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Ganapatipule
The 720 km long coastline of Maharashtra, sprawls from Dahani and Bordi in the north, to Goa proceeding southwards. Exciting water sports, sunbathing on golden sands, exploring grand fortresses, temples, and churches, discovering tiny, remote villages, savouring the exotic Konkan cuisine, or just feeling one with the immense sea - Maharashtra has all this to offer and more. Ganapatipule 
Ganapatipule is set along the western coast of Maharashtra. It is located 375 km south of Mumbai, along the Konkan coast. Ganapatipule is one of the `Ashta Ganapatis' (eight Ganpatis) of India and called the `Paschim Dwar-Dewata' (Western Sentinel God). Climate is moist and humid but healthy. From March, the temperature starts rising and May is the hottest month. The winter season is most pleasant with temperatures dropping at nights. Suggested clothing include loose cottons, although warm clothing during winter nights is recommended. Don't forget to carry your swimming costumes. Recommended for those in search of something different are MTDC's Beach Tents,just next to clear blue waters of the Arabian sea. Rates vary from Rs 125 to Rs 250 per day. MTDC also has a resort on the slope of a green hillock, facing the sea, which offers low cost, high comfort accommodation. Besides MTDC accommodation, private hotels/resorts are also available. Travelling to Ganapatipule by road is a vacation in itself. The entire `Konkan' region is paradise - for miles.

         Ganapatipule is a popular tourist haunt, not only for its soothing greenery, and its golden beach, but also for its 400 year old temple, which is dedicated to Swayambhoo Ganapati. Some places of interest around the area are Malgund, the birthplace of Keshavsoot, the famous Marathi poet; Ratnagiri, the birthplace of Lokmanya Tilak; and the Thebaw Palace, where the deposed King of Burma was confined. Jaigad Fort and Swami Swarupanand's ashram in Pawas, are also worth a visit.

How To Get There : The nearest railhead is Kolhapur. Mumbai is 375 kms away by road, while Pune is 331 kms away.

Velneshwar

      170 km from Ratnagiri is the village of Velneshwar. It's adjoining beach is clean and natural and is lined with coconut trees. Swimming and other water sports are possible there as the beach is free from rocks. There is an old Shiva temple near Velneshwar which is frequently visited by pilgrims.

       Mumbai is Maharashtra's capital and India's most dynamic, prosperous and westernized city. Mumbai has, in less than five hundred years since its "discovery" by the Portuguese, metamorphosed from an aboriginal fishing settlement into a sprawling megalopolis of thirteen million people. Mumbai alone generates 35% of GNP, its port handles half of the country's foreign trade, and its movie industry is the biggest in the world. In reality, it is a gateway to India. Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi and English languages are most commonly used. Between November and March is the best time to visit Mumbai.

       To the north of the Shastri river, lies the little village of Velneshwar. Its tranquil, coconut - fringed beach is perfect for swimming, or just lolling around. It also boasts of an ancient Shiva temple, which is an important pilgrimage site. The great Maha Shivratri fair, held in honour of Lord Shiva, that comes once a year in March, makes Velneshwar the cynosure of attention, throughout the country.

How To Get There : Karad is the nearest railhead. By road, Mumbai via Chiplun and Guhagar, is 370 kms away.

Marve

      Closest to Mumbai's bustling crowds is the Marve beach, lying north of the city. Its villas and the fishing village offers a taste of colonial splendour and a lifestyle untouched by expansion and industrialization. The sunsets and sunrises that one can see here are enhanced by the hill ranges that frame the beach. Easy to reach, Marve can be approached by road and boat.

      Lying to the north of Mumbai, are three beautiful and serene getaways, virtual havens, for those sick of the dreary monotony of the big city. Marve, a quaint little fishing village, is the nearest and the quietest of the three. Low - lying hills make for a breathtaking canvas, for the glorious scenes of sunrise and sunset. Gorai and Manori, a little further away, though a trifle crowded with revellers, are popular for their wonderful all night beach parties. A 15 minute ferry ride from Marve or Borivili takes you to Gorai and Manori.

How To Get There : Malad, a station on the suburban segment of Western Railways, is the nearest railhead. By road, Marve is 40 kms from Mumbai via Malad.

Manori & Gorai

      These both beaches have become favourite with the picnickers and are situated close to the city of Mumbai. The village folk here let out their homes and extend hospitality with cooked meals and drinks, but at a price. Gorai's sparkling waters are safe throughout the year and the village has its own charm. However, it is advisable to avoid waters in the monsoon months.


Chowpatty Beach

      Chowpatty beach is in the heart of Mumbai. Chowpatty has rich historical links to the freedom movement; several important meetings were organized here during the freedom struggle. At present, this is where images of Ganesha are immersed after the ten days of Ganesh Chaturthi. Though the beaches remain empty throughout the day, it is a hub of activity in the evenings. On this beach the most famous are the Kiosks. These stalls sell all kinds of Chatt & Tikki and who can forget the famous Bhelpuri of Chowpatty. Apart from the food, this place is full of life with people from all walks of life taking a stroll on the beach. On the beach itself is a small colony of the original inhabitants of Mumbai, The Koli fishermen who can be seen drying their catch or mending their nets. Statues of Lokmanya Tilak and Sardar Patel, two of the most outstanding Maharashtrian freedom fighters, stand on the beach.

Juhu Beach

      One of the largest and frequently visited tourist beaches of India on the shores of Arabian Sea. The beach of beckoning , with its choc-a-bloc Bhelpuri and Kulfi stalls. One of the prime and posh localities of Mumbai is also situated along this sea coast. This place houses the bungalows of famous Bollywood personalities. Almost all Hindi films have a day of shooting at Juhu. Luxury hotels and apartments line the southern end of Juhu Beach, a favourite haunt of Mumbai's movers and shakers. It's no place for a swim or a sunbathe, but on weekends and weekday afternoons there are horse and donkey rides, dancing monkeys, acrobats, cricket matches, toy sellers and every other type of Indian beach entertainment. North of Juhu is Versova Beach, home to Mumbai's largest Koli fishing community. Juhu is 18 km north of the city centre, not far from Mumbai's airports.

Bassien

      77 km from Mumbai, connected by road and rail (take a Virar local train) is Bassien, very Portuguese and much quieter too. Portuguese food is served by the locals who also rent out shacks and rooms, and the resplendent Bassien Fort.

       In the early 17th century, Bassein served as an important ship - building centre. In 1739, this was the site of the Portugeuse defeat at the hands of the Marathas. The ruins of the Portugeuse Fort still stand solemnly, amidst dense brushwood and palm groves. To the northwest, about 10 kms away, lies the Nalasopara village, the erstwhile Konkan capital from about 1500 BC to 1300 AD. Nalasopara is believed to have been the birthplace of the Buddha in a previous incarnation. Many Buddhist relics have also been found here. The Vajreshwari temple, the Akloli hot springs, the Sadguru Nityanand Maharaj Samadhi Mandir at Ganeshpuri, the Bhimeshwar temple and other ashrams are at a short distance away from Bassein. There are quite a few interesting churches, too, in Bassein, poignant reminders of the Portugeuse past.

How To Get There : The nearest railhead is Bassein Road, on the Western Railway line. By road, Bassein is 77 kms, along the Mumbai - Ahmedabad highway.

Alibag Murud Janjira

       Formerly the capital town of the Sidis of Janjira, Murud is today popular for it's alluring beach, whispering casuarina, coconut and betel palms, and an ancient fort. On a hillock to the north is the shrine of Lord Dattatraya, the three heads representing Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. The 300 year old fort was once upon time considered to be impregnable. The palace of the Nawab and the Janjira caves are also a must for the tourist. Just a few kilometers away are beaches of Nandgaon and Kashid. Panvel is the nearest railhead and Mumbai is 165 km by road.

       The three centuries - old fort of Janjira, once considered impregnable, is a marvellous piece of architecture. On a hill to the north, is the Lord Dattatraya shrine, the three - headed image, representing the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. A few kilometres away are two alluring, little - known beaches, Nandgaon and Kashid. Nandgaon is renown for its magnificent Ganpati temple, and the annual fair held in the god's honour, every February. Other sites of interest in this area, are the palace of the Nawab and the Janjira caves.

How To Get There : Panvel is the nearest railhead. Mumbai is 165 kms away by road.

Dahanu

       Approximately 145 kms from Mumbai, is the coastal town of Dahanu. It boasts ofsome of the country'sbest chickoo orchards. Gliding is one of the new pleasures. And the Irani and Parsi culture of the place add a touch of the exotic. A half-hour's drive down from Dahanu is the village of Bordi. The beach is endless, and very safe and very beautiful.

Mandwa-Kihim Beach

      12 miles north of Alibag on the north coast, and easily accessible from Mumbai, Mandwa is a beautiful, untrodden beach. For an unusual tent holiday,is the nearby Kihim beach. Unspoilt and isolated, this is a beautiful place. Worth visiting is the Kolaba Fort, just a furlong away from the shore. 15 km from Alibag is Chaul, an historic place where one can spot Portugese ruins, Buddhist caves, the Hamam Khana, a church,a temple and even a synagogue.

       Twelve miles north of Alibag, on the north coast, easily accessible from Mumbai, is the untouched, divine beach of Mandwa. The little Mandwa village leaves the visitor enchanted, with its neverending coconut palm groves, and overwhelming tranquillity. For a slightly unusual yet exciting holiday, the Kihim beach near Mandwa, is the ideal site. Remote and unspoilt, Kihim is a virtual treasure - trove for the avid nature - lover : deep woods, wild, and rare flowers, equally uncommon species of butterflies and a variety of birds, not surprisingly, Kihim was one of the popular haunts of Dr. Salim Ali, the famous ornithologist. The other places of interest are the Kolaba Fort, near the shore, and Chaul ( 15 kms from Alibagh) which is a site of historical importance, boasting an assortment of Portugeuse ruins, Buddhist caves, the Hamam Khana, a church, a synagogue and a temple.

How To Get There : The nearest railhead is Panvel ( 85 kms ). By road, Kihim is 120 kms from Mumbai. Small passenger service boats ply frequently between Mumbai and Mandwa ( Rewas ).

Shriwardhan - Harihareshwar

       The Shriwardhan Bay is the popular haunt for people who love real sun, sand and sea. For the more adventurous in spirit, small boats are available to be taken out to the north side of the bay, and indulge in some exploration, going deep into the land, where the Peshwas, the prime ministers of the Maratha kingdom, originally dwelt. The 'Peshwa Smarak' is a local landmark, of much tourist interest. The town of Harihareshwar, is primarily known for its beautiful beach, and the grand Harihareshwar temple.

How To Get There : By road, Mumbai is 230 kms away. The nearest Mumbai - Goa highway point is about 60 kms, at Goregaon, which is around 170 kms from Mumbai (via Vashi Creek Bridge).

 Vijaydurg and Sindhudurg

       Vijaydurg and Sindhudurg were once naval bases, giving testimony to the Maratha martial supremacy, under the great Chattrapati Shivaji. Vijaydurg, or Fort of Victory, was strengthened in the 17th century by Shivaji, who added impressive features to it like, the triple row of huge walls, the umpteen towers and the spacious inner buildings. Sprawled over an area of 48 acres, once seized by the British, and renamed Fort Augustus, the Sindhudurg or Ocean Fort at the Malvan port, is a historically vital monument. Within its premises are temples dedicated to Bhavani, Mahadeo, Jarimai, Mahapurush and Shivaji, the last being, the only shrine of its kind in India. Both these places also boast of picturesque beaches.

How To Get There : The nearest railhead is Kolhapur. Sindhudurg by road is 510 kms, and Vijaydurg is 425 kms from Mumbai via the Goa highway.

Vengurla - Malvan

Vengurla lies towards south down the Maharashtra coastline. With its immense stretch of shimmering sands, and thick cashew, coconut, jackfruit and mango groves. It also has two famous temples, the Shri Devi Sateri temple and the Rameshwar temple, to its credit. Vengurla was an important trade settlement in ancient times. Twice razed to the ground, it has been the target of quite a few attacks and plunders between 1664 and 1812. A short distance away lie the Vengurla Rocks, also known as the Burnt Islands. The old township of Malvan, houses two old forts : the Sindhudurg and Padmagad. It is believed that there was once an underground tunnel joining the two forts. An erstwhile trading centre, Malvan is now famous for its salt pans, Chinese clay pottery and its mouth - watering Malvani cuisine, which is quite different from Konkan delicacies.

How To Get There : Kolhapur is the nearest railhead. By road, Malvan is 514 kms away from Mumbai, 200 kms from Ratnagiri. Vengurla is 522 kms from Mumbai. 

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