Monsoon has finally arrived in the city with a bang. The heavy downpour has rendered our schedules useless, but on the flip side, it can jazz up our weekends. After a week of longingly staring out of the rain-drenched windows, our minds do crave for some respite. If being surrounded by green valleys, waterfalls and lakes is on your mind, do read further.
Bhandardara is a famous region for not just being surrounded by some of most beautiful peaks in the state, but also for its hydroelectric power project owing to Wilson dam. It is few hours away from Mumbai, and the way leading to it is one of the best road trips. Green mountains, cotton candy clouds, countless waterfalls and winding mountain roads can make one easily lose track of time. So I armed myself with a good playlist and managed to visit these beautiful places on a lazy Sunday.
Wilson dam/Bhandardara dam
Probably one of the oldest dams in India, Wilson dam was built across river Pravara in 1910. There is a pool and garden situated at the base of dam. It was inaugurated by then governor of Bombay, Leslie Orme Wilson, and hence the dam was named after him. Most of the falls and lakes in the region receive the water flow from Wilson dam.
(In picture: Wilson dam from the garden)
Arthur lake is serene and alluring, and is ideal for whiling away time having corn of a cob and bhajjiyas. Boating in the lake is a calm experience; it is bound by scenic dense forest on three sides. It is also a famous spot for lakeside camping in winters and spotting fireflies in the surrounding forest before monsoon.
(In picture: Boating at Arthur lake)
The most famous waterfall in Bhandardara region, it falls from a height of 170 feet and is jaw-dropping spectacular! There are multiple falls on either side of the view point, and flow in full blast in monsoon. It is one of the best sights in the state, and I couldn’t get enough of multiple waterfalls surrounding me!
(In picture: Randha fall)
The magnificent Umbrella fall is located below the dam. On the days when the water in dam overflows or reaches full capacity, its gates are opened. This results in huge cascades of water and is called Umbrella fall. It is enormous, and tourists can have a full view of the fall by walking down a bridge that goes around it.
(In picture: Umbrella fall; Source: Internet)
Naanhi fall and Necklace fall
Enroute Amruteshwar temple, there are many beautiful spots full of greenery and valley views. Pitstop for tea and snacks is strategically located right opposite scenic Naanhi fall. There is a small bridge for enabling tourists to get a closer view. One can also spot picturesque Necklace fall. It’s a tiered waterfall, naturally formed in the shape of a necklace (circular), hence it is named that way.
(In pictures: Naanhi fall and Necklace fall. Necklace fall’s picture is sourced from the internet)
It is an ancient Shiva temple located in Ratanwadi. It has beautiful stone carvings, and is made in Hemadpanthi architectural style. Peaceful and lost in time, it is believed to have been made in 9th century by King Jhang of Shilahara dynasty. The idol is submerged in water during monsoon.
The ride to the temple, along the banks of Arthur lake, is filled with views but long in duration. However, one sight of the temple makes the ride uphill worthwhile.
(In picture: Amruteshwar temple)
Some distance away is homely Samrad village, which is the base village for some of the most beautiful treks in the region. However, a little treasure it has is magnificent view of Konkankada and a massive reverse waterfall nearby! It is shrouded in clouds in monsoon and it took me a while to figure out that I was standing at the edge of the world, and got drenched in the reverse waterfall in no time! It’s definitely one of my most favorite experiences.
(In picture: Reverse waterfall. This image is taken on a trek from where the reverse waterfall was visible from a distance)
The vibe of the place is calm and fun, and is great for a one-day trip with family. Most memorable experience was having tea and spicy bhutta, while watching green valleys in rain. Even though I had read about the place before heading there, experiencing these striking spectacles of nature closely filled me with utmost happiness. Witnessing monsoon in Sahyadri is indeed an experience in itself!
If you’ve read so far, thank you very much for your time.
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(All pictures are taken by me unless mentioned)