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Old 23rd March 2009, 16:19   #1
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Default Trip To Ganapatipule-Ratnagiri-Guhaghar

Wanted to do some long drive on the eve of our Marriage anniversary [19th Feb]. Destination "Ganapatipule" from Pune. This time my grandmother was also accompanying us along with my wife & kid.

Had done a bit of research on the destination & various route options to G'pule. Booked sea facing konkan hut for 2 nights @ MTDC resort a month in advance. Thanks to MTDC for enabling web booking, which saves time & energy for its customers.

Initially we thought of 2 day trip with the 3rd day being open to our energy levels at the end of the 2nd day. After the 2nd day in G'pule we decided to make it to Guhaghar as part of 3rd day & then 4th day for return journey to pune through Chiplun - Poladpur - Mahabaleshwar - Pune, as i want to cover good portion of the drive on NH17.

Day1

Woke up early by 3AM on 19th Feb, get ready to hit road by 5AM, through Wakad flyover, Katraj Tunnel, Satara, reached Umbraj [160kms] by 7AM, take left to Chiplun SH 72. Of the 160kms journey till now, NH4 section between Satara - Umbraj is the best. Thanks to very minimal traffic during early morning hours we were able to cover good distance.

Had reached Pathan @ 7.40AM had 20mins stop for break fast at a road side restaurant. Reached Koyna dam by 8.30AM. Spent 45mins in Nehru Garden. Handy cam isn't allowed inside the garden, as it is part of the dam premises & there are restrictions placed as a security measure. Garden is well maintained with lot of flower plantations & trees. My Kid spent some time with the various play options provided in the garden, was always eager to pluck flowers from the garden. Had tea at a near by Tea shop & started our journey to Chiplun through Kumbharli Ghat.

It is all descent from Police check post @Koyna dam till the plains of Konkan. Yes i did almost 12kms of descent in Neutral gear, ofcourse with engine ON, not sure if this is safe driving mechanism, was enthusiastic to try it out, as i read through some posting that some bikers did 15kms of descent on this road.

Reached chiplun around 11:30PM [250kms]. From Chiplun "G'pule" is 110kms, take left on the Mumbai - Goa NH 17, this highway is my favourite highways as it is for most of the TBHPIans. It offers lots twists & turns, rivers criss crossing the highway & greenery all the way. Within no time we reached Sangameshwar 45kms from chiplun, another 35kms we are at "Nivli Patha", from here we need to take right turn for G'pule. We reached G'pule by 2:00PM, total distance is 360kms & time taken is around 9hrs including breaks around 100mins. Speed drops down in the "Chiplun - Nivli section" due to lots of twists & turns and traffic in the opposite direction.

As you all might be aware through numerous posts in this site that MTDC resort in G'pule is in 2 parts. Upper portion provides sea view from a height & then you drive through mango plantations down to the lower portion which has its own reception & restaurant which provides sea facing accommodation. Which one is better, upper portion or lower one? If you want to sleep with the sound of sea tides playing tune to a star lit night in the midst of coconut plantation, then the lower portion of the resort is a perfect place.

Had lunch & immediately took nap for 1hr. Wake up around 3:30PM, get ready for temple visit.

Temple is bang on the sea shore, with a hill in its backdrop and entire circumference of the hill is part of 1km "Pradakshina" around the temple, no we haven't done it.

After darshan spent some time in the surroundings & then hit beach. Yes beach is clean with clear waters, no traces of any waste nearby as there are no chat shops or hawkers selling snacks, which allowed the place to retain its beauty. Low tides current of sea is sometimes very strong & it drags you inside, which is sometimes dangerous depending upon your position in sea.

That day being a weekday there were hardly any people in the beach & my kid had nice time playing in sea water. Overall a perfect day. We had Dinner in restaurant which is in upper portion of the MTDC resort.

Total Toll fee till G'pule from Pune is around 100 bucks with toll gates @ 3 locations on NH4 & at 2 locations on SH 72 till Chiplun. In the past 6 months i did good amount of travelling around Pune and thanks to Maharashtra Govt for keeping the roads in good condition. I'm basically from AP and have stayed for good amount of time in Bangalore [roamed quite a bit in karnataka] and i can say this confidently "if roads to the inner portions of the regions is a parameter then Maharashtra tops it between AP, MH & KA". Thats my assessment. Yes "MH" also collects lots of toll fee, but if it can provide service, people donít mind paying that toll fee for a smooth ride.

Following are the snaps of our Day1 trip in the order

1,2 , 3 & 4Kumbharli Ghat Descend section
5. MTDC resort
6. Ganapathi Temple
7. G'pule beach
8. Sea facing Konkani Huts
9. Sunset
10. NH4 section between Satara - Umbraj

Day2 :- Sight seeing in Jaigad & Ratnagiri ...to be continued
Attached Thumbnails
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Trip To Ganapatipule-Ratnagiri-Guhaghar-p1040175.jpg  

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Old 24th March 2009, 11:41   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by udaygk77 View Post

1]through Wakad flyover, Katraj Tunnel, Satara, reached Umbraj [160kms] by 7AM, take left to Chiplun SH 72. Of the 160kms journey till now, NH4 section between Satara - Umbraj is the best.

2]Had reached Pathan @ 7.40AM had 20mins stop for break fast at a road side restaurant.
1] I think you mean to say right turn. at umbraj, it is right turn under the bridge toward patan/chiplun.

2] the name of place is Patan.

Nice pics and travelogue.
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Old 24th March 2009, 12:34   #3
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Hi Ashish,

Thx for the correction, yes its a right turn @ Umbraj towards "Patan" & "Chiplun".

Cheers
Uday
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Old 24th March 2009, 13:41   #4
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I was also thinking it should be left turn to Chiplun.

Starting for Mahabaleswar, Pune and Ganaptipule tomorrow .
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Old 24th March 2009, 14:09   #5
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Originally Posted by arindamray View Post
I was also thinking it should be left turn to Chiplun.

Starting for Mahabaleswar, Pune and Ganaptipule tomorrow .
yes, peoples coming from kolhapur to pune, its left turn at karad/umbraj to chiplun.
for peoples coming from pune to kolhapur, its right turn.
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Old 24th March 2009, 14:17   #6
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On your next trip, please do not repeat the mistake of driving downhill on neutral. I have read in many places including this forum and also have been advised by well wishers, never to drive in neutral to save fuel. Very risky stuff.

About the trip, was this over weekdays? The place seems tranquil and no sign of excess crowds. Can't imagine any tourist location without crowds nowadays
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Old 24th March 2009, 15:16   #7
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Nice travelogue, keep them coming, Ganapatipule, is it a beach resort? if you have any pics of the hill view resort, can you post it?
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Old 24th March 2009, 15:18   #8
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Udaygk77 - Please refrain from driving the car on Neutral on a downhill slope. It is dangerous and you are completely at mercy of your brakes to control the momentum. Constant applying of brakes can lead to heating and more wear & tear of brake pads.

Pictures look good and reminded me of my recent visit to Ganpatipule on March 7th. I would love to revisit the place again.

The route that I took via Karad Malkapur seems to be a shorter route to Ganpatipule as I clocked 346 Kms starting from Aundh till MTDC reception.

Nice Travelogue.

Looking forward to your part 2 with photographs!

takecare and drive slowly
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Old 24th March 2009, 15:19   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romyeo4u View Post
Nice travelogue, keep them coming, Ganapatipule, is it a beach resort? if you have any pics of the hill view resort, can you post it?
Yes, Ganapatipule is one of the best beaches in Maharashtra.
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Old 24th March 2009, 19:45   #10
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Thanks Rajesh & Travel writer for your inputs on risk of driving in neutral.Will not do it next time. Yes this trip was during weekdays [ Thurs & Fri].

Romyeo :- I dont have a snap of Hill view resort.Yes MTDC resort is a beach resort, just 200 - 300 meters away from beach.

Day2:-

Wake up by 7AM after a sound night sleep, its a nice feeling to sleep in a place which is right next to beach, get ready by 8AM for sight seeing in Jaighad & Ratnagiri. Initially when i did my booking for room at resort i thought of having one night stay in konkan hut & the next day in a deluxe room which is in the upper portion of resort.During the 1st day stay itself we concluded that its a good place to stay at Konkan hut itself even for the 2nd day & started our negotiation with resort people to retain the stay at konkan hut & this negotiation continued for another 30mins on the 2nd day mroning. In the end we were successful in getting stay @ Konkan hut, but lost some 40mins of time in negotiation & clearing confusion.

Drive to jaigahd is almost through the sea shore & in between you will go through the world famous "Alphonso" mango plantations, harvest season is just couple of months away and all the plantations are bearing its fruit, my wife plucked few mangoes while returning back to G'pule. Jaighad fort is 25kms from G'pule and the fort itself is a desolated place & except for the standard ASI board there is not much of human activity in & around.

Location of the fort is beautiful, on a hill at the confluence of river "shashtri" & Arabian sea. Provides view of surrounding hills and vast explanse of Arabian sea. There are boats which carry bikes to the end of river bank, unfortunately there is no such facility to carry a 4 wheeler which would have reduced our 3rd day journey to Hedvi, Velneshwar & Guhaghar.Spent some 30mins inside fort, there is a abandoned temple inside the fort, wife & kid paid tributes to the GOD, should be ganapathi i guess, as every 2nd temple in konkan region is built for ganapati or shiva.Apart from the temple & as a view point there is nothing much inside the fort to explore.

Next in the plan is a visit to "Karhateshwar" temple which is on a hill right next to sea shore. Drive to the temple is through the Jaighad power plant being built by "Jindal south west". Temple is located on the slopes of a hill , right next to sea shore in a scenic place & peacefull surroundings. Spent 1hr time watching the roaring sea, new surface being built by Jindal company to import raw materials for power generation, observing kid play in her own world.

Return back to G'pule around 12 noon & visit Konkan museum, which is a replica of various kinds of people that comprises a typical konkan village and also has lot of sampling plants which are grown in konkan region. "Modak" konkan speciality is available all the time inside museum all he times, where as the same needs to be ordered well in advance in G'pule. After spending 90mins in museum its lunch time, haven't found any non-veg hotel around had simple veg lunch in a road side hotel.

Started our journey to Ratnagiri which is 48kms through main road, there is shortcut also along the sea coast which is 25kms. Ask the locals for directions and do mention that you want to take the route which is along the sea coast.After inital 10kms on sigle lane road through mango plantations, next 15kms is through a newly laid road along the sea coast which is really scenic. Have heard of something similar scenic drive in Visakapatnam along bay of bengal,even the one in ratnagiri is also beautiful. My choice of visit in ratnagiri was to have a visit to "Swami Swaroopanand" in pawas which is another 25kms, wife is not inclined for further travel as the chances of we missing sunset are high, so we changed our plan and want to have a look at birth place of
"Lokmanya Bala ganghadhar tilak". After taking some help from locals, we made it to the place, and its well preserved with all the historic details of the freedom fighter.

Next destination is "Fort Ratnagiri and Bhagwati Temple" on top of a hill, which offers 180 degree view of the "OM" shaped beach of Ratnagiri. After 1hr of sight seeing inside fort & visiting temple we realized that its time we make it back to G'pule, as the sun is seeting down fast. We are hopeful of catching a glimpse of sunset from the sun set view point on the Ratnagiri - G'pule road.Sunset view from a hill in the backdrop of sea is always a soothing experience.I guess even "Byndoor" near Kundapura, on the Goa - Mangalore route will offers such view.

Dinner was at the beach facing open sky MTDC resutaurant, had fish which was good.Before we returned to bed we concluded that, its worth visiting places like hedvi, velneshwar & guhaghar. Discussed with MTDC for stay option at "Velneshwar" which has a MTDC resort recently opened but not updated on their website, but all bookings are full @ velneshwar, so we decided to reach Guhaghar during our sight seeting process tomorrow and keep our stay options open to be explored at Guhaghar.

Day3 & 4..... to be continued
Attached Thumbnails
Trip To Ganapatipule-Ratnagiri-Guhaghar-gpulejaighad-large.jpg  

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Trip To Ganapatipule-Ratnagiri-Guhaghar-karhateshwar1-large.jpg  

Trip To Ganapatipule-Ratnagiri-Guhaghar-karhateshwar-large.jpg  

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Old 24th March 2009, 23:47   #11
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Nice travelogue Uday. Konkan is beautiful and so is G'pule. Good to know that MTDC is providing good service.
It will be great if you provide some caption with the snaps which will make viewing pics much more enjoyable.
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Old 25th March 2009, 12:27   #12
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Uday - liked the part 2. Keep Day 3 & 4 coming.

takecare and drive safely
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Old 26th March 2009, 20:15   #13
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@Uday: it will help if you can give captions to snaps
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Old 27th March 2009, 17:12   #14
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I wa searching for that option. Appreciate any help regarding how can i add caption for a snap after attaching the image to the post.
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Old 28th March 2009, 15:00   #15
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Day3 & 4

Woke by 7AM, got ready by 9AM for our onward journey to Guhagar through Hedvi & Velneshwar. I read through some of the blogs that this route is around 90kms to Guhaghar, has lot of turns, need to take assistance of locals to be on correct path. A ferry through "Shastri" river would have reduced all this pain, but ferry isn't for 4 whelers so we have to proceed through road.

Niharika & Wife Sirisha - All Ready to explore another Day


First stop was at Bhatgaon bridge built on river "Shashtri" which is 30kms aways from G'pule. There is hardly any traffic on this route till Guhaghar, but still our speed as never above 60, due to good amount of ghat sections, single lane roads & mantaining always caution, so that we will not miss that turn for the right path.

We reached Bhatgaon bridge by 10AM, in between picked few cashewnuts from the roadside plantations :-).....country side has lots of mango & cashew plantations with very less mankind presence in near by vicinity. Rivr shashtri is all peace flowing smoothly underneath the bridge & joining sea @ Jaighad fort. I guess there should be a backwater crusing along this river till the Arabian sea which should be a mahor attraction. I was told that there used to be "catamaran" provided by MTDC which has been discontinued now a days, as per the MTDC reception @ ganapatipule.

Bhatgaon Bridge



Serene surrondings of River Shastri



After some 20mins break, we started our journey to Hedvi & made it to the temple by 11.30AM, drove slowly , finding out directions & reconfirming with others that we are on the right track as there are very few milestones to provide guidance. Till Hedvi there is not much of human traffic, most of it is single lane road, i guess the beauty of this region will come alive during monsoon.

Dasbhuj Ganapathi temple at Hedvi is clean & renovated, i guess for mahashivratri festival on 23rd Feb. Idol is made of marble & very well carved. Its located on a small hill, in the midst of green.

Dashabhuja Ganapathi Temple - Hedvi


Next destination is "Brahmanghal" which is rock cut formation by sea water near to Hedvi Beach.

Hedvi Beach



Another Temple @ Seashore, Konkan has many such beautiful settings




We are now in search of a hotel to have lunch, was looking for suruchi corner @ Hedvi which i was told provides good tasty food of Konkan, which is adjacent to the above shown temple. But it seems we need to order food 1hr in advance. We dediced that we will move ahead & have lunch at velneshwar. Surushi corner has some basic accomodation also in the midst of cocunut plantation which is setup nicely.

Reached Velneshwar by 1.30PM, temple is undergoing final painting touches for mahashivrati.

Velneshwar Temple has Shiva surrounded by temples of Vishnu, Ganesha, Kalabhairav


Velneshwar Beach View from MTDC Resort


Had lunch at a thatched restaurant with fish curry & moved on to Guhaghar. On the way we thought of checking for accomodation @ MTDC resort in velneshwar. MTDC resort is located on hill top giving a good 180 degree view of the huge Arabian sea on the left hand side we can also get a view of the huge power generation towers construction being built by Jindal @ Jaighad, which we have visited y'day. We were infomred by MTDC that all rooms are occupied due to weekend, they provided details of MTDC approved accomodation @ Guhaghar.

All along the road to Guhaghar there are huge & desnse Mango planatations. Reached "Nisarg" accomodation by 3PM, took rest till 4.30PM. Accomodation is neat & basic at "Nisarg" with the owner staying in the ground floor & some 5 rooms of accomodation in the 1st flr. We reach beach by 5PM.

Guhaghar Beach


One of glorious sunsets @ Guhaghar







That Machine will give unmatching view of Konkan


Guhaghar beach has good number of snack shops which offer all kinds of evening snacks, which is also contributing for all waste around beach, we need to walk a bit away from the beach which provides clean surroundings.

Day4

Next day morning we started our journey at 9AM. This time i've planned to carry out return journey through Chiplun - Khed - Poladpur - Mahabhaleshwar - Pune, as i was planning to cover much of the journey on NH17. If not the bad roads on Tamhini ghat i would have opted for Mangaon - Pune road.

Floral Tribute to Vignesh


Reached Chiplun by 10.15AM, made a visit to creator of Konkan "Lord Parashuram".

Parashuram Ghat Section @ Chiplun



Road from Chiplun to Poldapur is in good condition when compared to Chiplun - Nivliphata. Kashedi ghat drive from Khed to poladpur is good & i'm looking forward for a drive along this route after monsoons.

Road condition from Poladpur to Pratapghad fort is in ok condition, with speed around 60. As we near Mahabaleshwar road conditions improved.
Due to mid afternoon temparatures we haven't thought of exploring fort Pratapghad. I've told myself that its worth making a trip next time to Fort Riaghad & Pratapghad, which offer a 360 degree view of sahayadra mountain ranges & deep valleys.

Pratapghad Fort , King Shivaji's enemies are packed in a gunny bag & thrown from the fort top in to deep valleys, not many survived.


Had lunch in Mahabaleshwar @ 2PM and reached Pune by 6PM. There was good amount of weekend traffic this time in M'war. When we made a trip last time to M'war during Aug08, there was hardly any traffic. I would like to visit as many places during monsoons as there is very less tourist traffic & lots of beauty spread by rains on hills.

We were as cheerful as these strawberries at the end of this 4 day journey
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