Sunday, January 15, 2006

For the easy-going, Bhimashankar, about 275 km from Mumbai by road is a weekend getaway. For others, like us, at 3250-ft high and a 4.5-hour gruelling trek from Khandas village – it is a test of endurance for our muscles, joints and of perseverance for our minds. To reach Khandas, take the Mumbai-Pune highway till Chauk and take a left, drive 40km from Chouk via Karjat to Khandas village. From Khandas, it is an up-hill climb to the first plateau, then a trail through forests, and again an up-hill climb to the Bhimashankar plateau.
The temple on top, dedicated to Lord Shiva, dates back to 18th century. Legend is that Lord Shiva, killed Bhima, an Asura who lived there. Bhimashankar wild life sanctuary is home to a variety of endangered species of flora and fauna. The Giant Indian Squirrel is a major attraction, while the other species present include Panther, Sambar, Wild Boar, etc. The Bhima river originates from here and joins river Krishna. Trekking during the monsoons is ideal and the most enjoyable, with endless stretches of greenery right from the base, with water falls and gushing streams. But it is also the most risky.
Initially, we planned to cover only the first plateau and a hike through the forests, since trekking up to Bhimashankar and back on the same day could be a daunting task. But the enthusiasm was infectious and each had a point to prove to oneself. Even the first timers were determined.

So here it goes… Click the photos to get a bigger view.

Sattelite image
Google Mapping Courtesy: Chakram Hikers

Sattelite image. A closer look

Saturday, January 14, 2006

'Courage' has now a new meaning and expression.

Introduction. The tallest mountain in the background is our destination

Small victories. After climbing a small hill on our trail

Moving on

Waiting for the direction. Straight or Right?

Trail by the river (remains of a river/stream). During monsoon it is a different story

Water break

An up-hill task

Snack break. A reason to sit for a while

Back on track

Charlie's Angels

Turning back?

An endless climb


View of the first mountain to climb

Crossing between two mountains. Typically waterfalls are formed at these places. During monsoons, it could have been a difficult task to cross this

Moving on

The waterfall trail

An amateurish attempt to catch the sun rays on the camera

Forest trail in the first plateau


Crossing a fallen tree. A dilapidated hut, one among the many which tribals have constructed for trekkers

A view of the village in the first plateau

A tight spot

A view of the valley

View of Padargad fort

A view of the village in the first plateau, from a further height

Looking behind at the valleys we crossed. And a view of Padargad Fort

On the top

Journalists realise that at times a stick is mightier than a pen and a sword.

Trotting down

Another dream lived together

Nature Knights

Nature Knights is a group of adventurers from diverse background bonded by a common interest for outdoors, environment and eco-tourism.

Nature Knights organizes expeditions, camps and treks providing opportunities for studying the environment and explorations to places of historical importance and heritage.

Nature Knights also organises adventure trips to Himalayas, rich Valleys in Western Ghats and Nilgiri mountains.

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