Ganapatiphule is about 300 kms away from Mumbai. This meant about a 7-8 hour drive that would include stopping for breakfast and washrooms on the way. The day before, we packed a big snacks basket that included bananas, apples, sweet buns, juice packets, dry fruits, chips and water. Thus armed with a decent stock in case we couldn’t find any place good for food, we started off at 7am.
To our pleasant surprise, there were ample breakfast and snacking options along the way. The drive too, was a very good one with only very few stretches of somewhat bad roads. And since we started early, we managed to beat traffic, thus adding to the beauty of the drive. Ah yes, the drive. With the rains gone almost two months now, the lush green countryside had given way to a nice colour of brown, exposing the red soil and rocky hills in many places. The trees though were luxuriously green and I wondered if they were the evergreen types. A closer look told me that the trees that lined up the route were mostly Mango trees. But of course! This is the famous Ratnagiridistrict of Maharastra that gives to the world its most loved and most expensive variety of mango, theAlphonsos. They are there everywhere. Along the highway. In neat orchards. In the little hills. Makes you promise yourself to come back here during the Mango season. As though you can simply get off your car, climb a Mango tree, pluck one and eat it!! No Sir! They guard every tree during the fruit season. And shoo away wide-eyed city-mongers like me…
Golden brown meadows, mango orchards, banyan-tree canopies, a lake, meandering through hills and valleys, the drive is indeed very beautiful and you’d fight the urge to stop at numerous places for a longer viewing and a quick photograph. You won’t see the sea though until the very end of the journey (unlike the Mumbai-Kashid drive where you drive alongside the coastline for about 45 minutes). And when you finally do see the sea, you will fight another strong urge to run straight to it instead of checking in at your hotel first or even having lunch! 😀
Will tell you all about that, but first, a little info that you may find helpful —
Best Routes for a Mumbai-Ganapatiphule Drive
We took the route Mumbai Eastern-Express Highway-Panvel–Khopoli– Rohe – Mahad – Khed –Chiplun – Savarde – Chafe – Ganapatipule. Once you take the Khopoli turn to exit the Expressway, it’s a 2-lane road until Ganapatiphule, going past small towns and hamlets. On our way back too, we took this same route.
There is an alternative route that from Mumbai-Pune- Satara – Umbraj – Chiplun State Highway –Patan – Chiplun – Savarda – Chafe – Ganapatipule. This route is obviously longer for Mumbaikars…..
Breakfast/Lunch Options For The Mumbai-Ganapatiphule Drive
Since we had started from Mumbai at 7am, we were at the Panvel McDonalds around 7.45. Just in time for breakfast. And since we were unsure of the type of food options we’d get beyond Khopoli, we had a hearty meal of burgers and coffee here. Did our rounds of the washroom too, lest there should be no decent/clean place for the rest of the drive. However, we did see a chain of Kamath, the famous highway restaurants, at Penn, about 55 kms from Mumbai. And then we saw many small joint during the course of the drive, but most of them were closed until 10 am. Was it because of Diwali or generally, we couldn’t tell.
We, however, decided to have lunch only upon reaching Ganapatiphule. And so made a pit stop by a rice field at around 11am. Fishing out the buns and bananas and apples and juices from our food basket, we stuffed ourselves enough to last until 3-3.30pm. And looked forward to the fishes, Konkani style, when in Ganapatiphule.