Mango season’s finally here. And they say you have not had mangoes if you haven’t tasted the Alphonso. In that case, why not head straight to the land of Alphonso – Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. Pristine beaches, quaint fisherman’s hamlets, historic forts and panoramic views of the Konkan shoreline come as added bonus.
A short trek uphill through a charming fisherman’s hamlet and occasional patches of forestland that are home to rare birds like the Indian Hornbill, lead you to the crumbling skeleton of the Purnagadh Fort. The dilapidated ruins, overrun by shrubs and bushes, do not offer much to explore but dazzling views of the ocean and the surrounding landscape will make it worth your while. The sounds of birds and crashing waves offer that much-needed break from the city noise.
6km from Purnagad fort, shimmering white sand, crystal clear waters, seagulls wading on the surf, crabs sprinting across the sand, and unmatched views from the surrounding cliffs, await you. If this is your view, you’re at Ganeshgule beach. You have the choice to either sit back, relax and ruminate, or go wild in the waters without worrying about onlookers.
The name might ring a bell if you have read author Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace. In any case, if you are up for a lesson in history, spend a few hours exploring the Thibaw Palace or what remains of it. Situated on a hillock in Ratnagiri town, Thibaw Palace was where King Thibaw of Burma, exiled from his country by the British, was held prisoner. It is a beautiful piece of red brick architecture and the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape from the palace ground, an added bonus.
The rugged and robust ramparts of the Ratnadurg fort stand atop one of the barren cliffs overlooking the vast stretches of water. There is not much to see within the walls of this medieval fort except the Bhagwati Devi temple, an important pilgrimage for the locals. On an adjacent cliff a lighthouse stands solitary. But don’t miss taking a walk along the fort’s ramparts for spectacular views of the sea, the surrounding cliffs and the valley in the distance speckled with tiny villages and bustling fishermen’s hamlets.
Ganpatipule Beach and Temple
The most popular beach in the region, Ganapatiphule beach is quite busy during tourist season. And, so, it may not be the ideal spot to unwind if you’re looking for some time alone. It is, nonetheless, somewhat customary to visit the beach and the Ganapatiphule temple that stands on it.
Aare and Waare beaches
If you opt to drive down to Ganapatiphule from Ratnagiri town, a good place to stop and stretch would be the charming twin beaches of Aare and Waare. But it is the drive from Aare Waare to Ganapatiphule that is likely to blow your mind. The road, punctuated by dramatic viewpoints, coils up barren cliffs, and the sea is an almost constant company – the best stretch of 30km between Ratnagiri town and Ganapatipule.
The article was first published in 2015, and has been updated since.