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Old 12th March 2013, 12:21   #1
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Smile Of Bappa, Blackberry, Beach and a Beige beauty - My trip to Ganapatipule

Exhilarating - this is the feeling that comes to my mind when I think back about the trip to Ganapatipule (GP) over the wekend of 09th Mar!
It was a short trip, lasting about 32 hours from start to back home, but boy was it mindblowing!

Before I get on with the experience, a bit about the title and why I chose to put it that way...from the title words, Bappa is the only word I need to perhaps define. Well, for those folks not residing in Maharashtra, Lord Ganesh or Ganapati is fondly referred to as Bappa in this state and you will find ample evidence in Bollywood songs n movies. And GP is the self-originated (swayambhu) holy place of Bappa.
Next, used the Blackberry for Google maps (albeit very sparingly), had fun at the beach and drove my biege colored beauty - Dzire!

Starting with the summary...
Route chosen: Pune (Warje) > Karad > Kokrud > Malkapur > Amba > Sakharpa > Pali > Hathkhamba > GP
Start: 0830 hrs
Total toll paid: INR 182, all on NH4 (Toll @ Khedshivapur - 70, Anewadi - 50, Taswade - 62)
End: 1600 hrs

Start: 0930 hrs
Total toll paid: INR 182 (same route as above)
End: 1630 hrs

Total to&fro distance: 655 km
Total fuel consumed: 32 liters (diesel)
Avg FE: 20.5 km/l
A.C usage: ON for about 95% of the journey
Max rpm reached on ghats - 3000 rpm
Camera used - Sony cybershot

Moving on to the detailed experience...
Firstly, thanks to fellow TBHPians ishotmydog, Nicky, ashishpallod and canpush for helping with the route queries.

Well, we had planned to start much earlier than 0830 hrs but with passengers comprising parents, brother, wifey and a kiddo, you need to relax the rules
Road conditions from Pune (Warje bypass) till the 1st toll at Khedshivapur were good and we reached it at 0859 hrs.

Point to note - The road section between Khedshivapur and the next toll at Anewadi is undergoing repairs/widening work which resulted in traffic getting affected at diversion points.

We took our 1st break at Hotel Ashirwad (just an okay place with veg food, decent loos, small shop, BP pump nearby) - had initially planned to stop at Karad directly but with the family around....!!
We reached the 2nd toll plaza@ Anewadi at 1042 hrs and this is where we lost close to 20 mins - courtesy peak traffic time and couple of VIP cars haggling with the toll booth personnel and refusing to pay toll.
Thereafter right upto the 3rd toll plaza @ Taswade, the road condition improved dramatically with majority of the stretch concretized, dividers having well-maintained flowered shrubs and with the road leveling spot-on, the needle caressed the 120km/h mark consistently!

Point to note - there are no toll booths after crossing Taswade till you reach GP.

After about 5 km from the toll plaza, we reached the first major landmark - taking the right turn at Kale phata off NH4 via service road. There is a signage for turning right towards Ratnagiri and you can't miss it. There is additional help in the form of signages for Pawankhind resort which direct you till the Amba ghat.
And how could I forget the trusted Google maps on my Blackberry!!

Once off the highway towards Kokrud, we immdly noticed the telltale signs - narrow road, people and cattle sharing the same infrastructure, beemers waiting for bullock carts to cross and what have you! I had to literally shift the gears mentally and transition from highway mode to village mode!
For this section, we had taken a print beforehand which made things relatively easy (detailed navigation map can be found at - http://pawankhind.in/map_navigation.htm ).

When driving, I could make out a distinct bifurcation of the various road sections - the one from Kokrud to Sakharpa is full of beautiful canopies whereas the section from Sakharpa till Hathkhamba/GP is almost devoid of any roadside trees. But the one thing which remained consistent throughout was the very good road condition on majority of the route. Looked like they had recently laid the roads.

Will let some pictures give you a feel of what it was like.

The canopied section between Kokrud and Sakharpa
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On this stretch, we crossed the famous Amba ghat. It was quite a treat to drive on the well-maintained ghat section. Inspite of the steep road gradients, hairpin bends coupled with the fully loaded car, not once did the 190 N-m torqued engine show any signs of "disobedience".

Point to note - at certain bends in the ghat section, I could see distinct red & yellow colored arrow sign boards. I noticed that these were not present at all bends but only strategically placed at either hairpin or very sharp/blind turns. I made it a point to always honk when approaching these red & yellow colored arrow signs.

Once we crossed Amba ghat, the roads straightened a bit and I could again make the needle caress the 100km/h mark. Upon reaching Sakharpa, we hit a slightly complicated junction and to make matters worse, there were no proper signages. But the local folks came to the rescue and off we went in the direction of Ratnagiri.

As mentioned above, this section between Sakharpa and Hathkhamba was devoid of any canopied trees...
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Once at Hathkhamba junction, we stopped for lunch at Hotel Alankar. This hotel is located bang at the intersection. The famous konkani "solkhadi" drink is a must-have at this hotel!

Point to note - from Hathkhamba onwards, there are 2 routes to reach GP:-
  • Route 1 via Nivali phata - approx distance 32 km
  • Route 2 via Ratnagiri district - approx distance 49 km
The hotel manager informed that although Route 2 was longer, it was more scenic since the road ran along the coastline. However one glance at the tired family faces made the decision unanimous - we chose Route 1
(in hindsight, this turned out to be a better decision since we came to know that route 2 road condition was pretty bad and we would have lost more time).

Finally, we entered GP and went straight to the place we had booked in advance - Gokul lodge. The place being well-known , we located it pretty quickly.

The Gokul lodge...
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Decent parking space available...(with the beauty parked upfront)
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My biege beauty, with the LTD insignia...
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The hotel tariff card on display...depending on room located at ground/first/second floor. I was told that they do not jack these rates in peak season..
Of Bappa, Blackberry, Beach and a Beige beauty - My trip to Ganapatipule-dsc00718.jpg

After a quick nap and some refreshments, off we went to the temple for Bappa's darshan. I think this point in the logue is appropriate to highlight more about GP. You may check this link for details- http://www.ratnagiriinfo.com/tourism/Ganapatipule.html but essentially GP is a pilgrimage center and as mentioned above, a self-originated (swayambhu) place of Lord Ganesh.
Ganapatipule has derived its name from "Ganapati" or the Lord of "Ganas(army)" and "Pule" means sand dune.

In GP, you will notice that every man-made structure's color is attributed to the red soil prevalent everywhere in Konkan.

The entrance arch of the temple..
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The "must-have tourist" shops near the entrance selling their wares
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This is where the darshan queue starts..
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Once inside the bay area, you will see a model replica of the proposed Bhakt Niwas (devotee residence)
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Once you cross the bay area, another queue to be formed..
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View of the main temple from outside since photography is not allowed inside..
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Indicating the distance and the approx time it takes to go round the deity temple ( 1 km ~ approx 15 mins)
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For those who want to donate online - Account number, Bank Of Maharashtra, IFSC code!!!
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We hit the beach in the evening and this is the first look at it...
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My fav picture of the trip...you can notice the hues, the fishing boat on the horizon and the reflection of the setting sun on the splashing waves. I waited for almost 10 minutes to get into this position and then took this shot!
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The boat now drifting away..
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The setting sun now in its entire glory, the view effect multiplied with the boat at the end of the panorama..
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The last view of the setting sun...
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The GP coastline is notoriously infamous for cross currents and hence this warning put up by the authorities at many places on the beach..

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A pleasantly surprising clean shore view, shot on the morning after..
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Soon after, we left GP for Pune with some very fond memories.
On the way back, the only point worth mentioning - stopped for lunch at dear old Hotel Vithal Kamath, which is around 20 km after you re-enter NH4 at Kale phata near Karad bypass.
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Post lunch, we headed back for Pune and it was 1630 hrs when I switched off the ignition (after a minute of idling the turbo) in the parking lot.


Last edited by JoshMachine : 12th March 2013 at 14:19.
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Old 12th March 2013, 15:04   #2
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Default Re: Of Bappa, Blackberry, Beach and a Beige beauty - My trip to Ganapatipule

Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing!

Have been meaning to drive down to Ganapatipule for ages...maybe this TL will provide the much needed inspiration!
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Old 12th March 2013, 15:43   #3
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Default Re: Of Bappa, Blackberry, Beach and a Beige beauty - My trip to Ganapatipule

Thanks Noopster, yes on this trip you will find both the journey and the destination to be relaxing and filled with fun.
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Old 13th March 2013, 14:05   #4
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Default Re: Of Bappa, Blackberry, Beach and a Beige beauty - My trip to Ganapatipule

@JoshMachine, nice detailed writeup there.

I like Ganpatipule. Lovely beach, good food & Bappa che darshan

very creative title of your TL.
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Old 16th July 2013, 14:21   #5
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Default Re: Of Bappa, Blackberry, Beach and a Beige beauty - My trip to Ganapatipule

Originally Posted by JoshMachine View Post

Finally, we entered GP and went straight to the place we had booked in advance - Gokul lodge. The place being well-known , we located it pretty quickly.

The Gokul lodge...

Decent parking space available...(with the beauty parked upfront)
Hi JoshMachine, nice travelogue. Me and my wife are planning to travel to the Konkan this August. We were planning on staying one night at Ganpatipule or Malgund.

Can you share the contact details of the Gokul Lodge so we can make reservations in advance.

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