“At distance of 166.8 km via NH160 is Bhandardara, A Monsoon destination located Akole taluka of Ahmednagar (Maharashtra State). Primarily a monsoon attraction place near Mumbai famous for Waterfalls, Lakeside Overnight Camping, Dam, Temple, Fireflies Festival, Lush Greenery, Mountains & Treks and few more. Ideally a day or overnight picnic spot for nature lovers that just takes about 3 hours and 50 minutes via Mumbai Nasik Highway.
More about this monsoon picnic destination in detail that have some attractive waterfalls like Wilson Dam Falls, Umbrella, Randha, Necklace & Nanhe Falls and the famous lakeside overnight camping at Arthur lakes & Ghatghar inside Bhandardara vicinity. Will also detail about other attractions like Agasti Mandir, Amruteshwar temple, Famous treks and other details like parking, charges, best time to visit etc..”
2 main reasons People from Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and other parts of Maharashtra and other cities visit Bhandardara during monsoon are the Waterfalls & Lakeside Camping, Both in the nature’s heaven which has abundance of mountains & greenery around. All the below listed waterfalls are about 30 to 50 minutes from each other. And nearest railway station is Igatpuri (Central Railway Route) & Kasara whichever suits your journey. To understand and help planning your visits to these waterfalls.
Below are road distances between all the falls & attraction places to see from Wilson Dam at Shendi village of Bhandardara (Considering it as a main location & center point).
- Randha Falls : 10 Km (30 Minutes)
- Nanhe Ghat Waterfall : 13.5 Km (40 Minutes)
- Ghatghar Camping Lake : 21 Km (45 Minutes)
- Reverse Waterfalls : 23 Km (50 Minutes)
- Purushwadi Village (Fireflies Festival) : 35 Km (1 Hour 20 Minutes)
- Amruteshwar Temple : 54 Km (Almost 2 hours)
A Beautiful Video Before We Get Started
Wilson Dam Falls
Build in 1910, The main source of water that flows down to Pravara rivers of which all major waterfalls listed below gets its water. Wilson dam has 2 attractive falls called ‘Wilson Falls’ & ‘Umbrella falls’. There are 2 huge sluice (Dam Opening Gates) which releases water during monsoon upon getting overflow. Usually in Mid July the excess water of Wilson dam is released, Depending on the rainfall.
A 70 feet long fall ready to gets started attracting people to this monsoon destination. This is called ‘Wilson Dam Waterfall’. Adjacent to this is ‘Umbrella Waterfalls’, Below are details.
It’s a small yet scenic waterfall, Umbrella falls gets the name from the beautiful large rock hill adjacent to dam. This hillock get surfaced with the Dam water which is said to be released every afternoon. This picturesque fall creates a beautiful view and attracts many onlookers for some quick selfies, group pictures, videos and more. People are not allowed to get in for a dip, But can visit the surrounding area.
The main attraction & waterfall of Bhandardara, Randha Falls is located at Ranad Village, 10 Km from Wilson Dam which takes about 30 minutes. It gets all it water from the Pravara river which gets flowing as soon the Dam get overflowed. It is said to be among top 3 largest waterfalls in India as the river bed surface is about 130 meters wide as seen from the view points.
Randha waterfall is One of the very picturesque location that attracts thousands of tourist every monsoon. The beautification of Randha waterfalls is a major plus to not miss this place. It has multiple sightseeing viewpoints and walkway area to stand and enjoy the free flowing falls. From one of the viewpoints here, one can see a small stream coming from the forest area aside. It creates a mini fall and finally gets along the Randha’s falls water. This forest Stream & Pravara rivers are 2 main sources of this monsoon attraction place.
The recommended / best time to visit this falls is around second week of August. This is because, if the rainfalls gets delayed, the Dam water will not get overflow and so will not the Pravara river which creates this beautiful falls.
A beautiful Hindu temple right inside the premise, along the view point area of this waterfall. Name of this temple is ‘Ghorpada Devi Temple’.
Watch this beautiful video vlog of Randha falls
Necklace & Nanhe Ghat Waterfalls
About 13.5 Km from Wilson Dam, It takes 40 Minutes to reach both of these waterfalls. While Necklace falls is a multi-level small size waterfalls which is known for its great mountain view, Nanhe Ghat falls is for those who actually wants to get inside the flowing waterfall and enjoy getting wet. This one is a safe fall to get inside for a family or group. It a a long & beautiful fall with a view point bridge right in front to get some good pictures. Both these falls are located in Koltembe village of Bhandardara.
About 50 minutes drive from Wilson fall comes Reverse waterfall. It is at a higher peak mountain location at Samrad Village. Most of the time this fall is covered with fog and takes some amount of trek to reach the location. Not recommended during heavy rainfall.
Speciality of this waterfall is the water coming up reverse due to the air pressure of the valley. The falling water actually is thrown back in upward direction which creates this beautiful reverse view.
There is nothing more to this attraction and is less preferred if you have less and more locations to cover in a day picnic mood. It is less recommended for family group with elderly.
See Also : 17 Waterfalls near Mumbai for Monsoon 2020.
Lakeside Overnight Camping
Second major attraction of Bhandardara in Monsoon that brings in many tourists and picnic groups to its famous beautiful Arthur lake is the lakeside overnight camping & stay option which is very famous and is of the best location experience within Maharashtra.
2 famous camping lakes are Arthur lake which has this Wilson Dam at one of the sides which is the main source to pravara river creating beautiful falls, Other lake which is comparatively smaller is also a preferred an ideal camping choice for trekkers and family picnic crowd is at Ghatghar, at some 21 Km from Dam area.
Arthur lake is the most preferred camping location due to may reasons, First and foremost the lake is huge, very beautiful and scenic. The backdrop locations are huge mountains. Many trekking and camping companies offering competitive deals for overnight lakeside camp stay.
Average price per person ranges from 1000 to 1500 in which they provide Breakfast, Dinner, Tea & Snacks etc. A camping tent is also provided (2 person tent). Washroom & Toilet facilities are available too, Still highly recommended to confirm the wash room locations from your selected camping area.
Gazing stars at night, Bonfire & Campfire experience and your choice of Veg & Non-Veg Barbeque will be arranged by them (Included in Package). Always recommended to pre-book and confirm all the facilities and services as from most happy visitors of Bhandardara lakeside overnight camping, few also had complain about the services like same food been served both the time, Not in major but from a particular Camps arranging company.
Major are very happy customers who really appreciate these companies services and their overnight stay experience at lake Arthur. Most of them has positive reviews and recommends to visit at least once with family, friends or in couple as the place is safe and camping experience is overwhelming. Arthur Lake is serene, chilled at nights and very beautiful in early hours of sunrise.
Since Bhandardara is near Mumbai and not much camping location around, Many bikers make it a fun day ride and stay beside Arthur or Ghatghar lake as per their choice and experience a perfect trek later.
Reaching Overnight Picnic Camping Location
Some fast facts about overnight camping.
- Nearest Railway Stations : Kasara & Igatpuri. Many camping organizer companies arrange Pickup & Drop from Kasara railway station.
- Overnight Camping Lakes : Arthur & Ghatghar.
- Ideal for : Overnight Picnic near Mumbai with Family, Friends or in Couple.
- Vehicles : Allowed till camp area. One time entry fees Rs.50.
- Average Cost Per Person : Anything between Rs.1000 to 1500.
- Basic Services & Facilities Provided : A tent (2 person capacity), Tea, Snacks & Dinner, Bonfire & Barbecue at Night, Finally a exit boat ride.
- Ideal Season for Camping : Monsoon.
- Car & Bike Parking : Available near Camps.
- Mobile Networks : Not available. (Help with comments if you know about any working network here).
- Petrol Pumps, Medical Shops : Not available around.
- Local Munching near Lake : Bhutta & Sweet Corn, Maggi, Bhajji Pakodas, Chai, Vadapav, Batata Poha.
Two nearest railway stations are Kasara & Igatpuri (Central Railway Route), If you are planning to reach Bhandardara by train. Many camp organizing companies have pick up and drop facilities from Kasara Railway Station which takes about 2 hours to camping lake area.
If you are with family in your own vehicles, A note about the road conditions inside which are average and rough ride to be experienced. But, worth a travel once you reach the camping site or other sight seeing waterfalls locations. While cars are best for a group of people, Young bikers love the ride around Bhandardara hillocks. Ample car parking is available near camping site.
Important NOTE : Mobile networks are very week or can say unavailable around the lake premise. If you have visited Arthur lake and know which is the best available mobile network in this location, Kindly update us in the below comment box. Also an important note about fuel stations (Petrol Pumps), It is better to fill up your tanks and reach the destination & carry your first aid medical kits too, As medical stores are not available around. Alcohol is prohibited at lakeside camping area, Kindly confirm with your camping organizers about same and if mild beer etc. is allowed.
Note for Camping Companies at Bhandardara : If you are one of the companies arranging overnight lakeside camps for monsoon & winter visitors and want to get listed here with your details & contact, Kindly contact us.
Treks and Other Attractions
Till now we covered major attractions of Bhandardara, The waterfalls & the overnight camping for picnic groups. But Bhandardara is also famous for few more things and is a a beautiful monsoon trekking location.
Some of the best treks are right here at Bhandardara, People do visit here for camping and later go ahead for trekking at best & famous mountain treks like Konkankada, Sandhan Valley, Kalsubai, Ratangad Fort Trek and Pabargad Trek.
Mount Kalsubai is at one of the highest peak of Maharashtra, at the height of 1646 meters. Marathas considered this mountain to be one of the best location to keep watch on enemies. Experienced trekkers love this peak & enjoys the forest adventure day picnic at Bhandardara. Konkan kada is a unique formation on Sahyadri mountains, It is a semicircular cliff of about 2000 feet with straight deep drop below.
Old Amruteshwar Temple
About another 2 hours from Bhandardara is this temple of Lord Shiva called ‘Amruteshwar Mandir’ located at Ratanwadi. One of the very old temples that is about 1000 years old (9th century) built by Shilahara dynasty. It is one of the 12 important Jyotirlinga temples of Lord Shiva in India. Another one is Trimbakeshwar temple at Nasik.
If your trek or picnic plan routes from this location, You must halt hear for few minutes Darshan and Prayers or to just see this Historic & old beautiful place.
Agasti Mandir (also known as ‘Agastya Rishi Ashram’) is located at Mehenduri road, Shahunagar, Akole, Bhandardara, Maharashtra 422601 along side of pravara river. Mythological story about this place is related to Ramayana. It is said that when Lord Rama visited here with brother Laxman and wife Sita, He was blessed by Agasti Rishi with a powerful arrow which was used to kill Ravana.
If around, It is also a worth visit, Otherwise nothing as sort of picnic attraction here.
Purushwadi Fireflies Festival
About 32 kilometres from Bhandardara is this tribal village called ‘Purushwadi’ in Akola taluka. It is the only place to enjoy the mesmerizing view of Fireflies glowing in groups of thousands. A special Fireflies festival is organized in early weeks of June to enjoy this unique moments of glowing flies around nature and greenery.
It is said that more than thousands of species of such glowing Fireflies comes out during early 2 weeks of june. I do not have much details about same and just know that the fireflies festival organizers can arrange for stay in canvas & camping tents, both lakeside and campside locations and one can enjoy the festival. One of the online reference detailed about the costing few years back. Approximate cost per tent was about Rs.6000 during weekends & during weekdays (between Sunday & Friday) some discounts are given.
These tents stay are located at Purushwadi and alternate accomodation option of homestay are also available at Wanjulshet location with per head charges of approximate Rs.2000 to Rs.2500. Dorms options also available here.
Kindly contact the organizers for updated stay, other charges and festival details for year 2020.
Pictures & Videos by : Ride With Pride Marathi Vlog, Gautam Khetwal.