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An overview of Bhandardara
This is a hill station in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. It is a quiet little village nestled in the depth of the Western Ghats. This hill station enjoys the credit of housing the tallest peak in Maharashtra, Mount Kalsubai which stands tall at 1646 metres. This holiday spot attracts lots of international and domestic tourists as well because of its strategic location. It is at a distance of 185km from Mumbai and hence is easily accessible.
History of this hill station
This hills station of Bhandardara is also home to the Pravara River which is revered by many Hindus and considered as sacred as the River Ganges. It is believed that in the olden days, the famous saint, Agastya Rishi meditated in Bhandardara for over a year and survived only on water and air. The Goddess who was very happy with his devotion blessed him profusely and also blessed the place with a portion of the Ganges River which is now known as the Pravara River. The entire hill station is filled with abundance of greenery everywhere which is a visual treat for the tourists.
Geographical location of Bhandardara
Situated at a distance of 185km from Mumbai, Bhandardara is one of the often-visited hill stations in the country mainly for its trekking tracks. Marathi is the official language here. Its geographical identities are 19.31 degrees towards the North and 73.45 degrees towards the East.
How to reach and local modes of transport
Air - At a distance of 185km, Chatrapati Shivaji Airport in Mumbai is the nearest to Bhandardara. There are many domestic and international flights that connect Mumbai with the rest of the world through this airport.
Rail – Igatpuri, situated at a distance of 35km from Bhandardara, is the nearest railway station to this hill station. This is a major junction and trains going to all the major cities in the country from Mumbai halt at this station.
Road – There are government and private buses that ply between Mumbai and Bhandardara daily. All these buses go only till the base of the hill.
Local modes of transport – There are buses run by the transport department of Maharashtra, with the help of which tourists can visit the nearby villages and places in Bhandardara. However, the best way to explore the hill station is on foot as the place has some amazing trekking trails.
Sightseeing places in Bhandardara
Agastya Rishi Ashram – One can find this ashram on the shores of the Pravara River. Set in a very calm and peaceful area, this ashram is believed to be the abode of Agastya Rishi in olden days, doubles up as an accommodation facility for tourists.
Ratangadh Fort – Set against the backdrop of excellent picturesque sceneries, this fort draws lots of visitors from all over the world. It was also a hot favourite spot for the great Maratha ruler, Chatrapati Shivaji who captured this fort when he ruled the place. The areas around the fort prove to be perfect trekking trails. Mount Kalsubai is easily visible from here.
Bhandardara Lake – Another name for this is the Arthur Hill Lake. Water from the Pravara River flows into this lake and the bank of this lake was exactly where Agastya Rishi meditated for over a year.
Mount Kalsubai – This is the highest peak in the entire state of Maharashtra and stands at a whopping 1646m tall. This is a perfect place for adventure lovers who take part in the challenging trekking trails leading to this peak. There is a temple and an ancient well at the top of this peak and legend has it that water level is never lesser than 3 feet in this well, irrespective of the season.
Randha falls – This is situated at a height of 45m and is quite close to the Wilson Dam. In terms of area covered and height, this is the third biggest in the country. The sight of innumerable beehives in this place attracts lots of tourists all through the year. The climate is very pleasant and this particular place gives a different meaning altogether to Bhandardara.
Umbrella falls – One can witness this only during the monsoon seasons, that is, during the months between July and October. This is found just below the Bhandardara Dam wall.
Things to do in Bhandardara
Trekking and fishing are the two engaging activities for tourists when they come to this hill station. The path that leads to Ratangadh Fort offers an excellent trekking opportunity for mountain climbers. Experienced trekkers can try to climb the highest peak of the state, Mount Kalsubai. A small part of Bhandardara Lake is left open for fishing activities for tourists. Some fishing and casting activities can also be tried at the base of many waterfalls that are found here.
Famous restaurants and local delicacies
Lake View Restaurant, Coffee Dam Corner and Panch Sheel are three famous restaurants in Bhandardara. These hotels serve vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. These places also sell the famous local delicacies like missal pav and Vada pav. The non-vegetarians must try out the fish curry that is available in the MTDC Nath Restaurant.
Where to stay in Bhandardara
Anandvan Resort in Shendi Village is a three star hotel in Bhandardara. Guests are treated to excellent hospitality here. MTDC Bhandardara is a budget hotel with neat facilities and offers full value of money to the tourists. Yash Resort is a premium hotel with great ambience and greater food. Mystic Valley Resort, Hotel Ashwin, Manas Lifestyle Resort, Ganaka Motel and Hotel Amruteshwar are some of the other options for tourists to stay.
STD, PIN and other Emergency Numbers in Bhandardara
Bhandardara’s STD code is 02424 and its PIN code is 422604. Police, Fire and Ambulance can be reached at 100, 101 and 102 respectively. Air Ambulance services can be availed by calling the number 09540161344 or 09845446634.
Banks, Hospitals and Tourist Office at Bhandardara
1 - State Bank of India
Near Station Stand, Tal Akola Rajur,
Bhandardara – 422604
Ph: 02424 251034
2 - Central Bank of India
Shendi Post, Bhandardara Head Office
Bhandardara – 422604
Ph: 02424 257112
Sai General Hospital
Akola Taluk, Ahmednagar District,
Bhandardara Head Office, Bhandardara – 4226204
All tourists planning to visit Bhandardara can visit the main tourist office in Mumbai and contact them for information about their booking and accommodation details.
Maharashtra State Tourism Development Corporation
CDO Hutments, Opposite to LIC Building, Madame Cama Road,
Mumbai – 400020
Ph: 022 22044040