Picture Credits : Damini Kashelkar
Fancy a trip to secluded beaches, hill-tops with ravishing views, waterfalls that descend from the heavens or perhaps lighthouses that stand tall against the crashing waves?
What if all this was at one place, would you still find reasons to not go?
Ratnagiri, a small port city in Maharashtra, in the Konkan regions is a breath of fresh air. I was lucky to get a chance to visit this quaint little town with my hostel roomate who happened to live here, back in the year 2012. A plan made at the last moment, I got myself loaded in a car with her relatives not knowing what was to come later that evening. Ratnagiri is about 330kms away from Mumbai. While it took us a little more than 9 hours to reach, if you aren't travelling with 8 mouths to feed you might probably make it in about 6-7 hours. The route is pretty phenomenal but it's even better if you take the train. It's cheaper and gets you to Ratnagiri in about 6 hours. Also you get to pass through the tallest bridge in the country - The Panvalnadi Bridge on the Panval river!
We reached late in the evening just in time to have a quick Konkani dinner with konkan-kadi and rushed off for a night stroll at the nearest beach, Bhatya. The night was dark but the stars were awake in all their glory. We strolled through an empty beach, hearing the white waves crash against the rocks and a hill wall caving the mouth of the sea.
The eyes soon got used to the darkness and it felt almost magical to be there under the calm moon. What was left was a moonlight bath in the Arabian Sea. And so we went straight for it! The cool night air and the warm tinge to water just made for a perfect night at the sea!
The tiny town of Ratnagiri sleeps early and rises late. The shops close down by 9 pm and open around 9-10 am. You can smell the sea in the air and taste the salt on your skin!
The next morning we rose early and again went for a morning walk by the beach.
The best thing about Ratnagiri is that it is just made for all your philosophical reflections. My friend’s mother is a writer and writing by the beach was her routine!
We travelled around on a scooty, ascending and descending slowly through the winding lanes of the town. The road to the hill-top is breath-taking. You might feel you’re in a different country altogether. Waterfalls on one side, Arabian Sea on the other and the curvy road that just goes on. It is a sight to remember. The sun-set point on the hilltop Ratnagiri Fort is major tourist spot. One can see the sea on three sides and the setting sun kissing the calm waters while gently drowning in it.
While in Ratnagiri, all you need to do is move around from one secluded beach to the other since each one has its own marvels. The beautiful crab patterns and the perfect stretches of sand. Ganpatiphule is another site near Ratnagiri that you could visit for splendid beaches and the 400 year old temple.
I had my share of home made konkani food and alphonsos, walks on beaches and feasted my eyes on the beauty all around. Ratnagiri I believe is a place to just lay back and enjoy the simple things in life!