Ganapatipule is a small hamlet in Ratnagiri
district. Ganapatipule is an ancient pilgrim centre with lot of
history while also being a very beautiful sea town. It about 25-km from
Ratnagiri and around 375-km from
Mumbai , housing a "Swayambhoo"
(a naturally formed idol) of Ganapati.
This place is untouched by commercialism; the pastoral beauty of the village is enhanced manifold by the six kilometres of virgin beach on the breathtaking Konkan coastline. Ganapatipule is one of the `Ashta or Astha Ganapatis' (eight Ganpatis) of India and called the `Paschim Dwar-Dewata' (Western Sentinel God).
According to a legend it is believed that during 16th century AD, a villager fed up with small and frequent quarrel's in the village, arduously made his way through the Kerda jungles and stumbled upon Lord Ganapati's idol here, around which he made a temple. Four hundred years thereafter, generation upon generation of villagers, who came from elsewhere started living here. They started performing pujas and made additions to the shrine.
The temple at Ganapatipule lies picturesquely at the foot of one of the two-ticketed hills, which lies next to the glorious beach. The hill itself is considered sacred. The deity is called Ganapatipule as the temple of Lord Ganesh is built on the fine white sand or 'Pule'. One can hear rhythmic beat of the Nagaras (a musical instrument) every morning at the temple.
The idol placed in the sanctum, the Garbhagriha has been painstakingly preserved. At sunrise and sunset, a shaft of golden light penetrates the Garbhagriha and illuminates the idol. Devotees perform pradhikshina (a sacred ritual of encircling) of the hill, which is made possible by the rock-encircled path. A perennial spring flows from the hill to a pond beside the temple. The Chaughadas (percussion instruments) are played in the evenings; signaling the time when the smaller idol's clothes are changed and the last 'Naivyadham' (sweet offerings) are made along with mantra-Pushpa.
The temple becomes the hub of grand activity with the advent of Bhadrapad (end-August-mid September), the festivities commence and continue for five days. The villager's and pilgrims join enthusiastically in a procession honouring the Lord. The smaller idol of Ganapati is placed in an ornate palanquin, and carried on the shoulders of the devotees through the village.
Tourists can take a rough road and walk down to a small village called Malgund where the renowned Marathi poet Keshav Sut was born. Bhandarpule on the other side is another beautiful beach village, serene, clean and as easy to fall in love with as Ganapatipule. Ratnagiri, the birthplace of Lokamanya Tilak and the Thebaw Palace, where the deposed King of Burma was confined. Jaigad Fort and Swami Swarupanand's ashram in Pawas are also worth a visit.
Air: Nearest airport is
Rail: Nearest railway station is Ratnagiri 50-km away on the Konkan Railway.
Road: MTDC bus ply between Mumbai and Ganapatipule. There are regular as well luxury buses running from Mumbai 375-km away and Pune, 144-km away to Ganapatipule.
The villagers provide rooms at nominal price and they also serve typical Maharashtrian meals. Tourists can also stay at beach resorts.