Short Introduction about Bhimashankar
Far from the maddening crowds in Pune and Mumbai nestled in the Sahayadri hills, it stands about 3250 feet above sea level in Khed taluka, just 127 km from Pune.
Bhimashankar is the site of the ancient Bhimashankar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
It is also a favorite spot for trekkers and another attraction is Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Who built Bhimashankar Temple?
The Bhimashankar temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. The River Bhima flows close to this temple.
Legend has it that this place originated from a part of River Bhima that evaporated during the fight between Lord Shiva and demon Tripurasura.
This temple is built in the Nagara style of architecture. Its construction began in the 13th century. More features were added to it by Nana Phadnavis in the 18th century. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is also said to have provided endowments to this temple. A Roman bell was presented to the temple by Chimajia Appa after winning it from the Portuguese. Raghunath Peshwa contributed to the temple by digging a well here.
Bhimashankar Temple Steps?
The temple is located atop a hill that can be reached by climbing 230 steps. Of course, the steps are not steep and there are points where you take some rest on the way.
Inside, the presiding deity is Lord Bhimashankar and his consort Kamalaja, an incarnation of Goddess Parvathi.
Mahashivratri is the main festival celebrated here.
There are statutes of Dashavatar on the temple premises. The devotees take a dip in various Thirthas here. Mokshakund Third is situated behind the temple and associated with Rishi Kaushika. Kusharanya Thirtha is the place where the Bhima River originates.
Sarvathirtha Jyana Kund is two more places near the temple which the devotees do not miss.
In the village, the Fireflies festival is held during the monsoon season. The alluring sight of numerous fireflies during this season is a sight not to miss.
Is Bhimashankar Open Now?
It is now open since 7th October after the pandemic and strict restrictions are in place. The timings are between 5 am to 12 pm and 4 pm to 9 pm. There is no entry fee to visit the temple
How difficult is Bhimashankar Trek?
Bhimashankar brings to mind sparkling waterfalls, dense forests, flora, and fauna – a treat for adventurists, photographers, and nature lovers alike.
It covers a 120 sq area in the western ghats/Sahayadri hills. This sanctuary is home to 14 sacred grooves with trees that are thousand years old. Bhimashankar Wild Sanctuary is a biodiversity hotspot that received its sanctuary status in 1984.
Indian Pangolin, Golden Jackal, Deer, Langur, leopard, Sambar deer, hyena, Golden Jackal, Wild Boar, Malabar giant squirrel, colorful birds – Grey jungle fowl, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Quaker babbler, Black Eagle, and numerous insects are few of the inhabitants in this sanctuary.
The trek inside the Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary is described at a moderate difficulty level. The Base is Khandas village and the maximum altitude to be attained here is 3050 feet.
There are two routes on this trek
- The first one is the difficult via Shidi Ghat route. It’s a bit tricky and slippery and best for experienced trekkers
- Another route is for beginners and this route passes through the Ganesh Ghat, so called because Ganesh temple falls on the way. You can view the Paddar Killa Rock tower and Nagphani peak on the way.
There are numerous stream crossings, rock climbing on both these routes across the wildlife Sanctuary. Though it is an all-season trek, climbing in the monsoon is so much fun because of the greenery around.
People love the trail to Gupt Bhimashankar that goes under rocks.
Those not keen on trekking can try safari car rides and watch the wild animals and greenery of deciduous and evergreen trees up close.
The Sanctuary timings are 6 am to 6 pm. The visitors should follow the government-regulated routes strictly for a trip inside. Minimal changes need to be borne to take motorbikes, light vehicles, and heavy commercial vehicles inside the sanctuary.
What is the best time to visit Bhimashankar?
The best time to visit the temple is between September and February. Opt for trekking between the months of July and September.
Some top places you can stay at Bhimashankar are Radisson Blue Resort & Spa, Chafewadi Rural Tourist Home, Blue Mormon Jungle Holiday Resort, and Westend Hotel
How to reach there
The nearest railway station to Bhimashanka is Pune 125 km away.
Pune’ Lohgaon airport is the nearest place one can reach by air travel.
From Pune you can reach Bhimashankar by road Bus facilities are available from Pune’s Shivajinagar ST to stand every 30 minutes all through the day. You can also avail Bus facilities from Kalyan and Kurla.
Other places that you can go when you visit Bhimashankar are…
Hanuman Lake is a small beautiful lake near the temple. Its surroundings are not as dense as the forests and so is great for a nice little family picnic spot to enjoy with the packed food and some small games like board games.
The stunning Ahupe Waterfall is close by. It also provides glimpses of the beautiful Dimbhe Dam backwaters. Gupt Bhimashankar, Bhim River origins, Gorakhnath Asharam, and Konkan Kada or Nagphani are other places that you can check on a visit to Bhimashankar.