Bhandardhara - Weekend Calling
Get lost to embrace the magic!
Have you ever wanted to take a break and go on a road trip getaway for a day or two? Bhandardhara can be one of your much needed experiences. Bhandardara is a hill station nestled in the Sahyadri mountain ranges in Maharashtra on the banks of river Pravara. Bhandardara is full of attractions – from Wilson Dam to Arthur Lake. The recent attraction in this place is Fireflies camp in the Purushwadi area. Built in 1910 across River Pravara, Wilson Dam ,one of the oldest dams in the country, is at a height of 150 m above sea level. The clear and placid Arthur Lake is bounded by thick canopied forests of the Sahyadri hills. The Lake gets its water from the Pravara River and its surroundings offer an enchanting spectacle. A narrow road encircles the lake forming a roughly 50 km loop the gives access to excellent views, campsites and hiking trails in the hills surrounding the lake. We started off on our bikes, from Airoli (Navi Mumbai) taking the Eastern Express Highway/Mumbai-Agra National Highway. It is highly advisable to follow Google Maps and to start the journey early morning (unlike we did). We faced heat, pollution and bad traffic on the expressway. The whole journey is about 155 km and might take about 4-5 hours on bike, including a few short breaks. We started off at around 9 am and our first break for breakfast was at 10:30am. One would find all kinds of food joints throughout the journey at every 2-3 km. When you go on this bike ride, beware of back pain and the wrists getting numb after a while. The pollution makes the ride difficult, so don masks or a cloth to save your face and hair. We took breaks every hour so it helped to ease the limbs and by 2:30 pm, we were almost there. From the main expressway, we took a right turn that leads us to the dam which is 20 km from that deviation, a typical village road, mostly rugged, tampered and rocky. It will make the rider jump throughout and gain a really painful back. But as we approached, the patience and all pain paid off royally. Smoky mountains, beautiful valleys and cool breeze…the more you get close, the more you feel one with nature. I was confused, whether to stop and capture the beauty in my camera or to reach the dam. Another best thing in the tiring village road were the roadside tea stalls…you will find it in every 500 meter.About 3 km afore the actual dam, the stiff road starts and one can see another ancient mini dam - Umbrella falls and finally when we reached, it was rather scary as you will feel like you might end up drowning . The water is so close and is continuously spilling on the road. I looked down and the deep water gave me goose bumps! We crossed it, parked our bikes and set out to the reservoir. It was simply beautiful. I forgot about my back and ran across to feel the best of the region, my friends followed. Chilled water, light sun rays behind the clouds and the water dashing on the rock. What could be better than that? What was missing was food. But once we were tired out after bathing, we bought Wada pav…they were delicious.
We stayed for about 3 hours and started back for home. It was chilly. Again on our way back, we stopped for tea and pav and admired the sunset. We stopped at three places in between to rest and have tea. We were home by 10:30 after biking for 5 hours. We took some key things with us while setting out for the journey and we missed some. Make sure to take ample drinking water, gloves, and an extra pair of clothes, a jacket, sunglasses and a battery bank. Fill your oil tank before leaving and keep an eye on that. Taking rest in between is a must and if you are planning to return the same day, please start early (to avoid traffic and heat). One could also take up boating in the lake.
Other places of attraction near Bhandardara:-
1. Umbrella and Randha Falls: - Umbrella falls & Randha Falls situated in Bhandardara are best during the monsoons. Umbrella falls are situated behind the Wilson Dam. The Randha Falls is situated by the Parvara River having a fall of 170 ft.
2. Mount Kalsubai:- The highest peak in Maharashtra and must do for trekkers. It's not too difficult but would test your stamina. All hard work is definitely worth it, as the view from the top is breathtaking.
3. Ratangad Fort:- Also known as Jewel Fort was captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Ratangad Fort is located in Ratanwadi on the other side of Bhandardara lake and is one of most scenic treks in Maharashtra.
4. Sandhan Valley:- Also known as Valley of Shadows due to very less space between rocks, is one of the most difficult and adventurous treks in Maharashtra.
If you want to stay the night in tents and relish the sunrise, then start off an evening before, check your necessary requirements and do book for it in advance. You can find the further necessary details in the site. What I cherish now, you will live that. Visit bhandardhara. Good luck!
For Camping at Bhandardara - Contact Team MNM Green India - 9769941145 www.mnmgreenindia.com