A Road Trip to Konkan

Our 2018 December vacation was a road trip to Konkan on the Maharashtra coast from Bangalore and back. Yes, we always wanted to do a road trip in our Beamer.  This trip was not only about enjoying the car but the joy of exploring beautiful golden beaches, picturesque coastal villages and savouring traditional Konkan food, prompted us to go ahead. Additionally, having our car handy all the time was a real boon in an area like Konkan. So a road trip it was going to be.

The EverChanging Landscape

Who says it is always the destination which counts! Sometimes the journey too can be as interesting as the destination 🙂 This road trip to Konkan was beckoning us to explore the ever changing landscape as we passed along the Karnataka-Maharashtra border. As we kept on driving, not only the topography change but also we witnessed a perceptible change in the social and cultural landscape – the farmlands, the crops, the villages along the way, the dress, the temple architecture, the houses  – everything kept changing as we cruised along. Not only that, but to our good fortune, the food too changed flavours and texture as we entered Maharastra.

Experiencing this firsthand was possible only because of the road trip that we took, which was a gorgeous, no-hassle drive with good roads and amenities throughout.

The Road trip to Konkan from Bangalore

This is the route we took when we started from North Bangalore:

Bangalore-Mangalore Highway (NH75) –> NH48. Continue on NH48 for almost all of the 7-8 hour drive –> Belgaum –> Ganapatipule in Konkan
We stayed overnight at Belgaum before proceeding to Konkan coast the next morning. Our itinerary was planned to the hilt but we had to change it last minute to accomodate some unwanted events – which I can, however, call a blessing in disguise.

5-Day Itinerary of our Konkan Road Trip

1) Drive from Belgaum in Karnataka to Ganapatipule in Konkan and make that our base for the next 3 days. 
2) That was to be followed by driving to Dapoli, some 4 hours away up north and spending another 2 days there.

Finally, we planned to spend our last leg of the vacation in Mahabaleshwar, a picturesque hillstation in the Sahyadris, before returning to Bangalore.

Ganapatipule – A Small Temple Town

Ganapatipule temple during our road trip to Konkan
Pic courtesy: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en (license) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ganpati_Temple,_Ganpatipule.JPG

This little seaside village got its name due to the popular Ganapati Swayambhu temple, which is situated right next to its beach. This small little temple town boasts of gorgeous coconut-fringed beaches, a Prachin Konkan Museum which depicts the culture and traditional practices of the land and of course, some lipsmacking local cuisine.

Tip: One can buy conches and shaligram (holy stone) from the Prachin Konkan museum. 

There are breathtaking views and beaches at every 5 min drive from the main part of the town. Ganapatipule beach, Aarey Waare Beach, Malgund beach are all pristine beauties with white sandy stretches spreading across miles.

A beautiful beach with hills in the background. A view on our Konkan road trip.
Aarey-Waarey Beach in Ganapatipule
Another beach in Ganapatipule
Another secluded beauty in Ganapatipule
Dinosaur drawn in the sand on the beach
My son’s sand art on Ganapatipule beach

The beaches are no doubt gorgeous but being the foodies that we are, what we loved the most in Ganapatipule was the local Brahmani thali and the fresh snack items found in almost all eateries all throughout the day!

Maharashtrian Thalis in Ganapatipule

Bhau Joshi Bhojanalay (087669 47019) and Mehendela’s Swad Dining (094224 32776) are two such eateries which literally served mind-blowing authentic fare. Take a look for yourself and drool 😋😋😋

Food served in a steel thali. Numerous vaatis of vegetables, dal along with salad is served with chapatis.
Thali at a khanaval on the way to Ganapatipule – clockwise from left- methi chi bhaaji, batatyachi bhaaji, varan, koshimbir, ghadichi poli, papad, lonche (unlimited and fresh-off the stove fare)
A beautiful and sumptuous Maharashtrian thaali
Another Maharashtrian Thali with Modak (sweet dumpling). @ Mehendale’s Swaad Dining – clockwise from left – Modak, bhopla mirchichi peeth perun bhaaji, koshimbir, papad, lonche, thecha, varan, kalya vatanyachi usal, dahi, poli and aamrakhand.

I can safely say that Ganapatipule was a culinary destination for us more than a sightseeing destination. We ate and ate and in between did a quick day trip to the nearby Ratnagiri as well 😁 . Visiting Tilak Ali Museum, the birthplace of Lokmanya Tilak and the Ratnagiri fort, is time well spent. The drive to Ratnagiri was scenic and the town is also a good place to shop for Alphonso mango preserves like aamras, aam papad, aamba burfi, and even dry chutneys, kokum agal and syrups.

Lokmanya Tilak's Family House in Ratnagiri
Lokmanya Tilak’s Ancestral House in Ratnagiri. Tilak Ali Museum (The word ‘Ali’ stands for a narrow lane in Marathi). The house is situated in a really narrow lane as were the roads in those days.
Sea and cliff in a fort
Ratnagiri fort

Tip: One can buy conches and shaligram (holy stone) from the Prachin Konkan museum. 


Sunset over the ocean and sea gulls gathered on the sands
Sunset at Guhagar beach

This was the next leg of our road trip to Konkan and not Dapoli as was planned. Man proposes and God (or Destiny) disposes.

It is another story why we couldn’t reach Dapoli at all. Our car burst a tire in the middle of a jungle while we were on our way to Dapoli. We could drive for more than 40 minutes in that situation  (thanks to tubeless tires!) to the nearest Shringartali village where a car garage helped us assess the situation and figure out an alternative plan. The tyre was to be replaced the next day as the nearest dealer for that type of tyre was in Pune. So deciding against driving to our hotel in Dapoli which was another 65 kms away, we decided to check in at the nearby resort Mango Village in Guhagar.

We were glad that we stayed back at Guhagar instead of driving up all the way to Dapoli. Mango Village Resort is indeed a lovely place tucked away near the scenic Guhagar beach. Little independant bungalows dotted the resort village with a restaurant that again served mouth-wateringly delicious local food. A small clubhouse, a play ground and a Ganesh temple at one end of the resort completed the ‘village’ feel.

Mango Village Resort in Guhagar. The resort is made up of independant small houses
Mango Village Resort in Guhagar

Guhagar Beach

The best part of Guhagar is its beach. This gorgeous white sandy beach stretches for around 6kms in a straight line till it merges with the horizon at one end. A silhouette of a whitewashed temple at the other end  with the setting sun in the background reaffirms the beauty of the entire landscape. The serenity, solitude and beauty of the beach during the golden hour of the  sunset made all of us feel really light-hearted and happy. It is difficult to describe in words how vastly this magnanimous nature can influence us lesser mortals!

Just seagulls on the Guhagar beach. A rather isolated beach with unparalleled beauty.
The most cleanest and charming beach that I have ever seen at Guhagar

The beach was spotlessly clean and was flocked by sea gulls at one spot. The setting sun casting its orange light on the flapping sea gulls made for a lovely sight. One can easily spend hours there gazing at the blue sea, enjoying the breeze and doing nothing. It is a must-visit spot if you are in Guhagar. We spend a lovely evening there chasing the sea gulls and leaving our footprints to be washed away over time.

Tip: Guhagar is a small village with a lovely beach and a couple of lakes nearby. It is a retreat for a perfect relaxing weekend. So do not expect many commercial activities and establishments like water sports, restaurants and the usual buzz in there.

My next blog on Mahabaleshwar is also here for you to read…

Leave a Reply