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Khandas to Bhimashankar

Khandas to Bhimashankar: A Tale of Valentine’s Day Trek

The Unexpected Plan of Khandas to Bhimashankar Trek

On Valentine’s Day in 2010, I found myself on a sun-soaked path leading from Khandas to Bhimashankar, surrounded by the cool shade of the sanctuary’s woods. In our quest to find the right path, we encountered a patch of slippery soil and pebbles that made our trek more challenging. I slipped and fell, earning a small wound on my left hand from which a trickle of blood emerged. It felt as though nature was expressing its love in its own unique way.

Our goal was to trek from Khandas to Bhimashankar via Shidi Ghat. The decision was made at the last minute, and to my surprise, 22 passionate nature lovers joined me. Their presence on Valentine’s Day was a testament to their deep love for nature.

The Gathering at Pune Station

Our journey began at Pune station, where we hopped onto the pre-booked ‘Sinhagad’ express. The air buzzed with chitchat, games, and laughter as we embarked on our 2 ½ hour journey to Karjat. There, we fueled up on Diwadkar’s famous Vadapao before boarding six-seater rickshaws, known as ‘tamtams’, to Khandas.

The Majesty of Sahyadri on Khandas to Bhimashankar Trek

Upon arriving in Khandas, we were greeted with breathtaking views of Sahyadri’s mighty cliffs. Surrounded by mountains reaching heights of over 2500 feet, we couldn’t help but marvel at the sight. The lofty Siddhagad on the left, Tungi on the right, and the inviting Padargad straight ahead made for a majestic panorama.

Tour My India – Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary

The Ascension and the First Break

With renewed vigor, we left the 2km tar road behind and ventured into the thick woodland. After walking for about 25 minutes under the hot sun, the cool shade of the forest was a welcome relief. A water stream marked our first break, its small pools offering clear, cool refreshments for our thirsty group.

Khandas to Bhimashankar

The Wrong Turn and a Lesson from Nature

Our journey took a turn when we lost our way, climbing a wrong slope and resulting in my fall. It was a subtle reminder from nature on Valentine’s Day – love can sometimes be challenging, yet enriching.

The Right Path and the Iron Ladder

Despite our detour costing us an hour, we soon found the right path again. The sight of the first iron ladder confirmed we were on the right track, boosting our spirits. We climbed up to a small plateau, the magnificent views from the 500-foot-high cliff making the ordeal worthwhile.

The Iron Ladder

The Tough Climb and the Cave Break

The trek became more challenging as we were faced with almost vertical rock faces to climb. Thanks to the three iron ladders installed en route, we were able to overcome the hurdles. We helped each other climb and reached a natural cave-like structure, where we took a break, relishing the splendid views.

The Journey through Ganesh Ghat and Shidi Ghat

We resumed our trek, reaching a junction between the Ganesh Ghat and Shidi Ghat routes. The small village there offered us a much-needed rest and refreshing buttermilk sold by the local boys.

The Final Push and the Arrival at Bhimashankar

The final leg of the journey was strenuous, especially under the scorching sun. Yet, the sight of the thick woods gave us renewed hope. We walked with determination until we reached the cool, dense forest. The refreshing air and the greenery rejuvenated us, and we found ourselves at Bhimashankar after a mere 10-minute walk.

Nomads of India – Bhimashankar Trek Complete Guide

The Feast and The Lord Bhimashankar

Upon reaching our destination, we quenched our thirst with traditional chilled nimbu pani. A sense of accomplishment was evident on everyone’s faces. We rushed to pay homage to the sacred Lord Bhimashankar, a jyotirlinga carved by King Zanj in the 9th century and came out feeling more fulfilled than ever before.

IndiaHikes – Bhimashankar Trek

The Journey Home

With the trek completed, we savored a hearty lunch before heading to the ST bus stand. Despite the crowd, we managed to secure seats for all 23 of us, adding another memorable experience to our day. The journey back was filled with song, laughter, and reminiscing about the trek.

Despite the challenges, the trek from Khandas to Bhimashankar was a unique and memorable Valentine’s Day celebration. It was a day spent in the embrace of nature, a day that would be remembered fondly by all.

Read about my trekking experiences here.

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