A beautiful small town on the Western Ghats, just 340 kms from Pune, Ratnagiri stands home to a number of forts, temples and places of historic importance.
I got to know about this city while reading one of Amitav Ghosh’s novel – The Glass Palace. It described the last king of Burma spending his time under British confinement at a small place in Ratnagiri. To be true, I loved the part in the book, where the king spent his time watching sea, mountains and birds with his palace there. It depicted a kind of tranquility factor for this place.
So, as usual unplanned to the maximum we were. Boarding our trains from Panvel and reaching Ratnagiri at a very early 5 am. We started our small search for a decent hotel, and ended up at a relatively good place called Swaroop Hotel. It was at a relatively easy to reach location. Anyways what we all were looking was a short power nap and get ready for this awesome weekend.
We went to RatanDurga Fort first. It’s not too far from the city, just a 20 minute rickshaw ride to the top. Covered three sides with sea; it presented a mesmerizing view of the unending vastness of the ocean. And if the weather wishes, you might just see a rain storm coming in front of you. The fort also holds Bhagwati temple which was just as calm as the peaceful sea encompassing it.
The other side of the fort was a light house too. No pakka path till there, so we just trekked to that location. And it was worth it. Like one more step closer to being natural. Cool wind, drizzle defining its texture and makes it more absorbing. Wow. Standing on a mountain cliff, with the vast Arabian sea till you can see and rain drops hitting your face. Godly.
Arabian sear. Western Ghats.
Our next stop was the Theba Palace. Yes, the same place I mentioned before here. Place where last king of Burma was kept. It was on a different hill, with an entirely different view of the sea. I can somehow feel myself in his shoes and see the pain which someone of his stature and intelligence must have felt with his kingdom his everything lost. The place was tranquil no doubt. But somehow it gave me an impression of a lot of rebellious thoughts kept in detention. The place was balanced, but something somewhere was trying to tilt the equilibrium. May be that’s what Theba actually wanted.
The next places were the Theba view point (close to the palace) and the two beaches surrounding the Ratnadurga Fort. They were Mandwi and Bhyate. Lovely places both of them. Had some real good gaon ki chai over there.
The rain was with us every now and then. And gave us no chance whatsoever to completely dry up at any part of the day. Exactly what I wished for.
Ate the famous Ratnagiri Haafus mangoes. It made me realize why we call mangoes as king of fruits over here in India. The turn was to eat and taste some authentic Konkan sea food curries. We tried crab and oysters. Made me realize everything requires some practice before you can actually enjoy it. Eating seafood properly could also be a PhD topic in few years.
Wind and Rain
Well, for the second day, stay tuned for the next post.