A day in the DARK FOREST of Maharashtra

Andharban

August 2019

SHOW NOTES

Hi there, I’m Jaineel Gosalia as NAKKAAMO, and welcome to Nakkaamo Travels, the show in which I share my travel experiences. This is Episode 1 : ‘A day in the DARK FOREST of Maharahstra’ of the season ‘Treks in Maharashtra’

Summary

Andharban or Andhaar Van is a dark forest located in the Pune district of Maharashtra in the vicinity of the hair pin bends of the Tamhini Ghats. Being a 13km long easy enjoyable descend trek from Pimpri Dam to Bhira Dam, the trail offers eye catching views of the Kundalika Valley and River, Plus Valley and the Bhira Dam Backwaters. The foliage is abundantly dense with picturesque landscapes, cascading waterfalls as well as slow shallow rivulets. In this episode I will walk you through the forest trail, share my experience and help you out with the prerequisites you’d need to get to Andharban.

Mist,

Valleys,

Waterfalls &

River Crossing

Duration: 5-7 hrs

Location: Pimpri, 125km from Mumbai

Budget: ₹950

Kilometers: 300kms on Road & 13 by Feet

TIMESTAMPS

00:00 Welcome
00:05 About Nakkaamo Travels
00:19 About Nakkaamo (Jaineel Gosalia)
00:39
Briefing
01:25 Introduction
01:41 About Andharban
02:53 My Experience
03:10
How To Reach?
03:45
Photography Point
04:02
Trail Map
05:32
Foliage Tunnel
06:00 Photography Point
06:10 Picturesque Flower
07:45 Humpty-Dumpty had a Fall
08:20 Photography Point
08:56 Relaxation TIme
09:44 Declaration
10:28 A Weekend Trip Plan, JUST FOR YOU
11:20 White Water Rafting in Kundalika
11:39 Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna

If you liked what you heard, shower some love by commenting in the voids below and do share it with your travel buddies.

Here on is an all-encompassing blog post on one of the most scenic treks near Mumbai in Maharashtra, Andharban: Dark Forest, the trail, it’s route map and all the frequently asked questions answered precisely to the point.

Is Andharban Open Throught?

Andharban is a compound word coming from ‘andhaar’ meaning darkness and ‘van’ or colloquially ‘ban’ meaning forest. As it is an untouched forest and forests probably do not have gates, Andharban is open all days round the year.

How To Reach Andharban?
Andharban is in the vicinity of Tamhini Ghats and the trail starts from near Pimpri Dam in Pune.

By road (self-drive)

from Mumbai
Mumbai Pune Expressway -> Exit at Khandala Lonavala to Jalvaayu Marg -> Lonavala Aamby Valley Road -> Mhatoba Mandir Road -> MCKS Aashram Road -> Pimpri Dam

Mumbai-Pune Expressway -> Exit at Khalapur Toll -> State Highway 92, Pali -> State Highway 93, Saje -> Tamhini Ghat Road -> MCKS Aashram Road -> Pimpri Dam

from Pune
Mulshi Road -> Tamhini Ghat Road -> Pimpri Dam

By public transport

from Mumbai
Catch a train to Khopoli -> Hop on a bus to Pali -> Hop on a bus to Bhira -> Get down at MCKS Aashram -> Walk to Pimpri Dam
OR
Hop on a bus to Pune -> Get down at Khopoli -> Hop on a bus to Pali -> Hop on a bus to Bhira -> Get down at MCKS Aashram -> Walk to Pimpri Dam

from Pune
Hop on a bus to Pali or any bus plying on the Tamhini Ghat Road -> Get down at MCKS Aashram -> Walk to Pimpri Dam

By flight
Fly to Mumbai or Pune airport and then hire a cab or follow the public transport

By train
Book a ticket for Pune Station and then hire a cab or follow the public transport

Andharban Trail Route with Map
The trail can be categorized into four phases

Phase 1
Initial one and half km walk for half an hour in the paddy fields

Phase 2
Walking in the hills for around 4kms crossing streams to reaching the plateau in less than 3 hours

Phase 3
Entering the 3km long dark forest which can take around an hour and more if you choose to stroll

Phase 4
A 3 plus km descend after Hirdi Village ranging 4hrs to reach Bhira Dam Backwaters

Places To Visit Nearby Andharban
The 50km long drive through the Tamhini ghat bestows us with umpteen waterfalls and viewpoint in the vicinity of Andharban few of which are:
1. Waterfalls
a. Palashe Falls
b. Hemant’s Waterfalls
c. Khajina Waterfalls
d. Tamhini Waterfall
2. Treks
a. Devkund
b. Dongre Valley
c. Plus Valley
3. Viewpoint
a. Plus Valley Viewpoint: https://goo.gl/maps/meyPiSzHskb4qZQH9
b. Tamhini Ghat Viewpoint: https://goo.gl/maps/PvVffUd8EGuvWjcB6
4. Campsites
a. Mulshi Lake
b. Bhira Dam
What Are The Stay Options Near Andharban?
Ample options like budget hotels, homestays and camp sites are available near Patnus and Pimpri starting from Rs.500 for bed and breakfast. Check on the links below
What Are The Food Options Near Andharban?
One can find stalls offering tea, biscuit and Maggie to lunch homes for a Rs.100 unlimited thali
Are There Water Sources In Andharban?
There are not any RO water sources through the trek but there are multiple water sources flowing with mineral water. If you are a nature loving person, you won’t feel water shortage cause you can sip the flowing water but if you mind doing that then do carry a min. of 2ltrs or water during monsoon and sufficiently more during summer.
How Long Is The Andharban Trail?
The trek can be completed in 5 hours if you consider the trek just as a workout. If you walk slowly enjoying the view, clicking pictures safely and rejuvenate yourself in nature’s laps you may take around 7-8 hrs.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Andharban?
Pre-monsoon, monsoon i.e., June to September are the best months to enjoy the Andharban trail. But trekking here from October to January is a good idea too. As the forest here remains as dense as ever before and with added winter mist and chill the experience is simply mystical.
Is Andharban A Difficult Trek?
The Andharban trek has an easy enjoyable trail. It gets a little tough during monsoon because of the waterfall stream crossing and the slippery rock descend after Hirdi village without which it is a leisure trek.
Start Point, Base Village and End point of Andharban
Independence Point, Pimpri, Maharashtra 412108
Bhira Dam (Unnai Dam), Patnus, Maharashtra 402308
What is the distance covered in the trek?
13km
Things To Carry
Munchies
Sugar Candies
Biscuits
Water as per requirement
Sunglasses during summer
Rain cheater or Poncho during monsoon
Jacket, pullover, hoodie during winter because it gets cold early in the morning
Recemendations

Consider using a mosquito repellent if you are allergic to mosquitoes flies and other insects. Since it is a forest, there are prone to be insects, none of which have proven to be harmful till date.
Prefer wearing a full sleeve inner under a drip dry / dry fit t-shirt and track pants or nothing better if you have a trek pant. Trekking/Hiking shoes are a must for the trek to ensure proper footing.
Do not carry an umbrella to the trek. It is practically useless, and a weight add on, rather enjoy the rain or carry a poncho.

Technically there is not a need to carry a trekking pole, still if you feel safe with a pole, pack one.

What Safety Should Be Observed On The Trek To Andharban?

Ensure safety with a torch and a Swiss knife. Unfortunate accidents can be mitigated with pain relief sprays, pain killers and a basic first-aid kit.

Mystical Crystal, Andharban

Forests, lakes, rivers, clouds, winds, and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal just like the one you see - every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man. This photograph is of a raw rock or probably as crystal as I would...

Waterfalls in Andharban

"You don't have the power to make rainbows or waterfalls, sunsets or roses, but you do have the power to bless people by your words and smiles You carry within you the power to make the world better." ― Sharon G. Larsen. Do check out my blog Dark Forest of...

Puny Purple, Andharban

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in--what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables. I had clicked this puny flower hidden under the leaves on my trek in the Dark Forest of...

The magical pink flower, Andharban

A garden of purple is always in bloom. I had clicked this on my trek in the Dark Forest of Maharashtra: Andharban and since then I am simply in love with it, the colors, the texture and the vibe that it had when it stood all alone among the lush green bushes in the...

Abundance of Waterfalls, Andharban

"There is a hidden message in every waterfall. It says, if you are flexible, falling will not hurt you!" ― Mehmet Murat Ildan. This is a shot of the first of the umpteen waterfalls I sighted on my trek in the Dark Forest of Maharashtra: Andharban. Do check out my...

Small Waterfall, Andharban

Just let go - and fall like a little waterfall ― Bob Ross. This tree that I photographed on my trek in the Dark Forest of Maharashtra: Andharban. Do check out my blog nakkaamo.in/andharban and shower some love by a like-follow. Comment on how you like the...

The Farewell Tree, Andharban

"Learn character from trees, values from roots and change from leaves." ― Tasneem Hameed. I had photographed this tree after my trek in the Dark Forest of Maharashtra: Andharban. Do check out my blog nakkaamo.in/andharban and shower some love by a...

Symmetric Tree, Andharban

It had a symmetry but wasn't symmetric This tree that I photographed on my trek in the Dark Forest of Maharashtra: Andharban. Do check out my blog nakkaamo.in/andharban and shower some love by a like-follow. Comment on how you like the photograph. Shot on...

Kundalika Valley, Andharban

"A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?" ― Khalil Gibran I had clicked...

Independence Point, Andharban

Would you like to wake up to something like this? It seems like the grass, the leaves of the trees, the clouds and those distant mountain every particle of nature had a story to tell of its own.All that you'll have to do is accept my invitation to be an arm chair...