Bhimashankar- Bountiful beauty at its best!

IMG_20150726_130612

 

 

During an internship period in Pune city, a goldmine of fantastic travel opportunities, we interns decided to cut loose. After some not-so-candid-and—lets-just-go discussions, we zeroed in on  Bhimashankar Temple. Bhimashankar is a Jyotirling, a devotional symbol representing Lord Shiva. (One of the three major deities of Hinduism).  India has 12 Jyotirling, Bhimashankar, in the Sahyadri Hills of Maharashtra district is one of them.

One may wonder why a group in early-twenties, voluntarily, spent a good chunk of weekend at a temple! Read on to figure it out.

The Journey:

Our journey of 108 km began from Shivaji Nagar Pune at around 9am. Using a popular self-drive car rental option Zoom car, we hired a Scorpio, we kicked start our trip. The route to Bhimashankar is spellbinding. Surrounded by natural waterfalls, green plateau regions and tiny lakes, we were set for picturesque journey. With some high tempo music, a daredevil driver (one of the guys) and easy laughs, the first 70 km. went by in a breeze. By this time, we crossed few water bodies on the left side. There lakes are usually peppered by some tourists having a splash and a cart or two, selling tea and some piping hot snack. After passing a few of them and contemplating the idea of taking a layover here, our driver put his foot down (literally!) and we went on to enjoy the water!

IMG_20150726_170747 IMG_20150726_170736

One of the best things about touring this region is that you will have plenty of opportunity to have small adventures on the way. In the monsoon season ( that’s when we visited) there are natural waterfalls to explore, lush greenery and unexplained fog! The joy of sipping hot tea while breathing it all in  is a must. At our choice of stop, we had to do some armature rappelling ( read skidding like a boss )  to reach the lake. It was windy and beautiful. We played some in the lake, took amazing pictures, and managed to get back on the road in an hour!

The Destination

We reached Bhimashankar Temple area at around 1. Now, do note that you will be told to park immediately and charged for it. The most popular con line is that this is the last parking lot and you won’t be allowed further. Do not fall for this unless you see barricades and a line of shops ahead. This lot is a good 2 km away from the main entrance. Unless you want to walk the entire way, many devotees do, drive ahead. We did fall for the con and parked immediately.

One peculiar site that will welcome you will be number of guys selling a plastic poncho for 20 Rs. Each. Smart thing is to buy it, unless you have your own umbrella! It rains erratically here and the poncho will at least keep your hair and head protected. Do not be over smart here and buy the poncho especially if you decide to walk the 2km.

IMG_20150726_144451

As this temple is situated in Bhimashankar forest area, the 2 km trek was amazing. This forest was declared as a national sanctuary in 1985 and is the abode of many rare flora and fauna. The mountainous area, dense forest and monsoon made it a fun trip for all of us. However, the best time to visit are August to Feb. I am an adrenaline junkie and hence July was perfectly fine for me.

Into the temple.

It was 1-30 pm now and here we realized that the temple visiting timings are till 2-30 alone. After the 2 km trek, we entered the main  temple region. This is a small road flanked by shops and eateries on both sides. We were in full trekking mode now, for we had to make it in time. Mind you, the sanctum is located below the ground level, requiring us to climb down seemingly endless flight of steps. Even this flight of rocky steps are flanked by shops selling local sweet delicacies, worship wares, local art and food of-course! The stairway is split in two sections, up to the village and down to the sanctum. The downward side is further split in proportion of 1/3rd to 2/3rd.  If you want to have an up close and personal view of the jotirling, you need to take the 1/3rd section which has a waiting line, slower than a snail. Devotees wait for hours in this line, ensuring precious few minutes with their beloved deity. We didn’t take that route!

Even if it were from a distance, for anyone with a spiritual bend of mind, this is a must-have-experience. With legion of people, this place is silent and peaceful. We did make it before 2-30 and had our few minutes of tête-à-tête with the big guy. Apart from the Bhimashankar temple, there are few more temples in immediate vicinity. We visited the temple dedicated to Lord Rama, a shrine dedicated to Kalmaja, a goddess, and Mokshakund thirtha, behind Bhimashankar temple, associated with Rishi Kaushika. Each of them offers a serene experience to believers. If you are skeptical, do not worry. This place has a lot to offer in terms of rich history, beautiful architecture and mesmerizing art.

The Local Flavor

IMG_20150726_171531 IMG_20150726_162107

Much like every other tourist place in the country, the locals have developed a very symbiotic relationship with the tourists and visitors. Small shops and snack-shacks flourish here to cater to the visitors as and when they come. We bought some local delicacies, trinkets and Prasad to take back home. The stairs up way are brutal and left us gasping for air for a good minute as we finally reached the top. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at a shack just as it started to rain. The rain here isn’t like a drizzle, it’s more like a lashing. Everyone ducks away, letting the rain roll by. We headed back to the car adding another 2 km to the trek. Now the rain bought about some dense fog. The person 3 feet ahead became invisible. It was kind of spooky, watching people get swallowed up into the mist. We made our way back with indigenous version of Marco-polo.

Why Bhimashankar

A quick list as to why we chose this place:

  • Monsoon makes it a trekker’s fun-land
  • Rich natural surroundings.
  • Photographers delight: rustic road trip, forest area, rich traditional setting.
  • Local food!
  • Hassel free day trip.

Ensure that you have a good adroit driver for the rain makes the parking lot, which is pretty much red-soil, very dicey. We did really expect the Scorpio to topple over but it didn’t! We left from Bhimashankar around 6pm. The return journey was peaceful and slow. We made it back by 8-30 pm and that was end of a lovely one day trip around Pune city.

43 thoughts on “Bhimashankar- Bountiful beauty at its best!

  1. Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I am inspired!
    Very useful info specially the ultimate part :)
    I deal with such information much. I was seeking this particular information for a very long time.
    Thanks and best of luck.

  2. Excellent pieces. Keep posting such kind of info on your site.
    Im really impressed by your site.
    Hello there, You have performed a fantastic job.
    I will definitely digg it and in my opinion recommend to my friends.
    I am confident they’ll be benefited from this site.

  3. Hi there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using?

    I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult
    time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and
    Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different
    then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  4. Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get
    a lot of spam comments? If so how do you prevent it,
    any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any support
    is very much appreciated.

  5. The next time I just read a weblog, I actually hope which it doesnt disappoint me up to this one. Get real, Yes, it was my choice to read, but I personally thought youd have something interesting to convey. All I hear can be a handful of whining about something you could fix inside the event you werent too busy trying to discover attention.

  6. Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossip and web stuff and this is actually frustrating. A good web site with interesting content, that’s what I need. Thank you for making this website, and I’ll be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  7. Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this information. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossip and net stuff and this is actually irritating. A good web site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thanks for making this site, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  8. Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this information. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossip and net stuff and this is really frustrating. A good web site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thank you for making this web-site, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email?

  9. I truly admire everything you internet site in proper here, highly informative and sensible. One problem, I’m running Opera on Linux and some with the content material are just a little wonky. I recognize it is not a popular, but it’s nonetheless something to watch out for. Just giving you a manages.

Leave a Reply