Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Short family holiday - Ganapatipule

I am here once again with my another adventure - another vacation - another exciting place. GANAPATIPULE - Ratnagiri - place synonymous with mangoes, famous Swayambhu Ashtavinayak temple and gorgeous beaches.

One fine day my cousin called me, asking me to plan small vacation in December and to zero in on such place where kids could also enjoy during Christmas holidays and also the adults. After lot of deliberation and searching we decided to go to Ganapatipule Beach in Ratnagiri district. 
Two things excited me about this place was, not very common place like Lonavala, Matheran etc and not very far from Mumbai. Another plus was train timings from Mumbai.

We checked some hotels online and also with yellow pages but nothing could even come close to perfect hotel and facilities provided by MTDC. (It doesn't come cheap but worth the price after experiencing)
Booking was done well two months in advance to avoid last moment disappointment.

D-Day arrived after long wait. And initial plan was for 5-6 people going on vacation and when day arrived total strength of people coming or joining in was up to 21.

We caught train from Dadar station leaving at 11pm which by far was the best timing we could get. We reached Ratnagiri early winter morning 4.30am with most of us finding our self on the station with only one eye open and other still peacefully sleeping !!!! 

I and my cousin asked others to wait at the station while we went to check the availability of transport to our destination. Other reason was of course early morning sutta break !!! Chilly winter morning on lonely location adds spice to the craving for Sutta. (Non smokers missing something !!!!!)

We found that there would be state transport bus arriving in next 15minutes which will take us right in front of our MTDC hotel in 2hour journey for Rs 16 per person in comparison to auto wallahs charging Rs 200 and only 3people can sit without baggage but where will jumbo baggage go which we were carrying along (like we gonna settle there once for all. LOL)

Journey in S.T bus is only advisable for people with strong bones unless you have proper seats. Our journey was going to be more fun as bus had flat tyre in less than 45minutes of run. wow !!! stranded in middle of no where, remembered movie of Johnny lever ferrying people to Dubai and asking them to get down at lonely island ..DUBAI DUBAI !!! 

After sitting on road waiting for more than one hour, we finally bribed another ST bus conductor who decided to charge not us because we already had tickets but our baggage which was more than number of people in the group. Ladies u see !!!!

We finally reached well in time for check in at 9am, More relieved to see a full fledged UDIPI restaurant in MTDC complex serving piping hot tea, idlis, dosai...

Hotel rooms were amazingly clean and spacious and more spacious was location overlooking famous beach. WOW !! what a prime location to have a hotel !!! We were off to the beach in no time with sissy in laws & sisters & kiddos getting more energy out of nowhere.

Beach here is so amazingly clean with no much crowd as expected !!! Happy to see some foreigners also choosing this place to celebrate New year eve here like us. After having njoyed on beach long enough, we decided to checkout sleepy village and nearby attractions as we were here for 3night 4days.
Lunch was good with veg/non veg options available alike in only restaurant inside MTDC. Men chilled with more chilled beer while women n kids had there own space of gossips and table talks.

Ganapatipule temple which is just few yards away was good and more interesting was history associated with century old temple.
Pradakshina around the temple is not few steps but whole walk of 45minutes around forest surrounding the temple. On the way we found another small unique Ganapati temple and birds like Kingfisher rarely seen outside books for people like us from Mumbai...

Kokum drink or sherbet served by village girls is one refreshing drink in hot afternoon sun..

Evening was time for some beach sports as we found beach for ourselves outside our rooms as some crowd that can be seen was only near the temple. Late in the evening, kiddos slept as tired of long day while we had our drinks party get together.

Next day morning I was up early with some other family members and decided for long walk on beach only to find hidden lake close to the sea... what a sight with sunrise adding glamour to amazing place !!!

We hired mini bus and were off to Ratnagiri to see some other attractions like markets, Tilak museum, Thebaw palace which was one amazing teak wood palace of last king of Burma !!!! He reached all the way here to make a Palace..could not resist the thought how did he reach her btw !!! walking, horse ride, elephant ride, Palkhi ride all the way from Burma.... wow !!!

We also visited museum located on a hill which provided insight into history surrounding Ratnagiri.
Late afternoon we went to fort JAY GHAD.... but not great idea to visit in afternoon. view from fort of  Arabian sea and jetty was good. Marine institute museum is also worth checking.

Quick lunch and we were off to PAVAS, holy ashram was welcoming with shades of trees. Shops selling locally manufactured products and also mango delicacy is must buy outside the ashram.
On way back we stopped at high point of the road which gives a amazing view of beach, 5star resort Krishnali and Arabian sea. Another good resort on way was Kohinoor Samudra owned by Manohar Joshi which has Titanic deck to view sunset !!!!

One place not (I repeat not) to be missed is ARRE VARRE point - road cut from the mountain and if you look down.. deep valley with sandy beach and Arabian sea. Don't know why government does not promote this place like GOLD COAST OF INDIA !!!!! 

Back to the hotel in the evening, which was 31st December evening so everyone got fresh and dressed for only DJ party organised by MTDC hotel. Drinks and some leg shaking till late night was too tiring after so much travelling in the day that everyone welcomed new year's first day by getting up late in afternoon. What a way to start first day of New year.

Afternoon again it was time for some more adventure sports, PARASAILING.
I would say I was pretty disappointed by sight where one truck runs on the beach which pulls you with parachute tied behind you.... Not at all happening as compared to Parasailing which I did in middle of high sea in Pattaya. But kiddos and everyone else njoyed while I became their personal photographer clicking pictures, videos capturing their excitement. 

Next day we were back at Ratnagiri station waiting for our train bound for Mumbai.
But overall it was fun filled holiday with family with everyone deciding on another trip before present came to end to another Ratnagiri location called TARKALI - India's top three great beach location.

Au revoir friends . Hope u njoyed it.
Next destination - I will take you again in Andaman Sea to see paradise in sea - Phuket.
Till then Hasta la Vista

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