Road Trip


Ride to Swami Swarupanand Pawas

Swami Swarupanand Pawas: Two Wheels, Two Nomads, One Thrilling Adventure

Day 5: Dec 26, 2007

Today was a long ride from Velneshwar to Swami Swarupanand,s abode – Pawas.


Up early we got ready and we set to ride off to the next destination. We paid off and visited the temple first to have the darshan. Sanctified by the blessings of Lord Velneshwar – we set off for Hedvi.

Velneshwar Temple

Velneshwar Temple


A pleasant ride took us to Hedvi which is famous for the magnificent Ganpati temple. It was a quiet place on a small hillock with steps to reach there. The temple was a home for an attractive idol of Lord Ganesha. The surroundings were impressive and we took blessings from my pet deity to proceed forward.

Hedvi Temple

Hedvi Temple

The ride after this was even more pleasing as it ran parallel to the shore until we reached Tavsal. This was again a wee hushed hamlet and a huge creek beside it. We enquired about Vijaygad and we were least expecting to be asked to go back on the same road for a while. We hadn’t seen any structure which resembled a fort on our way! But we headed back.


Following the instructions of the villagers, as we traced the same route back for over a km, we saw a small bastion on the left-hand side. It was completely in ruins and one could never expect that to be the fort we were looking for. Akshay and I debated for a while whether it was actually the fort that we were looking for and finally another villager confirmed my gut feel. Vijaygad was completely in ruins and there were just 2 bastions and very little fortification giving us the indications of the fort that would have existed long ago. It was tough for us to even climb over the bastion to peep over the other side as thorny plants blocked our way. We somehow managed to get over it and got to have a breathtaking view of the sea and Jaigad fort opposite the creek.

Jaigad Fort

Jaigad Fort as seen from Vijaygad


We then headed back to Tavsal jetty to ferry across the creek. We were in time as it was only 9:40 am on our watch but to our surprise, we saw the ferry had already left the jetty and was sailing across. It was supposed to be at 10 am and we were really upset to have it missed, as the next ferry was only in the afternoon at 3:30 pm.

There was a small boat at the jetty and they asked us if we wished to go to Jaigad. We said yes and they asked us to get the bike over the other jetty which was running parallel to the one we were on. It was difficult for just both of us to pick up the bike and come over and we requested one of the guys to help us out. But he turned a deaf ear to us and kept on doing his work. To our surprise, he set sail and went away too! We were astonished by his deed and kept on wondering why he did so.

Another motorboat then came across and the boatman agreed to ferry us across. One of the guys was a little reluctant to take the bike along but then the other guy said yes and we heaved a sigh of relief. The boatman helped us lift the bike and put it inside the boat and we were off to Jaigad.

the lovely backwaters

It was lovely backwaters we were passing through and the shores were lovely palm tree-lined avenues. The scenes just went on getting better as we approached the Jaigad jetty. At the jetty, it was again a tussle to get the bike off and on top of it the guy charged us 100 bucks. Surprised as never before, we still agreed to pay him off. It was much better than waiting there till 3:30 pm for the next ferry!


Jaigad fortification covered a huge area and it was strong enough to stand as is till now. The fort housed a Ganpati temple, a Shiva temple, and ruins of various old structures. We had a quick walk over the fortification and reached back at the main entrance.

Jaigad Fort

Shiva Temple and Fortification at Jaigad

The unusual thing about the entrance was that the bastions beside it had a small guest house. A guest house!?!? We were really in a confused state of mind and we decided to check it out. It was no more there now but it was a well-built one. It was probably the government guest house meant for the police officers who visited there. The Jaigad police station was right outside the fort!

Jaigad Entrance

The guesthouse in the bastion of Jaigad Fort

As we walked out of the door we saw a vehicle with a message printed on it – “Govt. is great”. Dazzled as never before Akshay managed to capture the wonderful message in his camera.

Govt. is Great

Govt. is Great!!


I was telling Akshay that Jai and Vijay are the dwarpal – the doorkeepers of Lord Shiva and since we have seen the Jaigad and Vijaygad forts we should have a Shiva Temple in the vicinity. A young chap we met at the fort had guided us to Karahateshwar Temple and had recommended it as one of the “must visits”. And this was the Shiva Temple we were looking for.

Karahateshwar Temple

Karahateshwar Temple

Karahateshwar is on a small hillock right beside the sea. We had to descend a few steps to reach the temple. It was a secluded temple amidst the tranquility of the coconut palms and the music of the seawater hitting the edges of the hillock. As we entered the temple we felt an aura of holiness and serenity. We had the holy darshan of the shiv lingam and the pujari blessed us with offerings. He also asked us to follow the steps to visit the Gomukh and we did. At the edge of the cliff was this Gomukh – pouring out cold fresh water. It was indeed astonishing to see the existence of fresh water when the sea was right beside it. We had some of this fresh water and walked back to our bike. We were now set off for and all excited about Ganpati Pule.


2 km before Ganpatipule is a small settlement of Malgund. An emblematic small Konkani village has gained importance because of Kavi Keshavsut. He is said to be the father of poetic literature in Marathi. This famous poet was born here and his birthplace has now been converted into a memorial dedicated to Marathi literature. We definitely didn’t want to miss it and hence decided to halt for a while at Malgund.

Kavi Keshavsut Smarak

Kavi Keshavsut Smarak

As we entered Malgund there was a huge market set up. Probably it would have been the weekly market. A small tempo selling ber caught our attention and we decided to buy a kg to keep munching on the way. We then asked directions for to the memorial and reached there within no time.

Keshavsut Smarak was indeed a wonderful place. The place where he was born is a petite hutment well maintained with his possessions on display. Behind the hutment are a library and a small museum. The museum houses extract from the writings of a few great authors of Marathi literature. It was a pleasure being here and reading a few of these.

Ganpati Pule

We hopped on our bikes and covered the 2 km distance in no time. As we entered Ganpatipule we were greeted by the hubbub of the tourists. Ganpatipule has a lovely beach and also a Ganpati temple which is said to be awfully sacred. So not only tourists galore but also a lot of devotees of Lord Ganesha frequent this place.

Ganpatipule Temple

Ganpatipule Temple

We went to the temple first to seek blessings from the lord. It took us quite some time, the temple is crowded. We then set off for the 1 km pradikshina. It is said that after the darshan if one walks along the 1 km route encircling the hillock behind the temple, he is blessed by the lord, and all his desires are fulfilled. Well, we did it for the fun of it and it felt really good. We then spent some time on the beach.

We were very hungry by now and we enquired about a good hotel for lunch. Locals suggested “Durvankur”– pure veg. We went with a lot of expectations but were disappointed in the end. The food was okay but not very tasty. Also, we wanted to have modak but the waiter said it needs to be ordered at least an hour in advance. We were disappointed but developed a strong desire to eat them when we saw others eating the same. There was a Konkan festival going on nearby and I happened to read “Ukdiche Modak” out there and so we decided to try our luck there. We were lucky to have them there and relished the sumptuous modaks.


Very few people are aware that there exists a soothing and restful shore just a km or so away from Ganpatipule – identified as Bhandarpule. Glittering silver sands, shady coconut palms, unfathomable blue sea, and a neat resort called Krushnai – Bhandarpule is a dream destination for a fervent vacationer.

Bhandarpule Beach

Bhandarpule Beach

We turned back to Ganpatipule and headed toward Ratnagiri. It took us about an hour and a half to reach there. The ride was good crossing various creeks and the beautiful backwaters. One of the creeks had a bridge called “Arey Ware Bridge” built over it to cross the same.


Once in Ratnagiri, we headed straight toward Ratnadurg. It was pretty sunny and we were really tired by now. So to quench our thirst we had cold drinks and couldn’t resist the temptation of having ice cream too.


Ratnadurg or the Bhagwati fort as it is popularly known is a vast fort and the fortification encloses a vast stretch of land. Within the fort there are 3 main hillocks – 1 has just some fortification, the 2nd has a lighthouse and the 3rd is the balekilla – the castle or the main part of the fort which has the temple of Goddess Bhagwati. The temple has been newly rebuilt and is regularly visited by the residents of Ratnagiri. The Goddess blesses thousands of devotees who visit during the auspicious occasion of Navratri.

The Balekilla has strong fortifications and bastions overlooking the sea. The Bhagwati port can be seen from one of the windows in the bastion. It is an awesome view of the port and the stretch of the sea with silver sands.

Ratnadurg Fort

Ratnadurg Fort

There is also one very unique thing about the sea here. On one hand, is the sea with white sand (Bhagwati port side), and on the other is the sea with black sand (Mandvi port side). We visited the beach with white sands and it was the place to be in the town. It was hard to believe that the main road was just a very few meters away from this beach. It was very quiet and serene. Except for a few fishermen, there was not a soul on the beach which rather surprised us. Also right beside the beach was a huge mansion – a really huge and pretty one. And to top it all it had its own private helipad!!! Probably must be one of the ministers.

Athra bhuj Ganpati

18-handed Ganpati was another object of attraction in Ratnagiri. It is rare to find Ganpati with 18 hands. And so was it rare for us to find it out J When we asked for directions we always got vague answers and after biking for around half an hour gave up. We had sugarcane juice at one of the hotels there and then enquired about the temple again. We learned that the path was through a very narrow gully and finally we were there.

Athra bhuj Ganpati

Athra bhuj Ganpati at Ratnagiri


In a short while the vast sea would have gulped the sun and we were ready to be gulped too :D. So we went to Bhatye beach. It seems to be the favorite beach of the people in Ratnagiri. There were lots of people here unlike the White Sea – this puzzled us. Since there were a lot of people Akshay was, unfortunately, the only lucky one to enjoy the beach bath today. I preferred to stay back and take some photos and guard our belongings. I also relished the ber that we had bought today at Malgund. Another reason I didn’t want to have a dip as we were to spend the night at the Swami Swarupanand Pawas Baktaniwas and didn’t want to go there in wet clothes.

Bhatye Beach

Trying to capture the sun at Bhatye Beach

Swami Swarupanand Pawas

Finally, when Akshay was satisfied with the dip in the sea, we headed for Swami Swarupanand Pawas. A half an hour’s ride brought us to the Bhaktaniwas which was full. We shared our room with 5 other people who were from various places in Maharastra. After a quick bath, we rushed to the temple for the Darshan and the Aarti. We sat in the dhyana mandir and meditated for half an hour. It was a very sanctifying experience and with the blessings of Shri Swarupananda at Pawas, we headed back to the bhakta niwas for the delicious prasad. After savoring the prasad we headed towards the Desai’s outlet right opposite to satisfy our sweet tooth. Ambawadi was the only option there as it is available abundantly in Konkan. We finally settled for the same!

Continued… Day 6


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