If I can take the best parts of all the treks and put them in one, it’ll be everything Khandas to Bhimashankar is. The short journey to reach the base village, early morning breakfast in a villager’s house, a nice long walk before the trek, small rivulets, rock climbing, hard-core hiking, head-high bushes, hidden waterfalls all along, eerie ladders, green meadows, ropes used to climb a few steep rocky patches, caves, deep wild rain-forest, the beauty of dense forest trails, never-ending view of absolutely stunning green mountains, this trek had it all and to top it all it was my first trek with my brother .
We left Pune at 12:00 AM and reached Khandas Village by a little before 4:00 AM. Explorers generally don’t wake us up till it’s time to freshen up. So we struggled to sleep through the amplified snores of co-passengers. Our guide and host at Khandas provided us with some sumptuous breakfast and in about an hour, we were ready to start the almost 5 hour trek!
Post a round of introduction, Explorers provided us with friendship bands (It was friendship day) which I thought was adorable. A group of 32 with 3 leaders, we headed towards the diagonal line between 2 waterfalls. It felt humid and sultry at the beginning and we kept praying for some rain. There’s something about Monsoon treks which almost immediately makes it fun and not strenuous. Within the first 10 minutes, we came across a small rivulet and thus began another trek with wet shoes. I think we took the Shidi (Ladder) Route.
We started trekking through rocky and steep patches and this particular group had great speed. We took shorter but more adventurous patches, stretching our limits. Soon we reached the broken ladder which gave us a gorgeous view of the forest.
After trekking for a few more hours, we reached a cave like place with waterfalls. With slight drizzle and some playing in the waterfalls, we were now heading towards completing the trek in wet clothes! Yet another ladder led us to yet another beautiful waterfall.
From this point, we could see the oh-so-mysterious Padar Kila, a mountain we wish to trek in the future.
A climb of a few more minutes led us to the first plateau and we had only completed 50% of the trek. The beauty at this point is worth mentioning. A small thatched hut selling tea, mountains with many waterfalls, cultivated land around, rocks adding a little brown to the green surrounding and great company.
After hiking for another hour, we reached the beautiful forest trail. For about 45 minutes we walked through paradise. Green and brown against white – This is what heaven must be like.
At the end of the trail was the peak of Bhimashankar, our destination in all its beauty. There were a few stalls selling some hot Vada Pav, Bhajjis and Corn all of which tasted great. There’s also a huge lake right on top of this mountain, the other end of which was not noticeable to us because of low visibility. After chilling here for a while, we headed towards the Bhimashankar temple. The temple can also be reached through another route. Vehicles can get you right till the temple. Quite obviously, the place was crowded. The steps leading us to the temple looked like the steps at Elephanta Caves near Mumbai. We could only manage to get the Kalash Darshan as there was a really long queue to get into the temple.
Post lunch, we headed towards the parking area as we had no clue where our bus was. After walking for around 2 kms, we reached the first parking lot but our driver wasn’t there. By now, I was so sleepy, I was walking like a zombie. After walking for another 3 kms, we got lucky as we hitched a ride on a local public bus which dropped us to the second parking lot. Just when we thought we would reach Pune early, we noticed the front tyre of our bus was stuck in slush. After 45 minutes of combined effort, the bus finally moved. We all slept like logs after completing the most beautiful trek in Sahyadris.
Date: Aug 5, 2012
Time: 6AM PM to 4:00 PM
Place: Khandas to Bhimashankar, Maharashtra, India
Organisers: Explorers – +919850502723