Nestled among the Sahyadri Hills, Bhandardhara has all the makings of a beautiful holiday resort. Sky-high mountains, roaring waterfalls and lush greenery throughout the year, attract tourists from all over. Fluorescent green paddy fields contrast with the bright blue skies above and the murky brown streams that crisscross the whole land. When it rains, and clouds descend from the sky to blanket the earth, the sight is truly breathtaking!
Bhandardara has many attractions – from majestic Wilson Dam to wondrous Arthur Lake. As legend has it, Shri Agasti Rishi meditated here for a year, surviving only on water and air. Pleased with this display of devotion, God came down to Earth and blessed Shri Agasti Rishi with a stream of the Ganga river, which is now known as the Pravara River. Like all scenic spots, the magic of Bhandardara has to be experienced to be appreciated; if you are a nature lover, this spot should definitely appear on the top of your holiday destination list.
STD Code: 0242451
Climate: The peak season is between November and April, but Bhandardara is spectacularly beautiful during the monsoons. The summers are very hot and the winters quite cold. Cool cottons for summers and warm woolen for winters are ideal.
Getting There & Away: How to reach Bhandardhara
Road: Mumbai is 180 km from Bhandardara and accessible through National Highway 3 (NH3) followed by a right turn from Ghoti toll post. Another 30 km from Ghoti and you arrive in Bhandardara. The distance from Pune is 1791 km. and can be accessed through NH 50 up to Ghargaon, from Ghargaon take the State highway (SH 21) till Bhandardara.
Rail: The nearest railway station is Igatpuri located 45 km away from Bhandardara. Igatpuri is situated on Mumbai-Nashik rail route. From Igatpuri, State Transport Buses or Private Taxis can be hired.
Air: Located at 177 km away, Mumbai International Airport is the nearest Airhead. Hired Taxis can be availed from Airport to Bhandardara.
Tourist Attractions in Bhandardhara
Wilson Dam: Built way back in 1910 on the Pravara River and standing 150 mts high, Wilson Dam is the largest earthen dam in India – a powerful testimony to the engineering skills of days gone by. At the base of Wilson Dam there is a garden endowed with thick greenery, streams and gigantic trees – the latter, home to hundreds of harmless fruit bats that hang precariously from the branches all through the day. During monsoon, when the level of the lake rises, the dam opens its gates to release a torrent of water that finds its way down to the plains below. You could stand at the edge of the garden embankment and enjoy the cool spray, or visit the picturesque Umbrella Falls, which are another major attraction during the monsoon.
Arthur Lake: Arthur Lake, a tranquil blue mirror amidst the dense greenery of Bhandardara, is fed by waters from the Pravara River.
Mount Kalsubai: At 1,646 mts, Mount Kalsaubai is the highest peak in Maharashtra. A favoured of trekkers; it had great strategic importance during the Maratha wars as an observation post. There is a small temple at the top with an old well in its backyard. It is said that the water level in the well has never dropped below 3 ft.
Agasti Rishi Ashram: This age-old dwelling is mentioned in the scripts of the Ramayana. It is believed that Lord Rama and his brother Laxmana visited Shri Agasti Rishi to seek his blessings. The Rishi gave Lord Rama an arrow, which he used to kill Ravana and rescue his wife Sita. The Ashram, situated on the bank of the Pravara River, continues to attract visitors.
Ratangad Fort: This ancient fort was one of Shivaji’s favourites. Very popular with nature lovers and trekkers, it offers spectacular views from its ramparts.
Amriteshwar: Built in 1100 AD, this temple has been constructed in the distinct Hemadpanthi style.