Friday, 27 March 2015

Bhimashankar Trip, 25-26 Aug 2014

Come monsoon and I almost always long for a trekking tour in the Sahyadris. The Harishchandragad or Bhimashankar are the classics in the series of Sahyadri Treks.This time two other office colleagues were also interested in the monsoon trek and so , we three set out for tour on the evening of 24 Aug 2014.Our journey started from Guhagar as we boarded the 20:15 Guhagar-Pune bus.We reached Pune-Swargate early in the morning of 25 Aug 2015.We had to catch the first bus to Bhimashankar from Pune-Shivajinagar. We managed to catch the 5.30 am Pune-Bhimashankar bus.On the Pune-Nashik highway,the bus sped past through the thick morning fog of the Deccan plateau.The daily commuters till Manchar and Rajgurunagar , kept the bus-conductor busy , as we dozed off in our seats. From Manchar , the bus left the highway and headed to the hills.Daily commuters, mostly school children and staff were frequent upto Ghodegaon. After Ghodegaon the road had a steep ascent and many winding turns through the hills of Sahyadris. At every turn the breathtaking panorama of the valleys and mountains made me overwhelm with joy.As the bus climbed the ghats, the villages nestled in the lush green fields and forests seemed more picturesque.Being a monsoon season , frequent streams and waterfalls added music and joy to the occasion.

The panoramic hills at one of the turn on the road.
                  Bhimashankar is a reserved forest area by the name of Bhimashankar Wild Life sanctuary.Bhimashankar is famous for its Shiva temple situated in the midst of the deep forest.It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India.Having religious significance, it is frequently visited by religious-tourist groups.Most of the new hotels and lodges are situated near the forest entry point.Also private vehicles are to be parked nearby these places.Entry tickets are to be purchased from the forest department.From the forest entry point, the main temple is situated at a distance of 5Km (approx.).MSRTC buses goes directly upto the temple.Most of the old hotels and lodges are situated near the temple.

               As we reached Bhimashankar, we refreshed ourselves at the Govt. rest house and  had our morning breakfast.We immediately headed for the temple to avoid the long darshan-queue in the afternoon.Bhimashankar is quite crowded during the month of Shrawan (generally in August).

The temple at Bhimashankar.In the monsoons, it is protected by tarpaulin sheets.

After finishing the darshan, we headed for Gupt-Bhimashankar situated deep in the forest.A narrow forest-trail passes through deep jungle and finally ends up at a water-fall.A small Shiva-linga is established at the foot of the falls.This is known as Gupt-Bhimashankar.

Heading for Gupt Bhimashankar.

Wild flowers on the way to Gupt Bhimashankar.

Gupt Bhimashankar.

It is a paradise for the nature-lover, with thick forest on both sides of the waterfall, and a commanding view of the jungles in the valley below.

A commanding view of the valley below.

The water gurgles through a rocky bed and falls into the valley.The enchanting music of the water-fall and birds, creates a much needed relaxing effect, on the nature-tourist.


 After visiting Gupt-Bhimashankar, we returned to the Govt.Rest house, where we had our lunch and proceeded to the village of Kondhwal, which is famous for a huge waterfall.

From the Govt. rest house, the village of Kondhwal is around 6 Km (approx.).We had no other option, but to walk to our destination.It was a lonely forest road and we trekked for 3 hours on the enchanting route.All through the way, we halted at numerous places to admire the nature and for seemingly unending photographic sessions.

On the way to Kondhwal waterfall. 



Rice fields near Kondhwal village.

Beautiful wild flowers near Kondhwal waterfall.

Villagers returning from work.

Finally , in the evening , we reached at the waterfall which was in its full monsoon fury.We spent a playful hour at the waterfall and then headed to the Kondhwal village to find a accommodation , to spend the night.

The waterfall at Kondhwal village.

A playful hour at Kondhwal waterfall.

  Kondhwal is  quite a primitive village with around 50-60 houses and with no hotels or lodges.

A distant view of Kondhwal village.

A village scene of Kondhwal.

We befriended with one or two locals and requested for tea.At one of the huts, herbal tea without milk was offered.It was a refreshing drink, after a tiring day.Then we enquired for some accomodation facility for the overnight.Our host quickly contacted the village school teacher, who offered us a stay at the village school.

Our accomodation at Kondhwal village school.

The local children were amused to see us at the school.

The village school was a primary school having two rooms.One of the rooms was opened for us.The school teacher also gave us some floor mats and our tea-host offered some beddings. We requested our host to make some dinner for us, which he willingly agreed.
In the evening, there was a heavy shower of rainfall for about an hour, and after that the village was engulfed in a thick fog.The rain and fog made the evening, more magical.

The evening fog engulfing the village.

Going for a evening stroll around the village.

We had a brief walk around the village through the mystical fog.The village was bordered by lush green rice fields and by hills on the horizon.To avoid the cold, we quickly returned to the school class room and spent our time chit chatting among ourselves.Our host served us an early dinner at 8.30 pm.The village already bore a deserted look by 8 pm.We had our dinner in the class room and then laid the floor mats and the bedding.The primitive pullovers were quite warm and offered ample protection from the cold night.We had long hours of chit chat , before we went off to sleep.

         The next day, we woke up to a foggy early morning.After the morning activities, we returned the bedding's to our host and offered him some money for his kind hospitality.He accepted our gift quite hesitatingly.From the village , we again headed to the waterfall.After a refreshing bath, we started our return trek to Bhimashankar. Admiring the lush green hills, the thick forest, the gurgling streams, and the seasonal wild flowers on the way, we reached Bhimashankar once again.We boarded a local bus which ferried us to the forest boundary and the main bus stop.We had a breakfast at a hotel and boarded a 9 am bus to Pune.

Spending time at Shaniwarwada , Pune.

           After a five hour journey we reached Pune city.We had our lunch and spent time in the city, before we boarded the evening bus to Chiplun.

Photo courtesy :
     Nilesh Padale
     Ashish Sharma
     Ashish Nimsarkar


Vijay said...

Excellent post Ashish. Your wanderlust is jabardast.

Pravs said...

Superb Sir.. I'm fortunate to climb it on 7 occasions on monsoon treks.. it's truly amazing experience.