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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My brother had been planning this trip for quite some time now. As the place is Bhandardara he didn’t want to go on the weekend as it would be crowded there.  There are only a handful of hotels up there. So he decided to go on a Thursday.  As that was one of the days in the week, when my nephews have an weekly holiday in school.
On the highway
Now I had to make the choice whether I should join them or not.  Finally I got my holidays confirmed for both Thursday and Friday and we decided to head out on Thursday morning.

As a family we have done two road trips previously. The MurudRoadtrip followed by the Ganpatipule Roadtrip. But this one was special. Guess Why?  The above two road trips were done in hired private vehicles. This was to be done in our own Honda City.
Houses in the midst of the greenery
Ashley had made the arrangements for us to stay at Yash Resorts located high up on the hills of Bhandardara.  He was the man who had planned the entire trip.

So as decided we. We comprises of Ashley, his wife and two kids, Our Parents and me, left for Bhandardara at 7 am in the morning.  We left early because we didn’t want to be stuck in traffic, and wanted to reach Bhandardara at the the expected time.
Racing an outstation train
So the first pit stop was the gas station.  Filled our car tank to the brim with Petrol. Hit the highway.

Initially when we started off he had building for co. on either side of the road. Soon the buildings were replaced by farms and hillocks. Guess what, in no time we were on the highway headed towards to Nasik. 
Magnificent Hills
The journey was very smooth as we were not stuck in traffic both within the city and on the outskirts of the city.

As Ashley was driving I was the official photographer for the journey.  As the mercury outside was rising the glasses of the car were rolled up. All snaps were taken from the car.
Countryside at Bhandardara
We ran parallel to the railway line so even raced the train to some extent.  Reminded me of the Hindi movie Dil Chata Hai, where they race an outstation train on their journey to Goa.

The sides of the roads had all the possible shades of green, once could think off. Greenery all around.
Countryside at Bhandardara
The blue skies, brown hillocks either covered or not covered with trees in various shades of green. The green farms and the farms filled with hay. The farmer’s houses far away in the distance covered with mango trees around them as a nice sight to see.

Second Pit Stop. Finally after 2 ½ hours we decided to take a break to have refreshments. It was just 9:30 am and I felt like it was noon. The sun shining angrily at us. Made us sweat even more.  In no time we were done and decided to head to Bhandardara. This was the last pit stop before we could reach the Resort.
Countryside at Bhandardara
To head to Bhandardara we had to leave the Nashik Highway and take the curvy and narrow and not so good road. The ride was a bumpy ride all  the way up.

Bhandardara is located in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra. It is approx 185 km away from Mumbai and around 191 km away from Pune.  It is rested high up in the hills.  It can be accessed only by road. There are a lot of places to see in Bhandardara.  The highest peak in Maharashtra, Mount Kalsubai is located very near to it. It also has the Wilson Dam, Arthur Lake, Amriteshwar Temple, Ghatghar, Ratangad Fort and Radha Falls in its vicinity.

Amazing reflection of the hills in the water bodies
The three good resorts here are, the MTDC Resort, Yash Resorts and Anandvan Resorts. We were putup at Yash Resorts.

We finally reached Yash Resorts at 11:30 am. Rest for sometime there. The place was very well done up. Rested there for some time and then decided to head back to the hills and valleys.

We had our lunch at Anandvan Resorts. It was quite an expensive lunch and then started off.
Wilson Dam
The narrow, curvy roads that went up and down the hills and valleys gave mind blowing views of the hills, valleys and water bodies.  Not a soul wandered off alone, on these roads. The villages, a cluster of houses were far away from each other.  A ST bus  and Jeep (local modes of transport passed us by.) No one dared to overtake us. As there was no one around.

The views all around were amazing. Especially the colors nature had to offer us.

The hill ranges around reminded me of the movie Cars, which features Lightning McQueen when he is driving up the hills of Radiator Springs with Sally Carrera for company. Even my nephews shared the same feeling. 
They have watched the movie a zillion times now. And never get bored watching the movie.
We reached Ghatghar; saw the Wilson Dam and the Sahayadri hill ranges from there.  The view from up here is amazing. A photographers delight to shoot photos from here.

We reached Amriteshwar Temple, The temple is beautifully carved. History states that this Shiva temple was made by Shilahaar family when they ruled over Maharashtra in 900 AD. The temple is active and services are held here.  The temple has two statues of Nandi outside it. As per the villagers there, they informed me that kirtans are held there in the morning and evening.

As it was growing dark now we decided to head back to our Resort. It took us around 3 hours to see the place in entirety. A car is a must on these hills.
Amriteshwar Temple
Finally at 6 pm we were at the Resort.  As it was a weekday the resort was half , full. We had a good dinner at night and immediately headed off to sleep. As we had to start for Mumbai the next morning.

The temperatures drop to 16 degrees at night here.  The days are pleasant and nights chilled. Wrapped in blanket I slept in the night.

Next morning woke up to the sounds of the birds chirping near the window pane. Wow for a change the birds had replaced my alarm clock.  The chirping was soothing to my ears.
We then headed to have our breakfast at Yash Resorts Cafeteria and then headed back to Mumbai.

I didn’t wish to bid farewell to this beautiful place but had to, as we had a long journey back to Mumbai. 

Usually I don’t do a place again. But I would love come back to this place again in my lifetime.


Unknown said...

Merwyn thanks for sharing such a great place away from all the noise and pollution of Mumbai city... Seems a great relaxing and rejuvenating outing. Would love to visit once...Let me know if I plan coming from railways then how to go about it and is weekend sufficient ?


Hi Gopal,

You can go by train to Nasik and travel from there by ST bus or jeep.
But a personal vechicle is preferrable.

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