Mountains touching the Sky, captivating waterfalls, gracefully flowing mighty river, the meadows full of wildflowers, the alderlarine rush, and the night sky take you to another horizon throughout the year which appeals the nature lovers, travelers, trekkers, and Pilgrimages to visit Bhandhardhara which is a hill station nearby Mumbai/Pune.
Bhandhadhara is not only the lifelines for locals to commute between Konkan and Sahyadri plateau but its a firm bond between travelers and trekkers. It is a door to a vast history of Western ghat which is hidden in its terrain. In recent times, the progressive world has built concrete roads to connect remote places, but ancient days, these trails in jungle connected places to trade to earn a livelihood and also to spread relationships. Some ghats have seen immense battles to control of territories. Maratha king, Chhatrapati Shivaji built forts to keep a watch on movements of these trade routes. Bhandhardhara is also called as a jewel of Maharashtra.
Mount Kalsubai: (1646 Mtr)
Mount Kalsubai is the highest peak in Maharashtra. It is one of the favorites of all the trekkers, it had great strategic importance during the Maratha wars as an observation post. The peak has various legend stories. There are a small temple and a pond on the top of the peak.
Ratangad was one of the favorites forts of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It is very popular among the trekkers and it offers spectacular views. The immense 400-year-old Fort settles atop overlooking Ratanwadi and Bhandardara lake. The path up the hills from the Ratanwadi is well marked and you will cross the Pravara river a couple of times on your way. From the Top of the fort, you will get exclusive shots of Mount Kalsubai and lake in the foreground. Explore the three doorways to Ratangad – The Ganesh dwar , Trymbak dear, and the hanuman darwaza . One of the major attraction of the fort is the natural rock formation which looks like an ‘eye of the needle’ which is also called as Nedha. Note – The trek is moderately high and shouldn’t be attempted alone by the first-timer.
Sandhan Valley also called a valley of shadows, it is known for the large cliffs and caves. One of the Airtel advertisement was shot at the Sandhan Valley. It is one of the greatest canyons in the Sahyadri Western Ghats. The valley is 200 feet deep and almost 1.5 km long. This portion is also considered an important part of a mountain range. When you are the base of a valley and you look up at the mountain top, one realizes the grandness of the mountain next to it. It is located on the western side of the beautiful Bhandardara near Samrad village. The Sandhan valley is surrounded by AMK ( Alang, Madan, and Kulang one of the toughest trek in Maharashtra ) Ratangad, Ajoba and Kalsubai.
The descending valley is lifetime experience with the sparkling sky on top and small pond alongside. One can also have its adrenaline rush by doing giant swing from the valley or rappelling in the valley.
It was built in 1100 in Hemadpanthi style, it is built on the banks of the holy river Pravara and, the stone temple is in remarkable good shape has a Shivaling that is believed to be Swayambhu (naturally formed) There is a pond nearby which is called as“VishnuTheerth”
It has the ancient architectural style, the entrance to the temple starts with mandapams (halls) before reaching the garbhagriha or sanctum sanctorum where the Shivaling is situated.
Once you reach the garbhagriha , move downward a few steps which leads to the Shivlingam. However, during monsoon, the Shivlingam is covered with water.
It was built in 1910 on the Pravara river it is the largest earthen dam in India – a powerful proof to the engineering. During the monsoon when the level of the lake rises, the dam opens its gate to release a torrent of water that finds its way down to the plains below.
Do not miss to visit the most picturesque Umbrella waterfalls which are another major attraction during the monsoons. Many Hindi and Marathi romantic songs are featured near this waterfall.
About 10km away from Shendi Village., Randha waterfalls is a scenic beauty on the Pravara river which falls from 170 ft and plunges through the cliff-forming an amazing scenery .
is a blue mirror amidst the dense greenery of Bhandhardhara, which is filled in by the Pravara River. The refection of the sky and clouds in the water is mystical. It’s a visual treat and delight for photographers
Agasti Rishi Ashram:
It is believed that Shri Agasti Rishi meditated for a year only on air and water, pleased by his devotion he was blessed with a stream of Ganga river which is known as the Pravara River. This age-old dwelling is mentioned in the scripts of Ramayana. It is believed that Lord Ram and his brother Lakshman visited Shri Ahasti Rishi to seek his blessings. The Rishi gave lord Rama an arrow which he used to kill Ravana and rescue his wife Sita. The Ashram situated on the bank of the river continues to attract visitors.
For all astrophotography lovers, you will be able to take some stunning star-trails and Milky Way pictures. It is going to be a treat for your lenses. The Lakeside Camping along with bonfire, barbeque, and fun activities are available by many camp holders. One can also visit for fireflies festival every year in May/June.
Bhandhardhara is situated 180 kilometers from Mumbai In Ahmednagar District Maharashtra
Route – NH3 to Ghoti via Bhiwandi, Kasar Ghat and Igatpuri, State highway to Bhandhardhara
Cheers , Keep Exploring