Remember the little vignettes that adorned the walls of the classrooms, portraying a sun kissed beach, bounding waves, palm hemmed beach and a little temple in the vicinity? If you have ever dreamt of being in such a Utopic place, Ganpatipule, a small little hamlet in the Southern part of the state of Maharshtra can make you realize all your unrealized aspirations and desires. Located in the Ratnagiri district and flanked by the Konkan Coast, Ganpatipule is one of the dream destinations as far as a weekend vacation is concerned. It not only symbolizes the rich culture and heritage of Maharashtra but also houses one of the most spectacular beaches of Asia.
Almost 375 km from the capital city of Mumbai, Ganpatipule marks a rare amalgamation of history, legend and myth. Not only does the divine presence of the auspicious God Ganpati enhance its appeal but the natural endowments that this sleepy elfin hamlet is bequeathed upon by nature, makes it a must see for all lovers and admirers of natural beauty. The lovely mangrove and coconut palms, along with the relentless coming in of the aquamarine waves creates a magical spell that is capable of enthralling any traveler.
One of the premier contributing factors that makes Ganpatipule a lucrative picnic spot is the existence of the temple of the most revered deity in Western India, Ganesh or Ganpati. Legend has it that Ganesh was offended by a remark made by one of the native women. Hence he had moved away from his original abode in Gule. The word Pule in Marathi implies ‘to walk a few kilometers’ and hence the name of Ganpatipule.
The presence of a 400 year old statue of Ganpati adds further flavor to the religious fervor of the place. It is believed to have unearthed itself from the ground and so is also referred to as the Swayambhu(self-originated). This statue is one of the Eight Ganpatis in India. However, what makes this temple unique is the ergonomics of its Deity, that is facing the west, meaning to guard the town from the evil forces of the West. Hence he is also called the ‘Paschim Dwardevta’(Western Sentinel God of India). The temple is situated on a little hill. The devotees circumnavigate the hill(Pradakshina) as a mark of respect and devotion for the God. Millions of devotees and pilgrims throng the temple grounds every year, particularly on special occasions like Chaturthi, and Holi.
What to relish in Ganpatipule
If you are dying to taste the original Maharashtrian preparations, Ganpatipule is the right place to be. Some of the local delicacies are as follows:-
Ambapoli Thin pancakes of crushed and dried mango
Phanaspoli Thin pancakes of crushed and dried jackfruit
Kokam Kadi A pink colored digestive drink
Modak A favorite sweet of Lord Ganesha
Devgad Hapus One of the most sublime breeds of mango in the world.