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Tourist Places To Visit In Igatpuri
If you have a long holiday plan or just about a weekend break, Igatpuri is a place that is just right for you. The hill station is a choicest destination for nature lovers and people who need an adventure to take their minds off the monotony of city life. Encircled by some of the tallest peaks of the Sahyadri mountain ranges, adorned with some of the marvels of wild nature and dotted with ancient temples and fortresses, Igatpuri makes for a great holiday trip.
While rejuvenating your spirit in the ambience of unbridled, wild, beautiful nature that is at once mystic and untouched by modernity, detox your system with yoga and meditation at the Vipassana International Academy of Meditation and kindle your spirituality at the quaint little temples. We will give you a list of some of the best places of tourist interest in Igatpuri and in its neighborhood.
The uniqueness of hill stations is that even manmade structures remind us consistently of nature and its exquisiteness. And the little temple for Ghatandevi and the landscape around is no different. Set against the backdrop of the Harihar, Trimak and Durvar Utwad peaks of the Sahyadri, the temple is such a charm to visit. The temple that is dedicated to Ghatandevi or the deity who protects the Ghats, sits in a beautiful valley that is encircled by a lushness all round.
The Tringalwadi Fort is located behind the temple and those hiking to the Fort could visit the Ghatandevi temple as well. The temple is a must visit and do check out the charm of the place especially during the monsoon months! The Ghatandevi temple is about 3 km from the Igatpuri Railway Station.
The Tringalwadi Fort believed to have been built by about the 10th century was built as a watch tower to oversee the trade route that passed from Konkan to Nashik, near the spectacular Thal Ghat. The fort was ruled by the Marathas and the Mughals before the British occupied the citadel in 1818, as one among the 16 forts captured by the British after the defeat of Tryambak Fort near the Trimbakeshwar Temple.
The ascent to the fort is not a hard one, and you could explore the little caves on way, like the Pandavleni cave with a sabha mandap and exquisite carved sculptures and idols of Hanuman and Rishabanadha. Tringalwadi Fort is about 10 km from Igatpuri. Carry water and refreshments or buy some from the little villages at the base.
Amruteshwar Temple is one of the most significant pilgrim centers of Igatpuri. The temple for Lord Shiva, said to be about 1,200 years old was built by King Jhanj of the Shilahara Dynasty and is one of the 12 Shiva temples built by him. Ensconced by hills all around, the temple that was built of black and red stones has exquisite Hemadpanti style of architecture with carvings on the outer walls and sculptures and murals on the inner walls. Check out the pond within the temple compound, and the small shrines on the walls of the pond. The Amruteshwar temple is maintained by the Archaeological Society of India.
Amruteshwara temple is located on the backs of the river Pravara, in Ratanwadi village about 59 km from Igatpuri. You could easily drive or take a cab from Igatpuri to the temple. Do visit the temple, especially in the monsoon months.
Agasthya Rishi Ashram
If you are going for a drive to Bhandardara, about 45 km from Igatpuri, don’t miss out the Agasthya Rishi Ashram. According to puranas, Sage Agasthya spent years in meditation in these places surviving only on air and water. Pleased with his devotion, Lord Shiva appeared before him and blesse him with a stream from the River Ganga, which came to be called the Pravara River that flows through the hills of Bhandardara.
There is an ashram that you could visit, at the place where Sage Agasthya is said to have meditated. According to the Ramayana, Lord Rama visited the Sage in this ashram and was blessed with the divine arrow that was later used to kill Ravana. The Ashram is a serene place, made blissful by the Pravara River that flows by.
Myanmar Gate as the name suggests, is a gateway to the Dhamma Giri Vipassana Meditation Centre. Even if you are not planning to enroll yourself in a meditation or yoga course in the Centre, you could visit the Myanmar Gate which is one of the prime attractions of Igatpuri. The Gateway is ornately carved and decorated in pinks and gold and as soon as you step into the gateway, there is a wide open space which gives you a great view of the Sahyadri mountain ranges at the backdrop.
There is a lush well-manicured garden with benches where you could relax and a walkway that leads to the Buddha Park which has paintings of the life of Gautama Buddha as well as an ornate stupa. The Gate and the gardens are great for a stroll and photography especially during the monsoons. Myanmar Gate is about a kilometer from the railway station and if you have less luggage you can hike to the place.
Vipassana Meditation Center
The Dhamma Giri Vipassana Research Institute and Meditation Centre at Igatpuri were founded by S.N.Goenka, an Indian – Burmese teacher of Vipassana yoga and meditation. Dhamma Giri which is also known as the Hill of Dhamma is one of the world’s major meditation centers, offer courses on yoga and meditation to students from all over the world. The large hollow Pagoda in the center which has more than 400 concentric cells for meditation in seclusion was built on the model of the Shwedagon Pagoda of Yangon.
There are large meditation halls, residential blocks for teachers and students and the visitors’ gallery as well where one could learn the basics of Vipassana meditation and watch documentaries on the meditation techniques. Check out the art gallery, which has some exquisite paintings of The Buddha.
One of the most charming nature spots near Igatpuri is the Vaitarna Dam, a manmade dam and reservoir that is a gravity dam and earth fill that was built in 1954, near Saturli village over the Vaitarna and Godavari rivers catchment ranges. The waters serve as one of the prime means of water and electricity for most areas of Mumbai.
Complete with a pristine lagoon and the towering peaks of the Sahyadri ranges all around with lush forested areas, the Vaitarna Dam is such a cool place for a visit. The secluded, serene place is ideal for spending a day in to camp, spread out a picnic hamper or explore the landscape with a camera in tow. Tourists who visit Igatpuri do not skip a trip to the Vaitarna Dam, that is about 30 km from Igatpuri.
Bhatsa River Valley
Bhatsa River Valley is one place that ought to be on your bucket list of places to visit in Igatpuri. Surrounded by lush green forested hill slopes with the mist sitting on the top, this is one place of unbridled nature at its best. From the view point, you can see hills and dales as far as the eyes can reach and the Bhatsa River meandering down the slopes, made most spectacular during the monsoons, with waterfalls adding to the charm.
Tourists who drive through the Mumbai – Nashik route would never want to miss a break at Bhatsa River Valley, just to check out the beauty of the place and have a photo shoot. Bhatsa River Valley is about 5 km from Igatpuri railway station.
The ancient Ratangad Fort which has a naturally formed rocky peak with an arch and a hole that is called the nedhe or eye of the needle, offers a spectacular 360 degree view of Mt.Kalsubai, Alang, Madan and Kulang peaks and the Bhandardara Dam. Known for its antiquity as well as for the lavish growth of shrubs and wildflowers blossoming all over the rocks and crevices, Ratangad Fort is a favorite amongst trekkers and history buffs. Iron ladders have been erected on the sides of the hill to make the ascent to the top easier for trekkers.
The nearest city to Ratangad is Igatpuri so tourists who visit Igatpuri and would love an adventurous trip would not miss a trek up to Ratangad Fort. You could hop onto a bus from Igatpuri to Bhandardara and then an auto rickshaw to the Fort or hire a jeep or cab straight to the Fort from Igatpuri.
Shahapur is fast becoming one of the most interesting tourist hubs of Maharashtra. Shahapur has good road connectivity with Igatpuri and you could drive to the town for a look see as well as visit the beautiful Manas Mandir Jain temple at Asangaon. Sri Bhuvan Bhanu Jain Manas Mandir sits at the foothills of the Mahuli hills, that have yet another hot touristy spot – the Mahuli Fort on the peak.
The Jain temple has a brass idol of Mahavira and panchaloka idols of Adesh Bhagawan and is draped in a charming mix of architectural craftsmanship on its 75 ft. dome and the walls of the shrine. To reach Asangaon from Igatpuri, you could also board a train to Asangaon, which is a secluded rail station on the Mumbai – Igatpuri – Nashik line.