Immaculate beaches with shorelines decorated with mangroves and coconut palms, beautiful mountain ranges, pleasant weather, warm people and the abode of the Hindu lord of prosperity; doesn’t it make it sound like heaven on earth? Indeed, and that is what Ganpati Pule is! The place is more than just a quiet weekend getaway. Some very interesting folk lore’s and local fables associated with this coastal town and the Ganpati Shrine at Ganpati Pule, have made this abode find a special place in the hearts of nature lovers, vacationers and devout Hindus. The Ganpati Pule town is about 25 kms from the coastal district of Ratnagiri in Konkan, Maharashtra. This town is known for a Ganpati or Ganesh temple that houses a swayambhu (self manifested) idol of the elephant god Ganesh or Ganpati. The history attached to this town and the temple is replete with legends on how this town got its name.
The legend has it that in the ancient times Lord Ganesh used to live in a small place named Gule, which is to the south of Ratnagiri and is also referred to as Ganesh Gule. It is believed that a not so kind lady residing in the same village as Lord Ganesh made some snide remarks about Ganesh that irked him and made him leave Ganpati Gule. He is said to have moved northwards to another small village named Pule and made it his permanent abode since. Thus the place where Ganesh himself lived came to be known as Ganpati Pule. Also, the temple built on the shore of the Ganpati Pule beach, to enshrine the Swayambhu Ganesh acquired the name Ganpati Pule Mandir or Ganpati Pule temple.
Often times, the histories of Ganpati Pule also have another legend tucked in, on how the 4000 year old temple came into existence. There was a Brahmin named Balbhatji Bhide who was distraught at that time with some personal crises bogging him down. He was believed to have own a cow that in spite of being healthy had stopped tendering milk except at one spot in the entire town. This piqued the curiosity of Balbhatji, who was convinced the spot had some spiritual connotation and decided to clean it up. As a result of which he found an idol of Lord Ganesh which he decided to enshrine. The idol faces westwards; believed to be guarding the Western Ghats, with a musak or a mouse; believed to be Ganesh’s vehicle, installed at the entrance and facing the main deity. The devotees can be seen circumambulating the hillock at the base of which this shrine has been erected.
So, a visit to this beach town should be equal to experiencing serenity, tranquility, peace of mind, rejuvenation, harmony, happiness and almost all of those emotions that one seeks on a journey of purification of their soul!