The serenity and calmness of unending green fields nestled in the arms of Sahyadri ranges, along with the embellishment of picturesque waterfalls is a sight that will greet you when you set your foot in Bhandardara. Bhandardara is a holiday resort hill station set on a dam and is famous for its breathtaking location and waterfalls. It is more famous as a weekend getaway and is situated approximately 185 km from Mumbai, in the Sahyadri ranges of the Western Ghats, located in the Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra. The place is not just aesthetically soothing but will renew your soul with the roaring waterfalls, majestic mountains, and lake side camping tours. If the intoxicating natural beauty of this place hasn’t convinced you already to go, here is a list of places to visit in Bhandardara to absorb every ounce of tranquility this place has to offer and make you pack your bags today itself.
Nature has its way of showing its beauty and the striking Umbrella Falls are clear proof of that. Formed under the Wilson Dam, the intensity with which the waterfalls on the naturally placed rocks gives it an impression of the umbrella and hence the name. A little footbridge connects the Pravara river and it can be used to get a closer look at the falls and dam. The waterfalls will mesmerize you with their enchanting force of water so make sure to keep a camera because it is a peace of heaven that ought to be captured.
The Wilson Dam was built on the Pravara River in the year 1910 and is the largest earthen dam in India. It boasts of the engineering excellence of the old days. The base of the dam is adorned with a garden that is a euphoria of thick greenery, huge trees, and little streams. During monsoons, as the water level goes up, the gates of the dam open themselves to release water into the plains and you can visit the Gardens edge to enjoy the sprinkles of freshwater. You should visit the dam to marvel at the engineering wonders from the bygone days and to splash yourself with nature’s purity.
To unwind and soak yourself in the natural beauty, Arthur lake is the perfect quaint little lake which is surrounded by the lush mountains of Sahyadri ranges. The lake gets its water from the Pravara River and is a place for complete nirvana.
Being the highest mountain in the Sahyadri ranges as well as in the state of Maharashtra, Mount Kalsubai is called the Everest of Maharashtra. There are trekking tours offered to trek this majestic peak but since the trek can be a little tricky and difficult, there are now man-made stairs to reach the peak if you don’t wish to scale. So trek or no trek, you do know your way to the top.
Another waterfall attraction is the Randha Falls of the Pravara river. The clear water of the Pravara river ferociously falls from a height of 170ft into a magnificent ravine, leaving you at a loss of words to describe the scenic beauty in front of your eyes. However, this waterfall is only attractive in the monsoons and so, the ones visiting during the monsoons without a doubt have a tad bit of extra natural love working in their favor.
Ratanwadi is an untroubled little village near Bhandardara that houses the famous Ratangad fort and the popular Shiva temple called Amruteshwar. Famous as a trekking spot, it is far away from the main town and has an antique, rustic charm to it. Ratangad Fort is a 2000-year-old fort that was captured by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in his time. The beautiful temple of Amruteshwar carved out of stone, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the 12 Shiva temples built in 900AD by King Jhang and a visit to this place will invigorate the historical lust in you.
We guess your weekend getaway planning woes are sorted now so rush right into nature’s lap in the picturesque Bhandardara this weekend!
How to reach
Bhandardara is a small village located in the western state of Maharashtra, India. Here are the different ways to reach Bhandardara:
- By Air: The nearest airport to Bhandardara is Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, which is approximately 185 km away. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Bhandardara.
- By Train: The nearest railway station to Bhandardara is Igatpuri, which is about 45 km away. Trains from Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, and other major cities stop at Igatpuri. From Igatpuri, you can take a taxi or bus to Bhandardara.
- By Bus: There are regular bus services from Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, and other cities to Bhandardara. State-run buses, as well as private buses, operate on this route.
- By Car: If you are driving from Mumbai, take the Mumbai-Nashik Expressway and turn right at Ghoti towards Bhandardara. The road is in good condition, and the drive is scenic.
Once you reach Bhandardara, you can explore the village and its attractions on foot or hire a taxi or auto-rickshaw to move around.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Bhandardara is during the winter months from November to February. During this time, the weather is cool and pleasant, and the temperature ranges between 10°C to 25°C. The monsoon season (June to September) also offers beautiful scenery, with lush greenery, waterfalls, and mist-covered mountains. However, the heavy rainfall may lead to landslides and make it difficult to get around the area. The summer months from March to May are generally hot and dry, with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C. Despite the heat, this is still a good time to visit if you want to enjoy water sports and other outdoor activities. Overall, the best time to visit Bhandardara depends on your personal preference and what activities you are interested in.
Things to do
Bhandardara is a small village in Maharashtra, India, which is known for its natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere. Here are some of the things to do in Bhandardara:
- Visit the Bhandardara Dam: This is a popular tourist attraction that offers a stunning view of the lake and the surrounding hills. The dam is illuminated at night, providing a spectacular sight.
- Trek to the Randha Falls: This waterfall is located near the Bhandardara Dam and is a popular trekking spot. The trek is moderate and takes about an hour to reach the waterfall. The waterfall is at its best during the monsoon season when the water flow is high.
- Take a Boat Ride in Arthur Lake: Arthur Lake is a scenic lake that offers a tranquil atmosphere, and you can enjoy boating here. You can rent a boat from the local operators and explore the lake and the surrounding hills.
- Visit Wilson Dam: Wilson Dam is a popular tourist spot, and it offers a breathtaking view of the lake and the surrounding hills. There is a garden near the dam where you can relax and enjoy the scenic beauty.
- Explore Kalsubai Peak: Kalsubai Peak is the highest peak in Maharashtra and offers a challenging trek for adventure enthusiasts. The trek takes about three hours to reach the summit, and the view from the top is worth the effort.
- Enjoy the Fireflies Festival: Bhandardara is famous for its annual Fireflies Festival, which takes place in June. During this festival, thousands of fireflies can be seen in the surrounding hills, and it offers a unique experience.
- Go Camping: Bhandardara is an ideal location for camping, and you can enjoy the beauty of nature in a peaceful environment. There are several camping sites in Bhandardara, and you can choose the one that suits your preference.
Overall, Bhandardara offers a perfect blend of nature, adventure, and tranquility, making it an ideal destination for a weekend getaway or a longer stay.
Where to stay
Bhandardara offers several options for accommodation, ranging from budget hotels to luxurious resorts. Here are some popular places to stay in Bhandardara:
- Anandvan Resort: This is a luxury resort that offers a beautiful view of the Sahyadri mountain range. The resort has well-appointed rooms, a swimming pool, and an in-house restaurant.
- Yash Resort: Yash Resort is a mid-range hotel that offers comfortable accommodation with modern amenities. The hotel has a restaurant and an outdoor pool.
- MTDC Holiday Resort: This is a budget-friendly option for accommodation in Bhandardara. The resort is run by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and offers basic facilities, including a restaurant and outdoor activities.
- Wanderlust Resort: This is a luxury resort that offers a beautiful view of the lake and the hills. The resort has well-appointed rooms, a swimming pool, and an in-house restaurant.
- Bhandardara Campsite: This is an ideal option for those who want to enjoy camping in the lap of nature. The campsite offers tents, sleeping bags, and other camping equipment, along with basic facilities like toilets and a kitchen.
There are many other options for accommodation in Bhandardara, including guesthouses, homestays, and private villas. It is recommended to book your stay in advance, especially during the peak season, to avoid any last-minute hassles.