Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Konkan Yatra - Day 5 - Ganpatipule, Jaigad Fort and places nearby

Day 5 (Ganpatipule - Ganpati Bappa Mourya!!)
          It’s such an arduous task to get up for office every morning. The alarm keeps ringing and you speak to it and say “5 minutes, just 5 more minutes” before you collapse yet again into your pillow.
          We didn’t need an alarm! The clock struck 6 and we were up and ready, packing our stuff and by 7 am, we were at the Ratnagiri bus-stop to catch the bus to Ganpatipule. That’s the power of a getaway!!
          Every destination on the Konkan plate is through ghats and ghats, turning and twisting like snakes, ascending and descending like a yo-yo. Through the Sagari marg, we reached Ganpatipule in about an hour. The bus stopped pretty close to the temple. Even though it was off-season, there were the hotel guys standing at the bus-stop to persuade you to stay at heir hotel. We thought of having a look at the MTDC before making a decision. The MTDC proved to be costly for us bag-packers and we didn’t look further and agreed to accompany the guy with the Scorpio to take us to his hotel as Nagesh was dying to sit in the Scorpio – the snake on the scorpio…haa!!
          After having a round table conference and thinking of all the pros and cons and in the benefit of the country and mankind, we decided to stay at ‘Konkan Sea View’ which is far from the beach and temple. However, the good thing was that the hotel provided pick-up and drop services anytime you wanted to get down to the temple till 8 pm. We also opted for their planned tour of visiting the nearby places. The room was in okay condition but we got it cheap for INR 800. There was no sea facing view which the tout had promised. Hot water was available and the toilets were in good condition. We had to ask the guy multiple times for cleaning up the room though and room service was a bit lousy. There is no dearth of accommodation in Ganpatipule and most of them you will find near the temple and beach itself. Most of the eateries are also in the line of the temple itself.

Ganpatipule Temple & Beach

Ganpatipule Temple
         The tour started with us visiting the Ganpatipule temple. We 6 people had an entire TATA Winger to ourselves and the trip was to cost us INR 900 i.e. INR 150 each. The Swayambhu Ganesh temple is what gives this place its fame. It is flocked by thousands of worshippers throughout the year. This deity faces the West, so as to guard the western gates, unlike deities in other Indian temples who face the east. It is a neat temple having carvings of AsthaVinayak Ganpati on its outer walls along with other Goddesses. There is a huge mouse at the entrance of the way to the temple. The temple has a shining ‘Kalash’ and ‘Trishul’ on its top. The temple is overlooked by the mountains behind it and the shining clean beach and the sea in front. Various Deepmalas outside the temple make it look more beautiful. We paid our obeisance to the Lord. If one wants to have a pooja done in the name of someone, they can pay whatever they wish and write their names and addresses on the provided enveloped. Whenever a MahaPooja happens in the temple, the prasad is sent to the devotees address. We were lucky enough to be present as the Aarti started. As we were walking out, they were offering prasad of khichdi which we ate with relish. One can buy those big prasaadi ladoos from here for taking home. They are really yummy!!
          As Sada, Sandy and Balu went to the beach to click more photos of them – proof that they were here, Jayu and me went to the small shops outside the temple to buy some of the famous Kokum stuff. I bought some Kokam Aagal which is used to make Sol Kadi, in the preparation of fish etc. The other stuff you get here are dried Mango pulp, jack fruit chips, Kokum syrup, ginger products, aavla products, pedas etc. The beach here is not very safe for swimming though is a very clean and scenic stretch of sand.


History of the temple
          During the reign of Moguls (about 1600 years before), there was a' kevda' (Flower tree) Jungle at the foot of the hill where the temple of the 'Swayambhu' Ganapati is presently situated. Here lived Balbhatji Bhide, a brahmin, who was a renter of the village, during the moghul period. Bhide encountered a major personal problem. Bhide being a determined person, that he was, made up his mind to give up food and water till being relieved of the personal calamity. He stayed in the Kevda - Jungal for penance and to worship his tutelary direty' mangalmurti' (Lord Ganesh) during this period, Bhide had a vision about Lord Ganesh who said, “I have come to Aagargule (Ganesh Gule) to fulfill the wishes of my devotees. You worship and propitiate here, and will be relieved of all your difficulties”
          During the same period, one of the cows of Bhide was not giving milk, for which reason, the cowherd kept a close watch on her. He was astonished to see that the milk was flowing from the cow's udder on the place where the idol of the God is placed at present. The cowherd narrated the incident to Bhide. After cleaning up the entire area Bhide found the idol of Lord Ganesh which he had seen in his vision He built a shrine here and started performing the rituals. (Source :http://www.ratnagiriinfo.com/tourism/Ganpatipule.html)
Ganpatipule Temple
AsthaVinayak Ganpati
Beautifully carved Shikhar of the temple
 
Peshwa Smarak

Peshwa Smarak, Ganpatipule
         We moved on to our next destination which was the Peshwa Smarak. The rains would not leave us alone. The smarak is an old house of one of the Peshwas. Though the house construction looks rustic and authentic from the outside, am sure there has been many recent additional touches to it. It gives a glimpse of how houses used to exist earlier in this part of the country, though not much has changed and am sure many of the richer houses in the villages would be similar to this. As you exit the house on the back side, it opens to a small garden with a beautiful wall, a small pond and a library and the office behind it.


Beautiful Garden inside the Smarak premises

Fish Aquarium – Matsalay

         
          We went to another fish aquarium which is on the way to Jaigad from Ganpatipule. The charges were INR 15 per head, but the fishes were not that great. Most of them were tank fishes, which anybody having a fish tank at home would be aware of. The bad part is there is nobody to show you around or give you some information on the fishes. Can be avoided!

Jaigad Fort

Entrance to Jaigad fort

         From the Jaigad fort, we expected the splendor similar to Vijaydurg and Ratnadurg as this was yet another sea fort. However, we were disappointed!! Nothing to see much in the fort and it is a small one. It would hardly take 20-30 minutes to roam the entire fort. Though the entrance looks promising from outside, as you enter, the walls are marked with unwanted graffiti and the love stories of the village youth – Pakya loves Pinky, Arun and Prabha on either side of the arrow bisecting the heart, phone numbers of girls to be called in distress, stories of friendship of Amar, Akbar and Anthony – why were books and pages and slates ever invented? There is a recent concrete structure being built almost at the entrance, don’t know what it is for but looks quite unwelcome. There is hardly any security to be seen at any of the forts in Maharashtra, how sad! A huge well and some broken building structures adorn the base of the fort. Some shepherds were grazing their sheep and it looked pretty. The scenery also ain’t that pretty though you get to see the sea and the nearby port, it is not half as wonderful as Vijaydurg or Ratnadurg. While I was clicking photos, the others went ahead. As I walked the edges of the fort, saw a snake. Thankfully I saw it and didn’t step on it. It was a slender brown snake camouflaged very elegantly in the stones of the fort and it was about 2 feet long. This was the 2nd snake I had seen in the last few days. The other one I had seen when we stopped to take a leak as our vehicle broke down while returning from Kunkeshwar. This was a similar looking snake. I froze and returned back. On giving the snakes’ description to my friends later, they said it’s a poisonous one and it was a wise decision to not have ventured forward.
          After Jaigad, we broke for lunch at a hotel our erratic driver took us to. The food wasn’t good and there was no sol kadi!!

Huge well inside Jaigad fort

This is where I saw the snake

Jaigad Lighthouse

Jaigad Lighthouse
          The Jaigad fort, lighthouse, Karateshwar Mandir, the huge Chougule shipyard and Jindal power plant are in the near vicinity. As it had rained heavily, the road to the lighthouse had turned too mucky. You SHOULD visit the light house if you are in Ganpatipule. A Hyderabadi guy, who is stationed there for the maintenance of the lighthouse, shows you around and inside the light house. The scenery from the top is very beautiful and serene! The guy explained us the machinery of the lighthouse and how it worked. He explained how every lighthouse has a different colour combination. This one had red and white stripes whereas the one in Ratnagiri has black and white stripes. The light emanated from here is visible for 44 kms in the sea. It is a huge help for ships in the night to know where the shore lies. Ships can also know the identification of each lighthouse from the number of flashes generate in each minute, since each lighthouse has a different combination. The funny part was that this lighthouse was being operated from Mumbai and not here. The lighthouse was a nice experience. There are timings to visit it – from . Just outside the gate of the lighthouse, the scenery is very beautiful with greenery leading all the way up to the sea.
          Somewhere on the way, we saw Undi beach which has blackish sand but was completely deserted. This was one of the designated spots in our tour but we were happy to skip it.

Jaigad Lighthouse

Source of light - a guide to ships

Karateshwar Mandir

          The Karateshwar Mandir is at the tip of the mountain and is at a very scenic location near the se shore of Jaigad. It is a temple of Lord Shiva in one of his forms. It was raining very heavily and some of our folks wanted to skip this. We waited for some time and as the rain subsided, we quickly ventured to the temple. There is a ashram being built outside the temple. It is said while doing pradakshina to any of the Shiv temples, one should traverse only half the circle and not cross the path of the Shivling. 

Lakshmi Keshav Mandir

Lakshmi Keshav Temple
          The Lakshmi Keshav Mandir was the last destination. It was far from Jaigad. Our erratic driver tried every possible way to frighten and kill us by his superb driving skills on the dangerous ghats but we survived by the grace of God. You asked him a question and he behaved like a deaf person. Expecting him to tell something about the place was too much!
The Laksmi Keshav Mandir at Kolisare village was at a very secluded but scenic spot. We could not see the idol as the interiors were locked. The temple is well built and clean. The wooden arches
          Are nicely constructed and care has been taken that no water drips in the temple. There are steps leading down where you can see ‘Teerth’ from the temple flowing. Even though at such a secluded spot, care has been taken to built toilets for the bhakts, which is not a common sight in other such temple complexes.

History of Temple
          Kolisare is not only famous for its natural beauty but also famous from Spiritual point of view. A renowned temple of Lord Lakshmi- Keshav is situated at Kolisare. Lakshmi- Keshav is Kuldaivat (Guardian God) for many Maharashtrain families. The temple is around at 2000 feet height from mean sea level. The deity of the Lakshmi- Keshav is having a long history. Before 1200 years ‘Rashtrakul’ family was ruling over Marathwada region of Maharashtra. All the family members were devotees of Lord Vishnu and they had constructed many beautiful temples. After few years due to attacks of Mughals, many deities were immersed into the water for protection. Such one deity is immersed into the ‘Rankal Lake’ near Kolhapur. The same deity is installed at Lakshmi- Keshav Temple Kolisare. This ceremony was took place in the year 1510. The deity is the example of rich ancient Indian sculpture. The height of the deity is around 5 feet with all the ornaments and weapons. (Source :http://www.ratnagiriinfo.com/tourism/Kolisare.html)


The wooden arches of the Lakshmi Keshav Temple

Beautifully located - Lakhmi Keshav Temple

Prachin Konkan

          From the Laksmi Keshav Temple, as we drove back to our hotel, we passed by Prachin Konkan, which was on our itinerary but had closed down at 6 pm.
          When it was dinner time, we walked all the way down in darkness from our hotel to the vicinity of the temple as most of the restaurants were out there. It was a good 2-3 kms walk and we enjoyed it as there was no rain but the wind gave us company and arguing over a distant light which some thought were from the lighthouse we had visited in the afternoon, we reached Joshi Khanavli where we were ready to have dinner. For a change the food was good and we had sol kadi too though when we asked for the next glass, there was none left. Another eventful day came to an end as we huffed and puffed back to our hotel listening to the timeless guitar of David Gilmour.

More Photos

Entrance gate to the Ganpatipule temple
Way to the beach
...and the door opens to the Lord


Deity carvings on the Ganpatipule temple





God and me


Shikhar


AsthaVinayak Murtis


Ganpatipule temple


Non Peshwa come to visit the Peshwa


Peshwa Nageshwa



Angels


Jaws - Part V


Jaigad fort

Old and withered - Jaigad fort

The grass is green on all sides!!


Seen it all!!

The chimneys of Jindal Power plant from the fort


Maaaaaahhh!!!

Beautiful Jaigad Lighthouse


View from the Lighthouse






Group photo at the top of the Lighthouse
There flows the wind



12 comments:

  1. That lighthouse was awesome experience.

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  2. I enjoyed reading your blog. Heading for Ganpatiphule tonight and sure this helps. Thanks

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  3. Great Job!!! Read your blog (complete) it was so interesting that i didn't even blinked my eyes for seconds. I think your blog is one of the best blogs which guides the travelers to Ganpatipule!!!! Great Job!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks a ton Milanraj,

      Your kind words of encouragement are much appreciated! They make me write more and write better...Thanks. Soumen

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  4. yeeaaaahhhhhh ganpatipule is the awesome place to visit.I enjoyed ganpatipule.
    But you will enjoy more only if you are staying in good hotel.
    As there are many hotels in ganpatipule not every is good.
    Only some have created benchmark in providing services.
    One of the best in them is Hotel Disha residency.
    The only hotel according to me which is providing best services in Ganpatipule.

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  5. well written, interesting to read. Nice snaps.

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  6. I must say the once you visit Tarkarli beach It is world famous white sand beach in India

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  7. Great blog.. We are planning our ganpatipule and ratnagiri visit this month end. Just one question did you have a private vehicle or hired one for travelling from ganpatipule to jaigad, fish aquarium etc?

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  8. Hi,
    Great Blog,
    I like the way you written the post.
    You written very nice information on Beaches,
    It will very useful for new traveler.Images are very clean and easy to optimize. I like to visit Ganpatipule beach.
    Thanks for sharing such a nice blog...

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  9. Good and helpful

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  10. Hi,
    Informative Blog!
    Do you know what is the timing for visiting the lighthouse?
    Thanks,
    Abhishek.

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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