During November 2014 towards the very fag end of kids Diwali vacation I ventured to drive out for a holiday with my family to Ganpatiphule. The thought of driving on the picturesque ghats on NH 17 fascinated me. We started the drive from Powai near Mumbai at 7am.
The roads were in good condition and since we started early the traffic was okay. We crossed Vadkalnaka just before the traffic swelled up as per the plan. Reached Mahad by 12.30pm and had lunch in Visava restaurant besides the river. Took a break of just over an hour. The food was okay. After lunch we passed Poladpur , the junction to go to Mahableshwar. The NH 17 route is winding with many curves. One needs to be very careful and patient while overtaking on these roads which are two way roads without dividers. One needs to be alert while overtaking. One will always need to overtake as otherwise we can never reach within a reasonable time. This road is also referred as killer road as many accidents take place on this route. However, for an experienced and careful driver it is safe.
The ghat sections were bit tiring for the kids and my younger one who was 4 years old then did throw up couple of times. It is advisable to carry some medicines if driving on these roads with kids . A plastic bag will be handy as then you need not stop frequently on the ghats. Following is the distance as recorded from my car’s odometer;
The distance table is an approximate reading based on the odometer of my car. The drive time was around 9 hours including the lunch break.
The beach in Ganpatiphule is very clean. There is an ancient Ganesh temple right on the beach due to which the place got the name. I had visited the place in 1997 and I found that the place was more commercialized now. Finding a parking near the beach is very difficult. The MTDC resort is right in front of the beach. Last time around I had stayed in MTDC but this time I stayed in Fern courtyard which was 2 kms away from the beach. I must say that for the fried Konkani style fish nothing beats MTDC. Great flavour & taste. They have maintained the quality of the food.
The kids had a very good time splashing around the beach and running after the crabs. Other places we visited in nearby Ganpatiphule was the Jaigarh fort which is 13kms from Ganpatiphule. The fort is totally in ruins & deserted. It was more like a haunted place and not worth the drive. However, on the way we saw some very nice virgin beaches with white silvery sand and thousands of sea gulls.
There is also a Konkan prachin sangralaya which boasts of the world’s India’s collection of shells and also gives an insight into the lives of Konkani inhabitants 500 years ago. It is a good place to learn the history of the place
There is an aquarium 4 kms from Ganpatiphule. The aquarium is very small but good for children.
During a stay in Ganpatiphule one needs to visit Ratnagiri via the areevaare road which has breath taking views of endless virgin beaches with white silver sands. The road is through the mountains, but it doesn’t have any of the perils of a ghat. This drive of approximately 20 kms is very pleasant through the mountains, with beaches on one side and through small villages.
In Ratnagiri we visited the house where LokmanyaTilak was born. The house is preserved as a monument of national importance. It is a simple house, and you can smell the nostalgia. Understand there were many more things to see around Ratnagiri but we decided to get back as the kids wanted to play on the Ganpatiphule beach for the last time as we were to hit back to Mumbai the next day morning.