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Things To Do In Bhandardara
The hill resort of Bhandardara has gently undulating slopes and deep valleys, carpeted with greenery and wild flowers. The mist laden peaks have ruins of ancient forts and rough trodden footpaths that are lovely for trekking. Tourists love to visit Bhandardara to indulge in active adventurous tourism or to sit by the riverside campfires swapping stories.
Bhandardara is located close to more touristy destinations like the hill station of Igatpuri or the pilgrim town of Shirdi. The temples of Sangamner, the pristine lakes of Bhandardara that are ideal for boating trips and the lush forested hill slopes that offer ample opportunities for bird watching are perfect on a holiday trip. Here are some of things to do in this region, described briefly for you.
The rustic setting of a village provides a simple change from the flurry of life in the cities. There are several small villages a short drive away from Bhandardara that are idyllic for a trip. Stumble upon little unknown surprises, like a small temple or a charming lake as you experience the joys of rural life.
Visit the village of Ghatghar, about 22 km from Bhandardara. The village is in Junnar Taluk and offers a great view of the Sahyadri mountain ranges. Ratanwadi village that’s the base from where the treks up the Kalsubai mountain begins, is a remote and quaint village with an ancient Shiva temple.
A Lake side View
Lake Bhandardara, better known as Lake Arthur is one of the most scenic spots of Bhandardara. Bounded by the Sahyadri hills and with the Agasthya Rishi ashram and Amrutheshwar Shiva temple standing on its banks, the lake is a lovely place to sit by in the evenings.
Watch the changing colors on the lake as the setting sun disappears over the horizon or listen to the chirping of birds. Pack yourself a picnic hamper if you are on a day visit or the villagers would oblige you with delicious rice, dhal and vegetables to eat by the water’s edge.
Bhandardara is one of the best places you could ever visit if you are planning a trek. There are numerous places vying with one another to provide the best trekking opportunity. Some of the best trekking trails are the Sandhan Valley, the Alang, Madan and Kulang fort and the Ratangad fort trek.
Mt Kalsubai the highest peak of Maharashtra standing about 1,646 m high affords a medium difficulty trek and is one of the most inspiring things to do while you are in Bhandardara. One of the most challenging treks of Bhandardara is the trek up the hills of Harishchandragad fort and rappelling down the steep cliff sides.
The Valley of Shadows
A quaint name to a valley whose rocky crevices are so steeped in shadows, the Sandhan valley is a narrow canyon and a valley on the western side of Bhandardara. Carved into steep slopes and crevices by flowing water long ago, the valley is encircled by the AMK (Alang, Madan and Kulang) peaks that are some of the most difficult trekking trails of the Sahyadri.
Some of the best trekking trails and adventure sports are offered in Sandhan valley. Organised trekking trails are arranged and you can contact the organisers for group trekking and adventure sports.The base of the trek up the valley begins at Samrad village. Carry plenty of water as well as light refreshments as you trek up.
If you are looking for some adventure outdoors, tempted by the sheer beauty of the rocky walls and slopes of Bhandardara, you might check out the rappelling clubs that offer a chance to swing through the canyon of Sandhan valley. Indulge in rock climbing, jumaring, zip lining, canyoning and wild caving in the Sandhan valley.
If you are game for water based adventures, there are organizations you could contact for camping by the lakeside and indulging in boating, kayaking, lake tubing or archery. If you would like a relaxed simple holiday, sit by the fire and listen to some music as you count the stars.
Watching Birds and Fireflies
The dense forests and the pre monsoons from May to June are the time the fireflies begin their ritualistic mating season. The forests and mountain slopes of Bhandardara are one of the places where you could find the dim lights of the evenings light up with the bio luminescent glow from the thousands of fire flies.
Take a stroll around the periphery of the lake. On clear monsoon days, when the grass is green and vibrant, and in winters you might find a number of water birds like the White Necked storks, Herons, Egrets and Cormorants. Check out the hordes of migrating butterflies and Giant Indian squirrels.
Hiking through the dense undergrowth of the Harishchandragad fort you get to a topmost view point that gives an amazing view of the Sahyadri mountain ranges spread around the countryside. There are the misty mountain peaks that give way to steep valleys and gorges that are bound to be impressive.
Trekking up to the semicircular Konkan Kada, said to be the highest cliff of the Sahyadri is an experience to cherish. The Konkan Kada that is a steep cliff that overlooks the Konkan is one of the choicest regions for rappelling as well. Konkan Kada is popular for the amazing Brocken Spectre phenomenon and occasional vertical cloud bursts.
The mountain slopes broken by cliffs or cascades is what makes the Sahyadri mountain ranges a beautiful work of nature. There are some pretty spectacular waterfalls near Bhandardara and if you love to watch one or get drenched in the fast falling flow, visit the Randha Falls which is a must visit. The Randha Falls that flows over and into a 170 ft. gorge from the Pravara River, is the primary source of hydro power for Bhandardara. There is a view point above the falls, which is a great place to watch the gushing cascade.
You could also check out the Umbrella Waterfalls that’s a monsoon cascade that flows in frills and layers over and down the rocks, when the Pravara River swells up during the monsoons. Umbrella Falls is about 500 m from the bus stand.
You could combine a leisure tour to Bhandardara with a pilgrimage to Shirdi, about 104 km away. Shirdi has a number of pilgrim places including the Shirdi Sai Baba Samadhi Mandir, the ancient Khandoba Mandir to Shiva, the Maruti Mandir which is one of the oldest temples in town and Sai Heritage village.
About 72 km away from Bhandardara is the city of Nashik, home to a number of museums like the Gargoti Mineral Museum and the Coin Museum and temples like Kalaram Mandir, Someshwar Temple and Trimbakeshwar Jyothirlinga Temple. Ancient caves, waterfalls and parks add to the charm of the city of Oranges.
Just about 45 km from Bhandardara is the charming little hill station of Igatpuri of Nashik district. Located on the Mumbai to Agra Highway, Igatpuri is rather a lovely place to visit. Encircled by gentle slopes and valleys, the green carpeted regions of Igatpuri are bound to be an ideal weekend destination.
Visit the Vippassana International Academy of Meditation, Camel and Bhatsa River Valley View Points, trek up Tringalwadi, Harihar and Kavnai Forts or get enchanted by the spectacular charm of the Vihigaon and Vaitarna waterfalls.