Some of the best beaches of India, temples where the chants of yore still resound, delicious seafood specialties, forts with features so brilliant that you can’t resist being proud of Maharashtra’s architectural legacy and an art form that narrates stories from the epic Ramayana- all this and more are what you enjoy at Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg. Did I mention that too without burning a hole in your pocket?
The bliss of being on a beach which is clean, sparkling with white and light brown sand, with a gentle breeze blowing, where you can scream with delight as the waves gush at you drenching you or where you can sit and make sandcastles, relax and rejuvenate- that’s Ganpatipule beach for you. But wait, you can take your pick from the other stunning beaches which are equally gorgeous. There are the twin beaches of Aare – Ware, bhogave beach, Shiroda beach, Redi beach, Malvan beach, Mithbav beach, Tarkali beach, Deo Baug beach and Chivala beach.
The temples standing as sentinels on various beaches include the Swayambhu Ganpati temple at Ganpatipule, the Lord Shiva temples at Velneshwar and at Hedvi, the Karahateshwar temple and Kunkeshwar temples. Kunkeshwar is a beautiful temple not only because of its backdrop of sand and the Arabian Sea, but also because it depicts South Indian temple architecture. The temple was constructed in 1100 AD by the Yadav dynasty. Later on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj asked his minister Neelkanth Pant Bawdekar to renovate the temple. Kunkeshwar is known as the Kashi of South Konkan. Another prominent temple is the Rameshwar temple near Vijaydurg whose entrance pathway has been cut through 50 feet of rock. The 1791 bell captured by the Marathas also greets you at the gate of the temple.
Malvani food will tempt you and in all probability you will give in. It’s a good idea too else you will end up regretting not sampling chicken vade saguti and a range of seafood that is both fried and prepared as a curry. Kolambi or prawn fry, pomfret and bhangda fry, chicken thali and vegetarian thali options are freshly prepared and tasty.
One of the best sea forts, Vijaydurg was built 800 years ago. It has a Hanuman mandir, a Shivling, Bhawani mata mandir and gomukhi shaped main gateway which are typical features of forts built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Maharaj also hoisted his flag here. The discovery of Helium gas, a rain water harvesting reservoir, various cannons and cannon balls and tunnels are other noteworthy features.
Almost 250 years old, chitrakathi is an art form of storytelling from the Ramayana using paintings. The three primary colours used are red, green and blue and they are prepared from vegetable colours and natural dyes. At Pinguli, the Gangavane family is the custodian of these paintings which are displayed at their Thakar Adivasi Kala Aangan museum.
Written By Khursheed Dinshaw