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RATNAGIRI: Getting There & Around (1/5)

Last summer, with a long two weeks spread out ahead of us and no definite plans being made in advance, we decided to go on a road-trip impromptu, up along the Konkan coast. There was one home-stay (Oceano Pearl) that I'd already added to the bucket list sometime back; hurried calls were made and bookings were confirmed. The rough plan was to start as early as possible on the first day, break for a day or two in Goa, and then move on to Ratnagiri. It was flexible, and everything depended on how we would feel on waking up the next day.

*Total distance: around 600 kms from home
*Drivers: 2 (Dad and me)
*Who actually drove: Dad (the reasons, he gave, were many- "We have a long distance to cover, you drive too slow, can't afford to waste time", "There'll be rash trucks", "Mileage!!", etc.)

The drive up to Goa was very good as always; having started very early this time, we were in Panjim by 1:30 PM, to have lunch at Ritz Classic, even after taking 2-3 breaks . The second part from Goa to Ratnagiri was good too, albeit a little tiring. After the first 40 km or so from Goa, the highway is quite narrow, and there are many small towns along. Hence we had to slow down. Finally we reached Rajapur, from where we took the deviation into the state highway to Ratnagiri.

The harsh summer sun was quite unrelenting, plus there was some construction work going on in certain spots. Overall, the roads were good, except in a certain few areas in the state highway. Driving amidst mango orchards, cashew farms and coconut trees felt nice. At one particular spot, the road had a sharp turn, and lo- the afternoon sea glistened back at us! We continued with the drive-break-drive routine. We reached a certain spot on the state highway that felt like the middle-of-nowhere. The home-stay folks guided us from there and finally we reached our destination. Now, this place was literally located in the middle of nowhere! 
Somewhere along the state highway
Mango trees along the way
The shimmering sea
So vast, not a soul in sight
There was absolutely no mobile network there (not even BSNL!), for which we weren't exactly prepared. There was not a sight of a single shop, not even a small petty shop. It was 'rural' in true sense. And the best part of the place was it was located right by the sea, at the Ganeshgule beach. It was more like a private beach. The roar of the sea at night added to the charm of the place. There were trees of different varieties of fruit all around, but mango prevailed. Too bad the mangoes weren't ripe yet.

The next day we decided to explore the town, and following a yummy breakfast of kande-pohe made by Pratibha tai, we set off for the day. We first went to the ancestral home of freedom fighter Shri Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The place is really well-maintained, and informative with lots of photographs from the freedom-struggle era. We spent sometime relaxing in the cool courtyard with lots of greenery behind the house. It was getting hotter by the minute.
Kande-pohe
Backyard
Next in the list was the Ratnagiri fort. It was a blunder on our part for having underestimated the summer heat. The assault of the burning sun on our skin made sure all the high spirits blew off in a fizz. The road to the fort is very narrow and steep in some places, and one has to be little extra careful. On reaching the fort, Dad refused to get out of the car, but told me I had all the time in the world to look around. I decided to go alone (while he relaxed with AC on full), and climbed up a few stairs that felt so steep, to enter the fort- it felt like a blast from a furnace! I quickly visited the Bhagwati temple at the entrance, walked around for a bit, and simply turned back. Not worth it, I decided. When I went back, he had the I-knew-you'd-back-soon look. 

(Tip for the solo woman traveller- you could find some idiots loitering about the place, as I did to my dismay. They must have mistaken me to be a "forainer", as they tried to talk in English. It left me wondering why we put up such a poor show of ourselves when travellers from other countries visit India!)
Ratnadurg, perched atop the hill
Bhagwati Temple
Bust of Kanhaji Angre, chief of the Maratha Navy 
View of the sea from the fort
The 'bejaan' thali
By now we were running low on patience, and the next place in the list the Thibaw Palace was conveniently forgotten. Our plan to visit the fort again to catch the sunset was dropped too. We decided to have lunch at the apparently famous Hotel Amantran in the heart of the city, but were quite disappointed with the fare served. Unpalatable, overpriced and avoidable in my opinion. 
We got the 'aaj-ka-din-hi-kharaab-hai' feeling and returned back to the room. The entire evening was spent by the sea, and the sunset was very pretty, which was the only good thing about the day, apart from kande-pohe.

Read the other posts from this series: our drive to GanpatipuleGaneshgule BeachOceano Pearl Homestayback to Goa via Kasheli

Comments

  1. WOw..Now it's on my wishlist too :)

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Rupam, and also for coming back to 'Here, There, and Everywhere'! :)

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Harshita Joshi, the place was beautiful, photographs are merely a reflection!

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  4. Great post Priyanka:) Thanks for sharing; hope to visit soon

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Rashmi, hope you go on that trip soon!

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  5. Sun and sand are the main happiness ingredients :) For someone like me who avoids every opportunity to travel ( yup , im bitten by the bug of 'homebody-ness' rather than wanderlust); I enjoy reading a well written travel blog cos it takes me places sans the expense. And yours is a well written one....

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Bhavani, and I hope you get bitten by wanderlust soon! ;)

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