If you are in the mood for a challenge and are looking for a combination of adventure and nature, Bhandardara is just the right place for you.
Located among the Sahyadri Hills, the village is full of attractions, flourishing greenery, waterfalls and huge mountains. Bhandardara provides ample opportunities for small treks and hikes. If you are ready to face a real challenge, you can explore the 3,000ft Mount Kalsubai, which is the highest peak in Maharashtra. But if you want a short trek, you can opt for a trek to the Ratangad Fort. To reach Ratangad Fort, you have to sail through a small lake near Ratanwadi village.
Another attraction is the Wilson Dam. Built in 1910, this dam is one of the oldest dams in Asia. It was constructed by the British on the Pravara River, which resulted in the formation of Lake Arthur. The Pravara River is very significant as it is mentioned in the epic Ramayan as the dwelling of Shri Agasti Rishi whose devotion brought Lord Ram, Lakshman and Sita down to Earth.
If you want to explore nature, you can also enjoy the breathtaking views of the Necklace Fall, Nani Fall, Umbrella Fall and many more. Waterfalls, referred to locally as dhabdhabas, are aplenty. The Randha Waterfall is a major attraction and is 11kms away from the Wilson Dam. The water gushing from the dam flows into a gap past two tiny Ganesh temples. Water from this fall is used for a hydroelectricity project.
You can also visit the Amriteshwar Temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiv. It was built in the 11th Century in the Hemadpanthi style. The road to this 30ft-tall rock-cut temple is tricky but worth it, as the ceiling and pillars are sculpted beautifully.
While here, you can also explore the protected forest area of Ghatghar in Konkankada.
HOW TO REACH BHANDARDARA
By Road: 185kms from Mumbai on the Mumbai-Nashik Highway, beyond Igatpuri. It is a four to five hour drive.
By Rail: Bhandardara is 35kms away from Igatpuri station.