- It is advisable to travel in groups from a safety point of view in the absence of security guards at the site.
- Carry a stock of water during your visit.
- Walk carefully watching your steps.
The small hamlet of Malgund which lies at a distance of around 2.4 km from Ganpatipule is the birthplace of the famed Marathi poet KaviKeshavsoot. Interested visitors can pay a visit to his home which is now transformed into a student hostel. A memorial has been constructed in the poet’s honor hereby the Marathi SahityaParishad.
4) Thibaw Palace
The Thibaw Palace which once upon a time housed King Thibaw of Myanmar during the period of his exile is a must-visit site. It is at a distance of about 25 km from Ganpatipule and is a perfect spot for picnickers. The place offers stunning views of the sunset.
Must-Visit Sites along the Way
If you happen to drive your own vehicle as we did you can definitely take some time out to visit the following mentioned sites along the way.
1) Parashurama Temple at Chiplun
On your way to Ganpatipule, you can pay a quick visit to the Parshuram Temple located at Chiplun. The temple architecture is a blend of Hindu, Muslim and European styles; a one of a kind in the country. The sanctum houses three idols, the idol of Lord Parshuram, (the 6th incarnation of Vishnu) lies in the center with idols of Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma on each of its sides.
2) ‘Shivasrushti’ of Dervan
A detour of 2 km from Savarde village on the Mumbai-Goa highway will take you to this place. The place showcases important events in the life of Maratha ruler ShivajiMaharaj through the form of sculptures. The sculptures which have been etched on the walls of the Shivasamartha fort bring the historical events to life and leave you dazed and mesmerized at the skill of the artisans. The museum was created in honor of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj by social worker Sitarambuva Walavalkar.
Timings: 8 am to 6 pm
On a Concluding Note
We stayed at Ganpatipule for a couple of days and headed directly back to Mumbai refreshed and rejuvenated and loaded with a bagful of memories!