A Day in the Land of the Lord of the Lords
Being in nature Bhimashankar Trek is one of the most fulfilling life experiences a person can have. Amidst the small yet striking wonders of nature is this wonderful path to self-discovery. Unknowingly, nature teaches us important life lessons and inspires us to lead our lives to its fullest potential. Even a day in nature away from the chaos of the city can be an utterly calming experience. A day without the constant honking of cars, the 9-5 desk-chair pair, the bustle of a million people trying to make ends meet, and the overwhelming fast pace of city life can be a divine experience. We all need this getaway once a while to escape the monotony of our daily life. And what better way to break life’s monotonous cycle with an exciting trek in the laps of nature? Sit back, relax, and brace yourself for an exciting virtual trek in the stunning Bhimashankar Wildlife Reserve – the land of the lord of the Lords.
STEPS GHATS TEMPLE PLATEAUS
What is Bhimashankar?
As its name suggests, Bhimashankar is a place of worship for the devotees of Lord Shiva, the Almighty. Bhimashankar has shrines of Lord Shiva which makes it a sacred place for many. The name Bhimashankar comes from the river Bhima originating in the neighboring mountains and flowing all the way eastwards, via Pandharpur to meet river Krishna near Deosugur at the Karnataka Telangana border.
This place is the embodiment of beauty surrounded by divine energy from the jyotirlingas and the majestic Bhimashankar temple. The Bhimashankar temple is an ancient temple, built in the 17th century. It is made up of old and new structures alike, giving it a unique look. The architecture of this temple is inspired by Nagara style, a graceful yet structurally sound design. It was built by the Marathas and has great historical value. This temple is just one of the many beautiful elements that add to Bhimashankar’s picturesque beauty. Apart from the main temple, there are several shrines of Hindu Gods and Goddesses sprinkled along the length of Bhimashankar.
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The minimum duration this trail requires is a day. If you start early in the morning, you can ascend and descend both on the same day. Ascend can be done via any of Shidi or Ganesh Ghats, but it is preferred to descend via Ganesh Ghat.
The BhimaShankar Trek via Ganesh Ghat is easy. If opting for Shidi Ghat you will require a bit of skill. But for beginners, just a little bit of grit and passion with a tinge of excitement to reach the endpoint is more than enough. You can also accompany an experienced trekker if it is your first time, to learn the skills and also, enjoy their great company.
The trail can be divided into three broad categories:
- Shidi Ghat – 5km
It is a 5km long ascend. It has the perfect blend of 3 rock patches and 3 ladders. Of the rock patches, the first on the edge, second being the stretch test, and the last one being the vertical one. Of the three ladders, after the second ladders are small caves. And this cave is from where I shot the cover photo of this podcast, blog and the cover of the FREE eBook too.
- Ganesh Ghat – 7km
It is an easy 7km walk, with umpteen picturesque scenes. The bamboo hut and what I call the photograph of Bhimashankar is from this trail.
- Padarwadi Plateau to Bhimashankar Temple
The last bit of the trail is the Padarwadi Plateau to Bhimashankar part. It is included in Shidi Ghat and Ganesh Ghat, but exclusively it is a 2km long on the walk on the edge. It proffers a breathtaking valley throughout, till you reach the top.
Places to visit near Bhimashankar
Bhimashankar being a wildlife reserve has multiple destinations worth visiting Kothli Gad, Padar Gad, Gorakh Gad, Siddha Gad and Bhoi Giri are some of the forts in the vicinity. There is one more serene place Ahupe in the Bhimashankar Wildlife Reserve. Ahupe can be reached by road or can be trekked too. But it is a complete detour from Khandus. The major attractions nearby are the Bhimashankar Temple, Gupt Bhimashankar and the Hanuman Lake. Gupt Bhimashankar is from where the Bhima river originates. Umpteen seasonal waterfalls form up, so you can just stop by the road and enjoy the view, the sound, and the serenity.
When it comes to food in India, it is never a problem. Local villagers offer breakfast for a decent price. Enroute the trek, snacks and refreshments are made available at Padarwadi plateau. After reaching Bhimashankar Temple, everything will be available as it is a pilgrimage destination.
But for water, there are no RO water refill sources through the trails, but you can buy packed water bottles at Padarwadi plateau. Despite which there are multiple water sources flowing with seasonal mineral water. If you are a nature loving person, you won’t feel water shortage because you can sip the flowing water. But if you mind doing that, then do carry a minimum of 3ltrs or water during monsoon and sufficiently more during summer. Cause Shidi Ghat is tiring, and you’d require more water. You can always refill at water point at Bhimashankar Temple. If you opt Ganesh Ghat only, 2ltrs water would do well for a one-way trek.
Ample options for stay like budget hotels, homestays and camp sites are available near Bhimashankar Temple starting from Rs.500 for bed and breakfast. Rustic home stays are also available at the base village. But, if you prefer luxury, then options towards Neral like Rio Retreat, River Gate Resort and many in its vicinity would serve to your demands.
- Trekking/Hiking shoes are a must to ensure proper footing.
- Consider using a mosquito repellent if you are allergic to mosquitoes, flies, and other insects. Since it is a wildlife reserve, it is prone to be insects.
- Prefer wearing a full sleeve inner under a dry fit t-shirt and track pants. Or nothing better if you have trekking pants.
- Carry a jacket, pullover, or a hoodie during winter as the early mornings and nights get a little cool.
- Keep munchies, sugar Candies, and biscuits with you as they are lightweight and serve as instant energy sources.
- 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.
- Carry a rope for unfortunate mishaps
- Carry ORS with you in the form of sachets, tetra packs, or pills. Whichever being easily available.
- Please do not carry an umbrella to a trek. As, it is practically useless, and weight add on too. Rather enjoy the rain or, pack a poncho instead.
These are just some run-of-the-mill precautions and tips that you need to complete this thrilling trek. But remember to have fun, to soak in the breathtaking beauty of Bhimashankar. It will be a thoroughly memorable experience, whether you do it alone or with a bunch of friends.
The day I spent in Bhimashankar, talking to local villagers, asking questions to the trek leads, interacting with fellow trekkers and also the following pre-existing sources