Don’t Listen To What They Say, GO SEE...!!!
Ratnagiri is a coastal town in the Konkan region of India located between Mumbai and Goa. It’s not just another coastal town it has its own rich heritage, culture & history. With hills on one side and beautiful beaches on the other its one of the best coastal towns of India. Every year I come here for a couple of days and each time it surprises me with its many secluded beaches, forts, local delicacies, world famous alphonso mangoes, and so much more to explore. My sister lives here and I come to meet her and my lovely little sweet-heart niece. A couple of days here and I just love the short break from my routine. The train journey from Goa to Ratnagiri is in itself one of best journeys one can look forward to in India. It’s not as laid back as Goa nor it’s as busy as Mumbai, located between both these famous tourist destinations of India, Ratnagiri has its own unique charm. It has so much to offer both for the solitary travellers and regular tourists. A short trip of 2-3 days and you can explore the entire Ratnagiri town, dip yourself in the waters of its pristine secluded beaches, wander around the hill tops with amazing views, explore the many historic places, get spiritual at its many temples, and enjoy the Marathi and Konkani flavours and cuisines. To explore the many places you will need to hop onto an auto-rickshaw or simply hire a taxi.
Places to Explore
Ratnadurg Fort located on a hill-top in Ratnagiri surrounded by Arabian Sea on three sides. This fort was built during the Bahamani rule. In 1670, Shivaji conquered the fort from Bijapur ruler Adil Shah. In 1790, one Dhondu Bhaskar Pratinidhi rebuilt the fort, and strengthened its ramparts. The fort has the shape of a horseshoe, with a length of 1,300 meters and a width of 1,000 meters. It is also popularly known as Bhagwati mandir as there is a Bhagwati mata temple in the fort premises. The fort was used as a watch point for keeping a vigil on the pirates. Perhaps this was the main reason for construction of fort on this hill. The view from the top is spectacular. The breakwater bridge or the abandoned jetty below visible from the top is another place to explore for the travellers looking for some solitary time. During Navaratri festival Bhagwati mandir is a major destination for festival celebration for the locals. A lighthouse is also situated in the fort, which guides the ships and vessels.
This beach is one among the favourites of the locals. It’s a very beautiful beach with a mix of white and brown sand which gives it a distinct look. It’s a quite long beach about 1.5kms and good for a long walk in the mornings as well as evenings. It’s calm, quite and a romantic place for the love birds of the town. It’s peaceful secluded in the weekdays and a little bit crowded on weekends. On weekdays it is so undisturbed and free from humans that it can give you the feeling of owning a private beach. It’s clean and well maintained and also has a few stalls which serve chats, drinks, coconut water etc. Do try the Kokam sharbat which has a quite refreshing and unique taste.
Just ahead of Bhatye beach the lovely winding roads up the hill goes towards Titanic point. The views from titanic point are simply astounding. This place is to be visited in the evenings to spend some quite time and view the setting Sun changing colours of the horizon and slowly dipping into the Arabian Sea.
It’s just below the Ratnadurg fort and the beautiful breakwater or the barrier bridge visible from the top of the fort is located at one end of the mirkarwada village. The view of the breakwater bridge is so tantalizing from the fort that no one would want to miss exploring the bridge and walk on its strong structure till the very end. The leisure stroll on the bridge and the sound of the waves crashing on it is simply a remarkable experience. Mirkarwada village is well known for it is the coastal station for marine professionals and all the fishing boats and trawlers land here. It is the major trading spot in Ratnagiri for marine industry.
Mandvi Beach (Gateway Of Ratnagiri)
Mandvi beach is located in the heart of the town. Mandvi beach is a black sand beach also known as the Gateway to Ratnagiri. If you go in the morning it’s peaceful and calm and a walk on the jetty bridge would be simply a soothing experience, whereas in the evening’s you can enjoy the wonderful sight of sun set & you will find a lot of street food stalls near the beach. The view of the setting sun and the taste of the street food will leave you wanting for more. This beach is not that well maintained by the local authorities and also not among the best beaches of the town but still worth a visit.
Ganpatipule is a small temple town in the Ratnagiri district. It’s at a distance of about 20kms from Ratnagiri and the narrow winding roads and the route that will lead you to this place will keep you excited throughout the journey. Ascending and descending through the narrow winding roads with hills and small villages on one side and pristine white beaches on the other will leave you awe-struck. A 400 year old Ganpati temple housed in the temple complex lined with many small shops selling a variety of items and right next to it is the famous Ganpatipule Beach. Explore the temple and its history and whisper your wish in the ears of the large brass mouse idol at the entrance of the temple and who knows if your wish gets fulfilled as believed by the many devotees visiting the temple. After all the spirituality head towards the beach for some fun on the sand with horse and camel rides. There are many eat-outs near the beach where you can refresh your taste buds.
Aare - Ware Twin Beaches
The twin Beaches of Aare and Ware is on the Ratnagiri-Ganpatipule route. Aare is the first beach that you would come across and Ware around 1-2kms from here. Both the beaches are beautiful secluded white sand beaches. If you looking for some solitary experience just stop by soak in the sun, dip in pristine blue water’s, observe the beautiful crab patterns and the blissful sound of the waves with zero disturbance. Both these beaches are very secluded and the views from certain points up the hills here especially the sunset point near the Aare beach with sea on three sides is simply breathtaking.
Thibaw Point & Thibaw Palace
Thibaw point is situated on a small hillock. Here you can have a very good view of the setting sun. One can have a panoramic view of someshwar creek, bhatye bridge to pawas and Arabian sea. This place is quite crowded in the evenings as many families from the town come here to spend a good time. At a short distance from Thibaw point is Thibaw Palace. Thibaw Palace was built by the exiled King and Queen of Burma in 1910-11. The history of the place is quite interesting and currently it’s housings a sculpture museum and another small museum with the portraits of the king and some of his personal effects. Its currently undergoing renovation by the archaeological department of India.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak Birthplace
Visit the birthplace of freedom fighter and statesman Bal Gangadhar Tilak at Ratnagiri. It’s about 10mins walk from the Ratnagiri bus stand.The humble two-storey house where he grew up is now a museum, displaying his personal belongings and achievements.
In between all the hip hopping and exploring Ratnagiri, tasting the local cuisine is a must. For the foodies to satisfy their hunger pangs there are plenty of options to try from the Marathi and the Konkani cuisine. Missal Pav and Cut-Vada at a small restaurant named Rasraj at tilak road would be one of the best options for breakfast. Try vada pav at the famous vijay vada pav stall in ram lane near the bus stand. For dinner you can head to Carnival for a scrumptious meal and satisfy your taste buds there. Ratnagiri is famous world over for its Alphonso mangoes the king of fruits. When in Ratnagiri one should not forget to devour the king of fruits and do carry those juicy luscious mangoes back home for your loved ones along with the delightful memories of Ratnagiri.
Cheers To Traveling, Cheers To Exploring...!!!