Saturday, July 20, 2024

Tourism      Hill Stations      Maharashtra     Ahmednagar    


Place : Ahmednagar, Maharashtra
Altitude : 750 meters above sea level
Temperature : Summers 22°- 40°C; Winters 12°-33°C
Significance : Boasts Bhandardara dam, One of the oldest dams in Asia.
Best Season : November to January
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Nestled among the Sahyadri Hills is the quaint hill town of Bhandardara. Standing at an altitude of 750 meters above sea level it is situated in Ahmednagar District, Maharashtra. An ideal spot for spending some wonderful time and get closer to the nature, Bhandardara is a perfect get-away for nature-lovers as well as adventurers. Quieter and still untouched by commercialisation it offers some of nature's most spectacular views like sky -high mountains, roaring waterfalls and lush greenery. Of the few places to visit are the scenic Wilson Dam, Arthur Lake, Radha Falls, a historical Ratangadh Fort, an ancient temple - Amritheshwar Temple and a peaceful Agasti Rishi Ashram.

Apart from indulging in blissful idleness, it also offers other activities like trekking, hiking, walks by the mountain ridges etc. From Bhandargara one can trek to the famous Ratangad and Harishcandragad Forts. A little further are the famous Ajobor or grandfather peak and Ghanchakkar.

Places of Interest at Bhandardara

Wilson Dam
Also known as the Bhandardara dam, it is one of the oldest dams in Asia constructed by the British to provide irrigation to the Ahmednagar region. Standing at a height of 150m, it was built in 1910 on Pravara River and resulted in the creation of the Arthur Lake. At the base of Wilson Dam, there is swimming pool and a beautiful garden gifted with dense greenery, streams and trees. The garden is home to many species of birds and the nesting place of hundreds of bats. However the major attraction of this place is the Umbrella falls which forms during the monsoon season when the level of the lake rises and the dam is full, water emerges out from it and forming the the picturesque Umbrella Falls. This provides an awe-inspiring sight to visitors. Some ferries ply on the lake and no photography is allowed within the park or near the dam.

Amruteshwar Temple
Built in 11th century AD, it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Constructed in the distinct Hemadpanti style, the temple is surrounded by huge mountains. From here a further excursion leads to the Ratangad Fort. One can access this temple by road or a 8 km boat ride on Lake Arthur Hill.

Randha Waterfalls
Located about 11 kms downstream from Wilson Dam. The Pravara River falls 45 m high down into a gorge, creating a breathtaking sight. On the drops behind there are nearly a dozen huge beehives. This is the third largest falls in India and it's water is used for generation of hydro-power. There is a temple on the banks of the river.

Sage Agasthya Ashram
It is situated on the banks of Pravara River. Mentionted in the epic Ramayana as the home of Agasti Rishi, it is believed that Lord Ram, Lakshman and Sita visited Sage Agasthya here. Near to this, the cave used by Ram and Lakshman when they stayed in Panchwati.

Ratangad Fort
It is 400-year old fort, located near harishchandragad and kalsubai peak. 20 kms from the Wilson Dam, it was captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji, and was one of his favourite forts. Cosidered as a trekker’s paradise, the view from this fort is simply spectacular and breathtaking. There are two caves at the top of the fort and these can be used for relaxing. One can go round the fort to look at the Kalsubai Peak.

From Bhandardara one can see the highest peak of the sahyadri range, Kalsubai Peak. At 5,400 ft it is also the highest peak in Maharashtra and it served as a watchtower in Maratha times. Kalsubai is ideal for trekking and Bari Villages is the starting point. One can hire a guide from the village to make the trek easier. On top of the Kalsubai there is a temple which has a well. It is said that the water from the well of the temple never goes down below 3 feet.