September 4, 2012
As the Konkan Kanya Exp started off from Madgaon in Goa, I knew I would be feasting my eyes for the next four days on some of the best sceneries the west coast of India has to offer. Since long I've been fascinated by Goa and Konkan region. The towering peaks of the Western Ghats on one side and the pristine blue Arabian Sea on the other side have always captured not just my imagination, but of so many others who simply fall in love with this region every time they visit it.
My journey starts off from Goa by Konkan Kanya Exp to Ratnagiri. There has been a lot which has been said and written on the Konkan Railway route, I feel there can be no words to illustrate this Engineering marvel. The twin bridges in Goa, over Mandovi and Zuari will leave you dumbfound the moment your journey begins. The entire Railway journey unfolds the beauty of this magnificent land. Just before we enter into Ratnagiri, we’ve a series of tunnels into which the train passes. Some of these tunnels are so long that the entire train is under the mountain for a good five-seven minutes, and notwithstanding the speed at which the trains travel on the Konkan Railway route, this translates to the length of these tunnels. All along you can find Rail-men manning these tunnels to ensure the safety of each and every train that passes through it.
We reached Ratnagiri and checked into a hotel on the main road. We intentionally did not drive to Ratnagiri as we wanted to enjoy the Konkan Railway enroute. The next day we started off to Ganpatipule which was our first destination. The temple is situated right on the beach and this offers a unique perspective to our journey. The beach at Ganpatipule is clean and was less crowded, we got ample time to relax and enjoy the waves lash the shores. As we left Ganpatipule we were unaware what was instore for us at Jaigad. Jaigad is a small town perched at the tip of the Jaigad creek. The views from this fort are simply stunning. The blue sea, the green coconut fringes, there cannot be anything more which you could ask for in case you are a staunch nature lover. There is a regular ferry service from Jaigad to Tavsaal on the other side of the creek. One can drive the vehicle onto the ferry and then cross over to the other side. On the other side of the creek there are two interesting places to be visited, one is at Hedvi and the other is at Velneshwar. The road from Tavsaal winds down the hill and runs right beside the sea front to provide a panoramic view of the vast blue Arabian Sea. There are two temples and quaint coconut trees swaying to the winds at both Hedvi and Velneshwar, which makes the visit equally rewarding.
We returned back to Tavsaal and then on to Jaigad, the Jaigad fort was our next destination. The fort is located right next to the Thermal Power Plant, which generates Electricity. After visiting the fort we returned back to Ganpatipule, we wanted to get back to Ratnagiri and this time we wanted to take the Aare-Ware route. The Aare-Ware route from Ganpatipule to Ratnagiri is something which ought not to be missed while at Ratnagiri. The views outside on this route are simply astounding. Mother Nature has blessed this region with all it’s glory and this is evident with every twist and turn as we wind along the coast.
The next day we travelled to Devrukh from Ratnagiri and from there on we went to Marleshwar. A flight of steps lead us to the cave shrine of Lord Shiva. The shrine is surrounded by the hills on all sides, one can view the majestic water falls just before entering into the shrine. The water thunders down from the higher slopes and then forms into cascading curtain just before flowing down as a river. One can relish hot Vada Pavs along with hot beverages after returning to the base after the long trek up and down the hill shrine.
The last stop we visited while at Ratnagiri is Rajapur Ganga. This place has a hot water spring. Hot water flows out of this spring all through the year. Locals use this water to cook food and also bathe. This perennial source of hot water flows out into two streams which form the bathing ghats for men and women separately.
While at Ratnagiri, the city is by itself a jewel of the Konkan coast. The renowned landmarks of Ratnagiri are the Tibaw palace,the birth place of our great freedom fighter – Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The Ratnadurg fort. The Tibaw Palace was were the Burmese king and queen were imprisoned, close by is the Tibaw point from where the views of the waters down below the cliff are a delight to watch. One can easily lay back and let time flow at its pace. The serene blue sea, the Bhatye beach, fishermen in their boats. Tug boats pulling larger vessels are a sight to behold.
Lok Manya Tilak or Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s birthplace is yet another famous land mark at Ratnagiri. The birthplace of this legend is well maintained by the authorities.
Ratnagiri and the Konkan region of Maharashtra is truly blessed with some of nature’s best kept secrets. The entire region is lush green and is full of life. Your purpose of visit could be anything, Ratnagiri greets you with equal prominence. The vibrant Konkan coastline, the majestic waterfalls in the hinterland, flowing down the lust green Western ghats are truly not to be missed in one’s lifetime.
Akshata Dubey - Archives:
- Green Route Through the Western Ghats
- Wayanad – Paradise in God’s own country
- A Trip into the Chalukyan Era