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Things To Do In Ratnagiri
With some of the best beaches on the Konkan coast, what more would any tourist want but a lovely holiday by the sea shore? But that is not all there is to the little sea town of Ratnagiri. There are charming places to trek to, beautiful mountain streams and waterfalls fed by the monsoon showers and little touristy towns that you are drive to, on the winding country roads fringed by a lush undergrowth of mango trees and cashew groves.
Whether it’s a relaxed holiday you seek, putting up your feet and watching the sunset, visiting the sights or indulging in adrenaline pumping adventure sports, Ratnagiri has all that and more. Get off on a bird watching stint or soak up on the fresh showers on a monsoon day or join a turtle festival tour. Ratnagiri has some great holiday plans with cool things to do, and we will tell you how to get about them!
The Sahyadri mountain ranges that rise up most mighty and strong on the eastern fringes of Ratnagiri offer some of the most beautiful and thrilling trekking adventures. Winters are the best time for trekking, but monsoon does turn the land in all of earthy browns and lush greens that is most pleasing to the eye. There are trekking and mountaineering groups in Ratnagiri and Kolhapur that you might join for organized trekking escapades into the wild unknown mountain paths.
Most of the mountain peaks in Ratnagiri taluk have ancient ruins of forts perched atop and are some of the best places to trek up to, especially if you are a history buff. The Sumargad, Rasalgad, Prachitgad and Mahipadgad are some of the mountain forts that are a must trek-to places.
The rivers that meander down the slopes of the Sahyadri form some of the most amazing cascades in and around Ratnagiri. There are waterfalls like the Nivali and Savatsada Falls on the Mumbai – Goa route and more as you drive into Ratnagiri. The Dhutpapeshwar Falls near the Dhutpapeshewar Shiva temple, Ranpat Falls at Ukshi, Veer Devpat Falls at Chiplun, Marleshwar, the Chuna Kolvan and Ozar Khada at Rajapur, the beautiful stepped Khorninko Waterfalls at Lanja are some of the stunning waterfalls in Ratnagiri.
Tote up your camera, put on sensible trekking shoes and follow the trail to some of the picturesque slopes of Ratnagiri where you would find a waterfall. Watching a cascade thundering down a dense forested region could be a wonderful experience.
The seas off the coast of Ratnagiri district offer a wide array of sporting activities. From the simple, relaxing pedal boat or a water scooter rides to the adventurous parasailing, kayaking, snorkeling or jet skiing, you could try them all at Ratnagiri’s beaches. Some of the beaches that offer activities are Ganpatipule, Marleshwar and Guhagar beaches as well as the Murud and Kharde beaches. Scuba dive into the waters of the mysterious deeps to discover a coastal marine life complete with coral reefs and colorful fishes.
On land you could participate in rock climbing, valley crossing, rappelling, mountaineering or exploring the basalt stone caves on the slopes of the mountain tracks of the Sahyadri. There are sports clubs that might help you with the best and safest kinds of adventure sports that are available in Ratnagiri.
If you love the feathered friends, a bird watching stint is one of the best ways you could spend your time in Ratnagiri. Head off to the beaches to watch the Black and Brahminy Kites, White Bellied Eagles, Caspian Terns, Common Redshank and the Eurasian Curlews. Not very far away from the coastal regions are the plantations of casuarina, cashew and tall jackfruit trees where you would find more birds like the Crimson Backed Sunbirds, Emerald Doves or White naped Woodpeckers.
Trekking up high on the Sahyadri peaks that border Ratnagiri and on the Ghat regions are a lush undergrowth of vegetation where you find more birds, reptiles and a plethora of smaller mammals. The Konkan region has no particular bird watching seasons, for you find plenty of birds there through the year!
Ratnagiri is one of the right places to be in if you are seeking an inspirational and educational tour, especially if you are visiting with kids. There are a number of museums in and around Ratnagiri that give an enlightening tour of the historical, ecological and cultural wealth of the Konkan regions. The Marine Aquarium and Museum has specimens of sea creatures like sea horses, trigger fish, eels and sea cucumbers as well as an aquarium of colorful fishes and water plants. Check out the 55 ft. skeleton of a whale.
The Tilak Ali museum runs from the ancestral home of freedom fighter Lokmanya Bala Gangadhar Tilak. The home by itself is a fine example of ancient Konkani architecture and houses paintings, pictures and the personal memorabilia of Bala Gangadhar Tilak. The museum is maintained by the ASI.
Hot Water Springs
The region around Ratnagiri has a number of hot water springs that the locals believe have therapeutic properties. Dotted about the villages of Unhavre in Dapoli Taluk are hot water springs whose waters are transferred into kunds or manmade ponds and if you would take a day’s break to visit these hot water springs you could bathe in these waters. The landscape around these kunds is lovely too, what with lush country vegetation and a Shiva temple at the yonder hills.
You could also visit the hot water springs at Aaravali about 18 km from Sangameshwar, the Rajapur hot water springs on the plains of the River Kondavi as well as the Tural hot water springs that is located between Chiplun and Tural about 10 km from Sangameshwar on the floodplains of a tributary of the Shastri River. All the natural hot water springs have facilities for a dip.
The vast rolling sand dunes and the rolling white waves of the Arabian Sea are what make some of the best beaches that border the landscape of Ratnagiri. There are a number of beaches around the town that you will be spoilt for choice deciding on the best ones to visit. The Velas beach, home to Olive Ridley Turtles, the Ganpatipule beach which is fast becoming one of the most sought after beaches of Ratnagiri and the soft waters of the Kunkeshwar beach at Sindhudurg, with a Shiva temple at the shore are a must visit.
Visit the Devgad beach that has picture perfect ancient temples, forts, a lighthouse and windmills perched atop a hill near the beach line. Take a morning stroll at the secluded Bhatye beach or the palm tree lined Anjarle beach at Dapoli. Go for a swim at the small Guhagar beach where the Vasishti River flows into the sea or the Mandavi beach which is also called the Black Sea for its black colored sands.
Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary
If you would love to watch wildlife, take a trip to Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary that’s on the borders between Kolhapur and Sindudurg. The Sanctuary which is also considered a hill station has lush vegetation, with rugged mountains and dense forests in which dwell a variety of animals including Indian bison, leopards, barking deer, wild dogs and wild boars. The Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best places in the region for a bird watching tour. You can get to spot native as well as migratory birds including vultures, doves, bee eaters, sand pipers, king fishers, wood peckers and sun birds.
Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary is about 154 km from Ratnagiri. The nearest rail head is the Kolhapur Railway station. The Sanctuary offers accommodation and safaris as well.
Far down on the foothills of the Sahyadri is the manmade Khorninko Dam, an earthen dam that was constructed by the irrigation department. Surrounded by the undulating peaks and the pristine mountain stream that overflows during the monsoon, it’s a spectacular sight to behold the stream gurgle and splash over the staircase. The misty mornings of a monsoon day are the best time to visit the Khorninko dam, when the river overflows its banks.
The dam is located in a quiet, secluded region and you might not find any stalls nearby. You will have to carry light refreshments and water and be prepared for a drizzle if you are visiting during the rainy season. The dam is in Lanja village, on the Rajapur to Sakharpa road and is about 60 km from Ratnagiri.
A Drive to Sangameshwar
A small town about 62 km away from Ratnagiri is Sangameshwar, a coastal hamlet tucked away between the confluence of the Sonavi and Shastri rivers. Enclosed by the Western Ghats on one side and the beach town of Ganpatipule on the other, Sangameshwar is a pretty picturesque place, with a lush and luxuriant landscape that is dotted with hills and gentle waterfalls cascading down the slopes.
Tourists visit Sangameshwar for the renowned Marleshwar Cave temple for Shiva and the Marleshwar waterfalls. From Ratnagiri it takes about a 2 hr. drive to Sangameshwar and you could hire a cab to drive you to the place, though Sangameshwar has good access to cities and towns around, with its own railway station and bus stand.