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Monday, 4 January 2010

Postcard from Ganpatipule

Just 375 kms away from Mumbai, and it’s a different world, in complete contrast from high-rise, polluted Mumbai, we enter a small village, serene, sedate, unspoiled, the magic land of virgin beaches, with 400 year old land mark- the Swayambhu Ganapati temple.



Being a holiday season, it was flooded with thousands of devotees and tourists. Moi and my group of eight friends added to this burden of population for three full days.......

Night time is the best time to travel by road, since there is less traffic and the ride is smooth, with the curvy roads giving pleasant swings at regular intervals. We started our journey at 10pm after our heavy meal and dozed off to sleep as soon as the bus revved its engine, only to open our eyes at twilight to watch the beautiful sun rise...... the scenery was beautiful, at some places we could touch the clouds as they floated through our windows....blinding our lens.... We drove through the narrow mud-roads, the earth dark red ....glistening in sunshine... and the roofed houses with clean courtyards that added quaint touch to the panorama. We passed the bridge to arrive at our destination of calm village of Ganpatipule....Yes we had arrived......after ten hours of journey by road...in time for hot breakfast and a cup of coffee........

After breakfast we headed towards the 'Swayambhu Ganapati temple' (Swayambhu means 'self-made', this is a temple of the self-originated idol, Ganapati). A long queue winding from the entrance through narrow bamboo barriers, snaked through the curves, three-folds and it took us more than sixty minutes to reach the idol. The temple here is very beautiful and recently it was renovated. Every year in the months of February and November the sunrays fall directly on the Ganpati idol....( I was told)..... one of persons in our group wanted to take a "Pradakshina" around the hill where the temple is located, she explained that 'Pradakshina' is a form of showing obeisance wherein the devotee walks in a circle around the idol of the lord or around the temple, the house of the lord, The pradakshina or the walk of 1 km is interestingly Ganapati Shaped. ..But I was already too tired walking through those paths within bamboos railings in queue,(of one hour) when we reached the temple, we were allowed only 30 seconds of the glimpse of the idol...."Chalo, Chalo, line bahut hai" said the pundit as he ushers us towards the exit....I wanted to look closely at the self-originated, idol of Ganapati, that is made of copper. .but look at him...shooing us away....not fair...



The rest of the evening we spend at the beach, watching the people in colorful (zakaas) clothes clearly surprising the foreigners, who are used to seeing people dressed in bikini and bare skin in their home town.....



Next day, we rented a private transport to tour around. We started our journey (after a heavy breakfast) at 9am to explore the other areas of the village..... I was attracted by the fountain that welcomed us at our first stop at Malgund village...Malgund village is the birthplace of the famous Marathi Poet Keshavsoot. (Have you heard about him??) He was born here in 1866. He is termed as a poet who heralded the dawn of modern Marathi poetry. The "Marathi Sahitya Parishad" (Marathi Literature Society) has constructed a beautiful monument called "Keshavsoot Smarak" in the memory of the great son-of-the soil. There was even an amphitheatre behind the house...He must have performed his poems in front of large crowd (I am sure) There is also a museum where you can find information on most of the modern day poets of Marathi language. The Memorial is a real treat for people who are interested in Marathi literature. Lucky poet, he had such a big house......I am thinking, thinking, thinking .. if I could invest some time on my poems.....maybe...??? On the second thought, it is understable with all these inspirations of plants, birds and trees...(I am sure if I had a house like that, I would be a famous poet too)..Who wouldn't be???



And traveling by roads is an experience by itself. The vast "Konkan" stretch abounds with scenic greenery..... Our next stop was 'Prachin kokan' an open air museum on a hill, showing our old culture, basically old customs of Konkan areas. The museum is spread over an area of 3 acres on a hillside. The museum was constructed by a 27 year old resident of Ganpatipule, (Vaibhav Sardesai). all the statues had great expressions, the path was quite hilly and steep and I needed support to climb those big, huge stone steps...Planners of this museum are quite insensitive...they didn't think of placing some railings on this hilly path...come on, everybody was uncomfortable walking through this hilly path.. having a railing makes life so much easier...I tell you...duh!!

There was a guide with us, who kept rambling (in Marathi) about the history of the statues ( giving me a headache). On the highest peak of this hilly museum, there was a store selling art stuff and my group (always crazy for shopping) give a good business to the store...which later they deposited with me in the sumo, since I was enjoying the privileged, bigger seat in the front, next to driver.... But truly, this open air museum was one of its kind....quite enjoyable......except for railings. .huff! huff!!



We continued our drive through Bhatye beach...that had silver white sand against deep blue waters.... Bhatya is a small village sited at a distance of 1 kms from Ratnagiri. The village is known for flat and straight 1.5 km long beach. The scene along the coastal region was amazing and I could not control clicking shots,( click, click, clicking the boats and the canals on the route..).till we finally reached 'Patit Pawan Mandir' at Pawas.. "Patit Pawan Mandir" is of importance here. It was the first temple built for the non-Brahmins by revolutionary leader, Swatantryaveer Savarkar. ..



Our next stop was the house where the freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born, and is now declared and maintained as a national monument He was born on 26th July 1856 in this house. It was Lokmanya Tilak who gave the slogan that "Self rule is my birth right and I will achieve it. Lokmanya Tilak stayed in the house till 1866. Although the rooms in the house were quite tiny, but, at the back of the house, there was a big open space, large enough for long walks or jogging...

So close to nature, such scenic rides....such clean streams....(unlike our Mithi river) and so much greenery and open space....there were no slums?? huh?? Why must we have all the slums only in Mumbai??? Why is the population of Maharastra not evenly spread out....??? Jobs can be created here too, tourist industry perhaps?? Hello? Is somebody listening???



Our next destination was the 'Thebaw Palace' Thebaw Palace was constructed in 1910 – 1911 when the king and Queen of Myanmar were dethroned and were exiled. They stayed here in the palace from 1911 till their death in 1916. The palace was built under the King’s supervision. The five years of their stay at the palace have been immortalized on the walls of their tombs. There were lots of carved artifacts What I liked was the design and architecture of this palace and the view behind the windows....built in such a way that sun rays filters through palace evenly... those steep wooden stairs leading to the courtyard....everything was so beautiful.... A constant debate is going between the government and private authorities to convert the palace into a regional museum and a heritage hotel.

Next we passed through the busy market place to stop for lunch.....It was 3pm and tummy was complaining.....and the smell of fresh fish was in the air.... after lunch we headed towards The Balla Fort, that is located on a hill by the sea shore.



The fort is constructed in the shape of half Circle like horseshoe. The fort is built on an area of 120 acres and is surrounded by sea from three sides. There is a light house constructed on the western end of the fort. ..We climb up the fort and visited the temple again, once more...The main part of the fort has a Devi Bhagwati temple. There is also a small tank and a deep well in the fort premises. During the Navratri’s a ten day festival is organized at the fort. ....



Next we reached the aquarium.. and 'The Seafood Processing Centre' at Mirya. ...tiredness was seeping in..... we talked with the fishes, although they had no proper etiquettes to stop and talk to us.... they happily swam behind their glass prison, the sea horses in the aquarium had company and were prohably preparing for some concert.... and my friend wanted a closer look....wanted a new friend....to meditate on.. And why not? she told me that you can meditate almost on everything ...just keep your mind blank and shut out the past and the future., just focus on present....I tried, but my mind is too wild and undisciplined...never pauses for a moment....arrgh!!

On our way back, we stopped at top of the hill before descending to Bhandarpule, to watch the sun set.

The next day was reserved for relaxing at the beach, having a note of thanks, getting to know each other, sharing views over the cup of coconut water....and playing some creative games The sun over our hotel 'Sukh Sagar Palace' (where we were staying) reminded us to pack our bags and return back to the rat race of our beloved Mumbai

..... ..till the next long week-end arrives.....and we will head towards a newer destination...once more....

2 comments:

  1. We have a travel website which is a Maharashtra travel Guide in which we have a page for Ganpatipule with lot of information regarding the place. We also have information regarding Ganpatipule Hotels for which we have provided direct link to the hotel websites. In addition to that we have a portal with information exclusively about Ganapatipule which is www.ganapatipule.in


    We also have a page for blogs on Ganpatipule. Do let us know if you would like to feature your blog in the Ganpatipule Blogs page in puneritraveller.com.

    Please write to puneritraveller at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  2. please feel free to share...thank you
    :))
    P

    ReplyDelete

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