Nestled amidst the lush green forests of
Sahyadri range, Bhimshankar is known for its thrilling trekking expeditions. In
addition to the famous Jyotirlinga shrine, the region offers amazing trekking
opportunities to the adventure enthusiast to explore the wildlife. The forests
are best suited for trekking during the monsoon season as the ardent greenery
of the rainforests is exemplified after the first shower of monsoon rains. You
will be overwhelmed by the raw beauty and the scenic views that Bhimashankar offers
during this time of the year.
The rich vegetation and calm ambience have
made this region one of the most visited tourist destinations in Maharashtra.
Bhimashnakar has been recently declared as a wildlife sanctuary and is home to
few of the most exotic and rare species of flora and fauna.
The trek begins from Khandas village and is
followed by rugged terrain as you start ascending the hill. There are two trek
routes, Ganesha Ghat and Shidi Ghat (Ladder Route). The latter route is shorter
but more adventurous. A majestic waterfall is situated near the Gupt
Bhimashankar. The most fascinating aspect of this place is the water-sculpted
Shivalinga formed under the waterfall.
More on Trekking
Trekking routes to
The trek routes start from village Khandas and
end at Bhimashankar Temple which is situated on the hilltop. The trek trails
are densely covered with foliage and the view of the surroundings en route is
simply breathtaking. Depending on your trekking experience you can choose from
two trek routes, Ganesha Ghat and Shidi Ghat (Ladder Route) and details about
the same is given as follows:
1. Ganesh Ghat
The Ganesh Ghat route is a simple trek trail
that does not involve a lot of effort climbing. The total trek route from the
village to the temple is 8 km long and it takes around 4-5 hours to complete
the same. You will walk past a majestic rock tower, Paddar Killa and Nagphani
Peak which is a snake hood-shaped hill. The trekkers also come across a
beautiful pond called Hanuman Tal.
This trek route might appear to be simple;
however, according to several stories narrated by locals, few trekkers have
lost their way after sunset. Others get immensely exhausted climbing and return
to the hamlet. Therefore, it is advisable to get fully prepared with enough
supplies before you set out for a trek and complete the same before dusk.
Ghat or the Ladder Route
Sidhi Ghat trek route derives its name from
the three ladders that are placed in different parts of the trek trail. This
route is tough to navigate and hence, should be used by only fit and
experienced trekkers. The route is shorter in comparison to Ganesh Ghat,
however, it is riskier and steeper. The trail is even more difficult to
navigate during monsoons as the path becomes slippery.
The route leads into a sparse forest and
beyond this is a small plateau from where you will get a picturesque view of
Sidhi Ghat. After you cross two ladders, which are situated towards the
beginning of the trek route, you will reach Kondana Caves. These are Buddhist
Caves which were built in 200 BC and are adorned with intricate carvings and
figurines of gods, goddess, and animals. Once you cross this stretch, you will
come across the last ladder which will bring you to a rocky mountain. This is
then followed by a majestic waterfall where you can click a few good pictures
of the surroundings. The Sidhi Ghat merges with Ganesh Ghat trek route at the
Chahacha Aamba. The entire trek route will take around 3-4 hours to complete.
Things to take note of while Trekking
Following are certain things that should be
kept in mind before you start your Bhimashankar trek:
1. Sometimes the humidity level is high and
the mist might engulf the entire area, thereby reducing the visibility. During
such a situation, it is advisable to pause your expedition and wait for the
weather to get clear.
2. Wear comfortable and sturdy trekking shoes
with a thick sole and excellent grip.
3. Carry enough supplies of water, snacks,
energy drinks and energy bars.
4. Carry an extra t-shirt, an emergency kit,
energy drink, torch, extra pair of socks, a cap and light sandals.
6. Be cautious if you trek via Sidhi Ghat. It
is more difficult and amateur trekkers should not opt for this trek route.
During monsoon, it becomes more dangerous and hence, Ganesh Ghat is a better
option to reach the hilltop.