A Night in Konkan

Trek to Bhimashankar Temple Konkan Maharasthra
                                    Bhimashankar : Konkan Maharashtra

 

It was one of the most thrilling nights of my wandering life and indeed one of the most favorable ones. Revisiting the trekking experience back from Bhimashankar in the midst of lush green forest still quivers me to the core of my heart. A group of 5 guys seeking adventure in western Ghats reached to BhimaShankar. Bhimashankar is known for an old LORD SHIVA temple which is one of the 12 jyotirlinga. Bhimashankar is about 4-5 hours drive from Pune and same distance from Mumbai as well. It is a small village perched on a hill top surrounded by dense forest which exhibits splendid shades of Green post monsoon. There is also an offbeat trail downhill where you will witness countless non-perennial water streams flowing silently through the valley and finally merging to a roaring river.

Bhimashankar Valley in Konkan Maharasthra
                                                         Bhimashankar Trek to Valley down

 

Our initial plan was to roam around the forest in the afternoon and plunge into some unknown waterfall. We followed a thin water stream which flows behind the temple and suddenly disappears in the dense forest. it is not a well outlined trail so i will not recommend trekkers to try it solo. River's bank was slippery and encroached with shrubs so we started to walk in the river itself where rocks covered with green algae made us fumble couple of times. River flow was moderate but depth was unpredictable which became the key apprehension. Following the river we came out of that forest into an open valley surrounded by thick jungle and low rising hills. River was flowing silently in the middle fulfilling the purpose of its existence. Mild wind of monsoon filled us with relief and we forgot the pain we just had while negotiating that trail... For trekkers seeking isolation, its the perfect place.... Impossible to find such serenity in a place which is so close to 2 of the biggest metros of the country....

Lush Green Valley at Bhimashankar in Konkan Maharashtra
                                                              Lush Green Valley at Bhimashankar

The valley behind Bhimashankar shrine is more of an offbeat trail and quite a delight for adventure seekers. Soon after We started to trek uphill and reached to Bhimashankar village again. On the way back from the valley, we took the forest trail rather than following the river uphill. By the time we made back to the temple, it was alert to fulfill appetite . Taking the bus back to Pune would have been a prudent call yet we decided to take the trail down to Karjat. With a mild feeling of getting stranded in the middle of the forest, we started to descend from the peak covered with clouds. Finally we were on the trail going downwards to a village that connects to Karjat (A railway station between Mumbai-Pune). Through out the trek downhill, downpour was incessant. Some parts of the trail were steep, rocky and slippery due to intermittent rain. Some stretches of the trek were dark covered with Gigantic trees,bushes,waterfalls. In between the rippling of the rivers, you can also feel the absolute wilderness around. It was not the preferred trail people generally follow to reach Bhimashakar. From Bhimashankar Village, there are 2 trails to the valley which connect to Karjat. One of those trail was closed due to monsoon...

 

that might have been the easier one (sudden thought to compliment your stupid notions)...
 

Bhimashankar Wild life Sanctuary Konkan Maharashtra
                                Dense Forest at Bhimashankar Valley,Konkan

 

We all were very excited and having fun until it dusked. From the beginning our assumptions about trek were completely wrong. Trek was longer than we expected ...Then came the breathtaking experience.... All our calculations,presumptions about the whole journey unrolled incorrectly.... Soon after It started getting dark and we were lost in the wild with no sign of any other trekker anywhere.... All excitement for capturing photography faded ...now it was a crucial time for strategy,planning,execution and survival. Taking food in account, we were having nothing,water bottles were empty as well. Water was not that crucial as we can always rely on water streams. On the top of it, we only had 1 torch among 5 people. I took the lead role in that cage and became the torch bearer. I was switching it on and off to save batteries as we were not sure how long we will have to walk before we reach the next village.
 

Bhimashankar Trek Konkan Maharasthra
                                   A Distant View to Konkan Range at Bhimashankar

 

My experience about forest tramping suggests "You must explore any forest during day hours before attempting an excursion in the night because sun light would always give you a better idea about the jungle". Every forest has number of rumors, folklore, legends and haunted stories associated with it so it's better to give it a try in day time. This time I was going against my own principal as we never tried this jungle during daytime. I knew that every step can mislead us to a miserable destination and worst part was hilly landscape. we stopped at a place, brain stormed and agreed to keep walking until we reach to the bottom of the valley. In a hope of hitting inhabitance, We were eager to get over with the hilly terrain as soon as possible.There was not a single source of light from anywhere. In such situations you better start walking and that's what we did and kept walking down and down. The night was beautiful, serene and haunting at the same time ..Besides the sound from foot steps, it was the rippling of the river,wind flow,and leaves jazzing in the forest. Exothermic thoughts of immediate future made us silent. we all were crashed with many foretelling ideas in our mind. it turned into an undiscovered puzzle of finding routes...

Dense Forest in Bhimashankar Wild life Sanctuary Konkan
                                      Trek to Dense Forest at Bhimashankar
 

Finally we touched down to the bottom of the hill into a flat terrain. Soon after the descend, we saw signboards mentioning Entry prohibited(forest Reserve Area). It triggered the confusion within whether we escaped enemy(Wilderness) line or approaching it. Despite all the self-contradictory thoughts, There was just nothing better to do except walking ..irrespective to the direction ... I find it meaningless to quote distance which we covered that day walking in the wild in that stark darkness... Finally in that valley of despondency, we heard a sound. that sound triggered spark within and It was not the sound of jungle. It was already 11:00 PM and the sound was coming out from a tractor piling a field near a village. Approaching the sound, we reached to the cottage near crop field. That tractor owner came to us and shouted on us for our craziness and stupidity...I don't understand Marathi but seems like he was saying "What are you doing in the middle of the forest in the night"... Two of my friends are native to Maharashtra so they could communicate with tractor owner and asked him to take us to the nearest possible overnight stay option. From the agricultural field, The village was still 2-3 km far separated by a river which had a bridge....a sigh of relief....

Hut in the countryside
                                               Hut in the countryside
 

There was just no means by which we could reach Karjat from there. It was late night and no Tam Tam's(6 seaters auto rickshaws) owner was not ready to go there at any cost because it was a thick jungle, raining and quite dangerous region in terms of roads etc... there was no other option than staying for a night in that Konkan Village.... downpour was incessant... we went to one of the reputed family of the village ..they owns a shop and big house...veranda has sufficient space to accommodate us for a night... That unknown village was the terminal for State transport buses ...it was one of those last villages connected with public transport... landlady offered us food,water,a mat,a shadowed place and treated us very nicely....we were never ever that much hungry,tired,thirsty.... I will be thankful to those people in my entire life for all the precious basic needs they offered to us ...Humanity is not dead, it's just we are too busy being cynical about things.... suddenly the restlessness were gone and a state of sheer contentment arrived which generally happen after the predicament ends...

Forest around Bhimashankar
                                          Forest around Bhimashankar
 

I can recall/fetch/remember each and every bit of that night near Bhimashankar... but I don't think that experience can be penned down in words..... I just made an attempt ..next morning got the first bus to karjat...and back to Pune. and life start running in the same pattern. the same rut. but i will never forget that night in Konkon near Bhimashankar at least in this lifetime,may be after too... and who knows what the tide would bring next day....

Riverine Bhimashankar
                                         Riverine Bhimashankar

Technical Details about Bhimashankar Trek:
Bhimashankar Trek starts from a village called Khandas which is some 34 km from Karjat railway station. Trekkers from Pune can reach Karjat by ST buses. Trekkers from Mumbai can take local trains. To reach Khandas from Karjat, One can take ST buses, Auto-Rickshaws. ST busses are very few on this route.

From Khandas, there are two trails to reach Bhimashankar. Ganesh Ghat route is easier and preferred one which involves some 4 hours of trekking.  Shidi ghat route is shorter, challenging, steeper and gets treacherous during monsoon.

Vehicular Route: There is a tar road up till Bhimashankar village where ST busses frequently ply to Pune and other towns.

don't travel in the night,

don't travel in the night, best trek is frm khandas.. there are so many wild animals there, our grp went for a trekking and we encountered a leopard there , we got hell scared , but there was no way .. mar jao ya mar do.. himmat dikhayi chalte rhe.. always carry a knife whenever u trek.. 

Cool. Thanks for your comment

Cool. Thanks for your comment and useful information. this comment will inspire others.

Thanks Vishnu for sharing

Thanks Vishnu for sharing your experience in detailed and organised way.

Thanks for your comment. keep

Thanks for your comment. keep dropping by.

+- Vishnu

Its quite amazing to know

Its quite amazing to know that some 3000 to 5000 years back our ancestors had built 12 Shiva temples that were astronomically and geographically significant. All these 12 temples are today called as the Jyotirlingas, that house the most spiritually powerful lingas of the world.

http://www.ishtadevata.com/blog/importance-jyotirlingas-hinduism.html

Thanks for your comment and

Thanks for your comment and keep dropping by.

+- Vishnu

Hey Vishnu, have heard that

Hey Vishnu, have heard that travelling to Bhimashankar after 6 pm is not safe.. is it like that ??

we are planning a bike trip from Pune on weekend in the 1st week of march. wana know about the place.

 

Yes. its mountainous road so

Yes. its mountainous road so i will not recommend biking in the night.

I want to visit Bhimashankar

I want to visit Bhimashankar can you help me?

What sort of information you

What sort of information you want. I think there are direct state transport buses from Pune and Mumbai. and It can be done in a single day from both of these cities.

wanna know about ghat road

wanna know about ghat road how long?

I don't remember the exact

I don't remember the exact distance of the road over the hills but its not long. it was a short trip and road is decent.

have you been tirupati there

have you been tirupati there also a ghat road can we compare with that

I have not been to Triputi...

I have not been to Triputi...

Well, that is quite an

Well, that is quite an experience to share.
We are planning to visit there soon. Fingers crossed.

Bhimashankar is one of the

Bhimashankar is one of the best treks i ever took....had amazing time on this trek...

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