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near Bhīmāshankar, Mahārāshtra (India)
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Nearest railway stations:
1. Neral ~29 kms
2. Karjat ~ 30 kms
Base Village: Khandas
Best time to visit: Monsoon
Food and Water: Weekend stalls during monsoon. There are plenty of stores & restaurants near Bhimashankar temple as well.
Accomodation: A few hotels/Lodge near Bhimashankar temple OR Pawarbaba’s Ashram near Chahacha Aamba (merging point of Ganesh Ghat & Sidhi Ghat routes). You can also arrange night accommodation in Khandas by calling Suresh Bhau (number given in transport section).
Total Time: 11.5 hours (of which active time: 7 hours).
Difficulty: Tough for Beginners & Moderate for Experienced trekkers
Endurance: 4 (If attempting both routes in a day, else Endurance grade: 3)
Risk Factor: High for Sidhi Ghat (Slippery rock patches and rockfall pose a risk during Monsoons). Medium for Ganesh Ghat.
What do these gradings indicate? Find out here ->
Complete Trail length: (If starting from Khandas Village)
1.Sidhi Ghat: 7.5 km
2. Ganesh Ghat: 10.2 km
Route: Neral- Kashele-Khandas-Sidhi Ghat-Mungi Ghat-Bhimashankar Temple-Mungi Ghat-Ganesh Ghat-Khandas- Neral
Directions: Alight at Neral railway station by Karjat/Khopoli bound trains and board a sharing Tum-Tum/Van to Kashele (20 Rs/seat) from the West side. From Kashele, you can either wait for the bus to Khandas (caution: erratic times) or hire a Car(Fare may vary depending on time of the year)/board a sharing Tum-Tum (30-40 Rs/seat depending). Proceed towards Bhimashankar by the tar road to Khandas bridge and then turn right for Ganesh Ghat or left for Sidhi Ghat.
1. Sidhi Ghat Ascent: You ‘ll cross a small hamlet, about 400m from the bridge. Take the first right after the hamlet to walk onto a kuchcha road which gradually turns into a trail passing through sparse forest. The trail opens up to a small plateau with a clear view of the Sidhi Ghat. Cross a stream and negotiate the steep climb to reach first ladder. Another ladder brings you to a cave and the third ladder takes you to a tricky rock patch with excellent finger holds. Cross a protruding rock to reach the final rock patch, which leads to the top of the waterfall. Proceed along a trail going north which later turns east, cutting through paddy fields to ultimately merge with the Ganesh Ghat trail at the Chahacha Aamba.
2. Mungi Ghat (Common for both): Head east from the Chahacha Aamba along the broad trail that zigzags over the steep terrain to enter the dense forest of Bhimashankar. A 45 minute traverse brings you to the enclosure of Hanuman pond. Turn left and walk along the fence to cross a parking lot and enter Bhimashankar temple premises across the tar road. The road besides Ram mandir is the starting point of Gupt Bhimashankar trail. Follow the same route while descending till you reach Chahacha Aamba.
3. Ganesh Ghat Descent: Turn south (left) from Chahacha Aamba to start walking along the Ganesh Ghat route. The dense forest will lead to a waterfall in half an hour’s time from the merging point. Proceed west from the waterfall to reach the Ganesh temple. Continue descending by the rocky trail to reach the tar road and proceed to the village by the Khandas bridge to hitch a ride back to Neral.
Other transport options: Buses ply to Kashele/Khandas from Karjat but they are unreliable. Best option is to travel by sharing Tum-Tum/Van between Neral-Kashele-Khandas.
For booking a Car from Karjat/Neral to Khandas: For groups of 8-10 trekkers, hiring a car is a good option, especially if you plan to reach Khandas night before the trek. Mr. Suresh Ainkar (Phone # 7350492119) ferried us from Kashele to Khandas and back all the way to Neral. He drives a Mahindra Bolero and provides round the clock pick-n-drop facility from Neral/Karjat on prior notice.
1. Gogul Ghat: This route is unknown to many trekkers and not mentioned in the trekking books probably because the route is not well defined. From the small bridge on the tar road trek uphill till you meet route no.1 at the base of Padar Killa. This route surpasses the Ganpati temple. The route passes over big rocks most of the time and so it is difficult to locate the track. Hence it is better to hire a villager to avoid inconvenience.
(source: http://www.hikesandtreks.com/ruzbehsection.html#bhimashankar )
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