Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ganapatiphule–The Konkan Coastal trip

I am back from another hiatus :-)

This is about our trip to a place called Ganapatiphule. We went on this trip on 2nd of June 2011. The place is basically a beach with few resorts built on it along the Konkan coast. It is about 380 kms from Pune takes about 9.5 hrs to reach with halts.

We had heard about this place through friends and wanted to go there. It is famous for its virgin beaches with very little humanity. Both my wife and I love such secluded beaches.
So we booked a room at the resort called The Blue Ocean Resort.

"Indian 5-star hotels which keep only paper [and not water jets] in their toilets seem to think that every Indian who walks through their luxurious doors automatically turns into a western asshole." – Remo Fernandes (Indian Musician)

The reason why I wrote the above sentence is because that statement fits Blue Ocean resort perfectly. The blue ocean resort called themselves 5-Star and did not have simple things taken care of to back their claim.

Here is 8 point failure of the blue ocean resort. Don't get me wrong though,  people were courteous and place was clean, but then you cannot claim to be a 5-Star and not take care of basic stuff which I would expect from even a local hotel.

The Blue Ocean Failure

  1. You can’t call yourself a 5-Star just by owning a sexy website
  2. You do not have water jets (health faucet) in the toilet and there is no bath tub.
  3. Chef cannot even cook Indian food let alone continental. He had simple formula. If its South Indian food then make it sweet. If its north Indian then make it hot. If its pasta it has to be loaded with tomato sauce and also sweet. And if you complain something is too sweet, a tobasco sauce is readily made available.
  4. The helper boys and the guards had only 2 states – either they are completely invisible when you needed them or they are in you face when you didn't need them!
  5. Most employees at the resort did not speak or understand simple English! Whenever you spoke to someone they will nod their heads and you think they understood, then you realized (after about an hour) that they hadn't!
  6. The female receptionist would probably win a prize for best smile, but when it came to understanding hospitality she would struggle against a street urchin.
  7. No Local cuisine!!! I cannot believe that a resort which is located along Konkan coast, which is famous for one of the best seafood in the country, did not have anything local to offer!
  8. And lastly – The whole resort which has over 25 villas, seemed to have just one wine opener in their inventory!!!

Enough of the rant… lets move on :-). As I said, in spite of all this, the resort was not bad and the place is a definite beauty. We went just during the onset of monsoon, so it was even more breath-taking.

Day #1  
On the way through Mahabaleshwar. Suni in front of strawberry stalls. _PSA1659003
The Mahabaleshwar valley. Its breathtaking to say the least!
This is HDR Processing. I didnt have ND filter, still got the details in HDR with single RAW.
This is the storm approaching on the valley _PSA1685021
The Railway line cutting across fields.
All these picture were taken while we were on the way to Ganapatiphule.
A lonely house in the middle of a storm. I love this. This is again HDR processing of single RAW converted into 5 JPGs with –2 to +2 EV stop _PSA1686
The Buddha statue at the hotel entrance . Despite all the issues have had with the hotel management, the resort itself was kept spic and span. _PSA1715041
And it started pouring as soon as we stepped into our room :-) felt gloomy a bit, but then… I never went on a pouring vacation! :-) _PSA1695028
The wet bridge in the resort. _PSA1711038
The Coconut groves on the way to the resort beach.
PP – Just increased contrast & saturation. Hue slightly to the blueish green
Suni at the beach with umbrella…good they provided one! :-)
E-5…that crazy beautiful camera!
A lonely umbrella at the beach… _PSA1730054
Day #2  
Our breakfast chef… he made good continental scrambled eggs. We loved it. Suni and Adu loved the sunny-side-up! _PSA1772072
Towards our villa (#21). The resort doesnt have rooms like a traditional hotel, instead it has over 25 one room villas. So there is privacy and more peace. We liked the setup. _PSA1801091
The Buddha statue outside our villa. _PSA1804092
Gapapatiphule is famous for the ganapati temple, on day 2 we visited this temple. Its located in a lovely place. I wish locals paid more attention to cleanliness, as they do in Goa, though. _PSA1810097
Suni with her long lost brother :-) _PSA1813099
View from the backside of the temple. It is a beautiful place…
A storm was approaching from the sea when we were there…
The side view of the temple. _PSA1840116
The camel rides on the beach outside the temple. _PSA1836113
Adu and I with our new hats :-)
Got cool hats at a very good price!
The hat seller. We had tough time making him smile. Do whatever you like, he had a perpetual glum look on his face. This must be his unique pic in his entire life! :-) _PSA1876129
This guy was the hat seller’s partner. He, on the other hand was a cheerful lad :-) _PSA1877130
On the way back from the temple we stopped at a eatery, which sold lovely “kanda bhajji” and “chai” :-)
Dont try looking for the bhajji in the pic, Suni finished it off before I could take my camera out ;-)
The place had lots of local souvenir shops that sold articles made out of shells and other stuff. Suni at one such  shop. _PSA1881134
Day #3  
We decided to visit Ratnagiri, which is about 35Kms from Ganapatiphule. Ratnagiri is famous for Cashew, Mangoes and seafood!
At the Breakfast table, Suni and Adu…
On the way to Ratnagiri. Soaking in the natural beauty. It was slightly drizzling, which made the environment even more sexy..
My little photographer with mommy! :-)
The scenic view of villas… _PSA1942146
A winding staircase near the sea. P6041952-260
Boats ready to weather the approaching storm… P6041973
In Ratnagiri. This is where we had our lunch. The served wonderful fish and prawns curry!
Absolutely delicious!
Our next place of visit in Ratnagiri was the, almost forgotten, Thibaw Palace. I say “almost forgotten” because the palace is extremely well kept. However there are very few visitors. And the entry fee is Rs. 7. Which is about 7 cents!! 
If this was in any western country, then you can guarantee that it would be minting money like crazy. Such a beautiful piece of history, yet so few seem to know about it!
Even we stumbled upon it accidently when we stopped to ask locals about places to visit!
This picture tells the story about the palace.
Just for your interest, $1 = Rs 50
So this palace was build at the cost of approximately $2500!! :-)…in the year 1906
The Majestic Thibaw Palace from the front P6041986-279
Another view of the palace. P6041995-284
The Canons which once adorned the palace. P6041998-287
The staircase leading to upper floor of the palace. _PSA2003153
The symmetry inside the palace! _PSA2010157
Wide angle view of the symmetry… _PSA2011158
The view of inside the palace. The good caretaker started the fountain for my sake :-) P6042017-298
My little photographer in front of the fountain inside the palace. P6042018-299
Outside the palace. A local park. P6042029-307
In the Ratnagiri Market.
As I said, Ratnagiri is famous for mangoes, even the Superman loves it!!
On the way back, a serene beach! Most beaches in and around Ganapatiphule are serene like this. Very little human habitation! My kind of place  ;-) P6042068-315
A boat… P6042080-322
At the resort back again. Another Buddha statue at the beach side of the resort. _PSA2091181
Patterns on the beach _PSA2099187
Suni in contemplative mood! P6042116-339
A couple building castle in sand as their driver takes pics.
A storm is approaching in the background.
Final Day  
The cool dude all ready for the journey back home :-) _PSA2138202
The journey back, through heavy rains… P6052145
We stopped over at a highway restaurant “Purna Bhrama” for lunch.
This non descript restaurant served us the best seafood we had in 4 days. Simply Lovely!!
Hungry Adi and Suni….can wait to get their hands on the food! _PSA2156209
The friendly proprietor of the restaurant.
Please visit this restaurant on you way there. Its fantastic!
Continuing the journey…
A woman carrying water. Taken from the moving car.
I love the bloody E-5!
An young girl pumping water from the hand pump OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
On the Mahabaleshwar valley. The visibility was about 10 meters in rain and dense fog. We were literally crawling at about 15 kmph! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A view of Mahabaleshwar valley on the way back. P6052211-358

This was indeed a memorable trip. A must visit place!!