June 7, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.214: Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary.

“Excellent Sanctuary for Trekkers.”
Reviewed 2 days ago
Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctaury gets its name from the Bhimashankar Shiva Temple around which this sanctuary is located. It is about 120 km from Pune and the best route to get there by vehicle is via Manchar on the Pune Nashik Highway. There are State Transport buses which go directly to Bhimashankar from Pune at regular intervals.

There is no infrastructure like the other wildlife sanctuaries of India. Guides, Safaris, Forest Rest Houses or even vehicle tracks are non-existent inside the sanctuary, and it is best explored on foot. Just outside the temple there are walking pathways (pugdundies) leading into the jungles of stunted trees and bushes of the Western Ghats (Sahyadris). Many trekking organisations from Pune and Mumbai arrange these treks to the Sahyadris especially during the monsoons (rainy season).

There are a few private resorts in the buffer zone as you enter the sanctuary. We stayed in one of these resorts during our visit and would take morning and evening walks into the sacred groves of the forest. The climate was very pleasant during the early mornings and late evenings even in the month of May, since it is a rocky plateau at an elevation of around 800 metres above MSL. Though we did not see any wild life besides rhesus monkeys and different species of birds, the sanctuary is famous for the Giant Indian squirrel. Leopards, hyenas, jackals and snakes have been seen in the deeper parts of the jungle.

The best time to visit Bhimashankar is from July to February after the rains, when the forests become lush and green, and many waterfalls can be seen in the surrounding hills.
Visited May 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

June 5, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.213: Bhimashankar Temple.

“Holy Shiva Temple in the Sahyadri Hills.”
Reviewed 2 days ago
Bhimashankar Temple is one of the 12 holy Jyotirlinga Shiva Temples of India. It is located at the western edge of the Sahyadri Hill range in Maharashtra, and is about 120 km from Pune by road. One has to travel up to Manchar on the Pune Nashik highway and then take a left turn to Bhimashankar. It is about 65 km from Manchar.

After reaching the temple entrance we had to walk down about 250 steps to reach the shrine. Luckily the steps are covered by an awning all the way down so it was not very hot. Be careful of the monkeys though, on the way. There are small shops to buy the offerings like coconut, sweets and flowers lining both sides of the stairway. There are some snacks and tea stalls as well.

The temple itself is well organised with railings to keep the rush of devotees in an organised queue. It was a Monday when there is maximum rush of devotees but we were able to get a darshan within the hour. The priest was kind enough to let us give an offering of milk on the Shiva lingam at the centre of the sanctum. There are some priests sitting outside the sanctum who take offerings in cash to perform specific pujas like abhishek. One can also sit outside the sanctum on the floor for a while to pray and meditate on the Lord, ‘Om Namah Shivaay’.

Legend has it that the Lord Shiva had fought with the demon Bheema, the son of Kumbakarna, and reduced him to ashes in a flash of lightning. Hence the name of the site became Bhimashankar. The river Bhima (formed by the sweat which flowed from Shiva’s body) also originates here and flows southwards to join the River Krishna in Andhra Pradesh.
Visited May 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

June 2, 2017

My TripAdvisor Review No.212: Ratwa Resort, Bhimashankar.

“Far Away From the Hustle and Bustle.”
Reviewed 3 days ago
This is a very calm and peaceful resort located just 6 km before Bhimashankar temple. It is located on the main road and you cannot miss it while going to the temple. The rooms are situated in individual cottages which are quite well spaced out and you can park your car right next to your cottage.

The rooms are quite large and clean with a cupboard and dining table and chairs. The bathroom is also quite spacious and has a geyser for running hot water. However there is no TV or air conditioning and no mobile connectivity except for BSNL. They do have a generator in case of power outage.

They have a restaurant where they serve simple vegetarian meals freshly made in their kitchen. You can place the order about an hour in advance if you want it as per your likes with less oil and spices. We enjoyed the taste of their simple recipes.

This is a place to go to if you want to visit the Bhimashankar Temple or to just get away from the hustle and bustle of big city life. Even though we visited in the month of May it was not too hot, and the mornings and late evenings were very pleasant for a walk out in the cool climate, amidst the forests and greenery.
  • Stayed May 2017, travelled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC