Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bhandardara - Base for Kalsubai and the Ratangad Trek

The digression; innate in my personality, to Shivneri cost me less than 3 hours. I am quite happy that i took the off road to Shivneri. After this visit to the fort with more historical importance than natural aesthetic appeal i continued in the pursuit of the calling i got from Kalsubai.
I had referred Google maps before i left for the trip however because of the off road that i took i asked a few people about the route to Bhandardara. To my surprise few of them didn't even know about the place. Then i asked a lorry driver. Lorry drivers are almost always aware of all the roads around a place. However i later realized that they know more of the major routes that they normally take. So from Narayangao i ended up riding to 
Ale phata from there to Bota to Kotul to Rajur and finally to Bhandardara. Which meant i rode about 20 kms to ale phata another 35 odd kms to Bota another 50 odd kms to Kotul another 20 kms to Rajur and then about 20+ kms to Bhandardara. So i ended up riding close to about 150 Kms which should have been only about 50 odd kms. For the benefit of anyone planning to got bhandardara here is the shortest route
Narayangao = 15km => Otur = 16km => Bhramanwada = 16km => Kotul = 16 km => Rajur = 20 km => Bhandardara 
in all bhandardara ideally should be around 70 Kms from narayangao and the total distance from Pune to Bhandardara should be 170 Kms.

Anyways thanks to the whole fiasco i reached Bhandardara at about 5:30 - 6pm. The rains were so heavy and wind was in all its fury. There was a point after the deviation to Ratangad fort and Amriteshwar Temple and just before the Wilson dam where the wind was in its elements. I had to stop my bike and wait for the howling wind to slightly subside to cross this patch, but i was caught in the middle of this patch, for a moment i was scared that the wind would blow me off along with the bike down the cliff. In fact the wind got the bike lifted maybe a cm off the road and i clanged on to the bike, put it on side stand and sat on the petrol tank. For a moment the wind subsided and i got across this patch. 

Once i reached Bhandardara, i looked out for a place to stay. camping was out of the question. There were a few hotels and resorts which were quite over priced for me especially since i had no plans to stay in one. At last i found Hotel Amriteshwar which is just after the MTDC. I had my dinner there and sat around a fire that the people lit up because of the cold. I discussed my plans to climb Kalsubai which was stubbed vehemently by the old man sitting who was sitting with us quietly. At times you need to listen to the local knowledge after all they have lived in the place their lives and know better about how the place behaves than you. So hesitantly i shelved the plan to leave for Kalsubai. The next day morning i took the ride from Bhandardara to ratangadwadi. If the roads where better this ride would have been absolutely fantastic. 
The lake on the left and the high hills on the right. Waterfalls trickling across the road ever  so often and cowherds in their makeshift raincoats grazing their herd of cows. At one point i counted 22 waterfalls gushing down the facade of two hills. The terrain here has something different from what i have seen in other parts of the sahyadri. Its much taller than the other parts for starters and terrain also seemed very different.
There where various other seasonal waterfalls like Panjre falls Necklace falls spillway fall and the umbrella falls. After the ride returned to hotel Amriteshwar and thanked and bid adieu to the friendly host i had for a day and left Bhandardara with a quiet promise to Kalsubai of return very soon.


  1. very good information you provided

  2. Hey we are a group of friends and have just got a tent for ourselves which can easily fit 6 people. I needed information where we can safely camp for the entire night anywhere near Igatpuri. Middle of the forest, top of a hill, near a lake ..anywhere where we can bonfire and BBQ, play music n basically have fun. dates are end of december.

  3. @crepelover
    hey mate sorry for the delayed reply..
    The entire region around the Bhandadara lake towards Ratangad is ideal camp ground. very beautiful landscape away from civilization!!

    you could also try Harishchandragad..

  4. Hi Josh would like to know if the hotel at which you stayed at which is hotel amruteshwar was good enough and decent for a families, as i haven;t got any good views about it

  5. well the hotel is quite basic..rooms arent the cleanest however for the tariff charged its manageable..