One of the 12 Shiv Jyotirlings, Bhimashankar is situated in the state of Maharashtra. The breathtaking panorama of landscapes, winding trails passing through the dense forests, rocky patches, and small streams flowing on the way make the trek worth the effort. The wilderness and the challenges during these treks will be a one-of-its-kind experience. Nestled deep inside the dense forests of protected wildlife sanctuary Bhimashankar is famous for being the only abode of Maharashtra's state animal Shekru also called Malabar giant squirrel. This place is also the source of River Bhima.
Khandas is the base village for the Bhimashankar trek. About 500 m after crossing Khandas village, you will come across a small bridge at a T-junction. The road to the left leads to Shidi Ghat while the one to the right leads to the Ganesh Ghat trail. Both these treks start from Khandas village around 30 km from Karjat.
1. Ganesh Ghat Route
The total distance from Khandas to Bhimashankar via Ganesh Ghat route is 8 km and it takes around 4 hours. This trail is named after a Ganesha temple that falls on the route. The Ganesh Ghat route is scenic and ideal for moderate-level trekkers. This route is known for the picturesque nature that will enchant you through the hike. The trail passes through dense vegetation for the initial one hour after the t-junction. This is a gradual ascent. After an hour, the trail opens out into a meadow. After 30 minutes of ascending through the meadow, it again enters a thick forest. This eventually meets the Shidi Ghat route. The trail, after the two routes meet, is a steep climb through a thick forest. It leads directly to the top, where you find the Bhimashankar trek.
2. Shidi Ghat Route
The distance from Khandas village to Bhimashankar via Shidhi or Shidi Ghat route is 5 km. This trek route is shorter in terms of distance when compared with Ganesh Ghat route but it is the toughest among the two. Shidi Ghat trek route passes via three mountains and a ladder route (iron ladders are constructed to help the trekkers). Shidi Ghat route is not for beginner trekkers as it takes good skill and physical energy to cover this trek. The initial 20 minutes after the T-junction is an easy walk. You reach a stream in about 20 minutes. Once you cross the stream, the trail ascends for about 40 minutes, till you reach the first ladder. Once you climb the first ladder, you quickly reach the next one. There is a cave after the second ladder where you can relax for a while. This spot offers excellent views of the valley below. Soon after you cross ladder 3, there is a patch with huge rocks. You need to be extremely careful while traversing this section. Although not mandatory, a rope will be helpful here. Immediately after this section, the trail joins the one that comes from Ganesh ghat. This is the halfway mark. There are a few huts where locals sell refreshments.
Best time to visit:
October to February are the best months to trek Bhimashankar. It can get a little tricky to trek during monsoons but can’t be said impossible though.
▸ Day 0: (Friday)
Hyderabad to Pune by Train
▸ Day 01: (Saturday)
09:00 AM: Reach Pune and have Breakfast
12:00 PM: Reach Karjat and take public transport to the base village
Start trek to Bhimshankar temple route via Sidhi Ghat
Camp and Dinner at night
▸ Day 02: (Sunday)
05:00 AM: wake up call
Sightseeing and exploring the temple surroundings
Descend via Ganesh Ghat and reach Pune junction (Lunch on the way)
▸ Day 03: (Monday)
06:00 AM: Reach Hyderabad
Clothing & Footwear
Food & Beverage
Reach Karjat, take a local train to Neral, and then hire a shared cab/auto till Bhimashankar temple.