Evergreen Maharashtra is known for its scenic views of endless green carpets of grass-topped with monsoons clouds. The forest areas in Western Ghat are equally extreme and exciting as the forts. The forests shift from dry and scanty to tropical dense within a matter of months. Andharban trek is a really long walk in nature for nature lovers and trekkers.
As the name suggests, Andharban is a dark forest trek that takes you to a whole another dark and beautiful dimension. The trees and bushes in the forests grow thick and dense blocking sunlight to enter or touch the ground. This one-of-a-kind jungle trek is majority a flat land trek with few rocky patches. However, despite being a fatland trek, it is a lengthy one. The average distance covered is 13 km hence carry sufficient food and water for your trek. The Andharban is located near Tamhini Ghat and Tata Hydro Power plant.
The trail elevates to 2160 m above sea level and gradually descends to the valley near Bhira Dam. Enroute, you will come across three waterfalls and several streams and on the summit, you will witness ecstatic views of devkund waterfalls, the cloud covered green valley and Tamini Ghat. Make sure you hire a local guide or travel with a group as the area is wide and the trail is long. The favorable season to do this trek is monsoon when the clouds ascend towards the ground and the landscape is covered with fresh grass.
Right at the starting point of Andharban trek, you will come across Kundalika Valley point. Make a quick halt at this picture perfect spot and take pictures. Not so far from this point, there is a lake near the Andharban Trek starting point, where you can see the hills emerging from the clouds. The base village is Pimpri which is close to Pune and Lavasa. There are ample camping sites, homestays and restaurants in and around Pimpri. You can also choose to camp post-trek near the scenic Andharban if you have planned an extended stay.
To get to Andharban, one can plan a road trip from Pune which is just 80 kms away. While trekkers traveling from Mumbai can either travel via road which is 134 kms distance or opt to travel via railways. There is a good frequency of trains departing from Mumbai to Pimpri having a travel time of approximately 3 hours.
There are a handful of other tourist attractions around Andharban like Devkund Waterfalls, Tamhini Ghat, Kundalika Valley Fort Kailasgad, Tamhini Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhira Dam etc. Although it is a plain trek, beginners will find the trail challenging while ascending from the mountain. A unique characteristic of Andharban Trek is that it is a one way, one direction trek. You enter the forest area and exit via Bhira Dam.
Andharban trek is also recognized to be a type of ‘agro-tourism’. Simply put, agro-tourism is a secondary source of income for the farmers. The resorts, campsites, restaurants, and local guides indirectly affect the region’s economy and development. The tourism part plays a major role in attracting trekkers traffic to the area and ultimately utilizing local services. You are subsequently helping our fellow farmers while you get to enjoy the awesome views! It’s a win-win when you visit Andharban.
The campsites here provide tents, barbecue, bonfire, food to their guests. Majority of them provide the same excluding activities. This is the perfect place to sit back and relax in the open after spending a whole day hiking. The campsites are family friendly. If you are traveling with children to Andharban, it is recommended you travel halfway due to its lengthy course. There are ample campsites near the lake where kids can swim and play.
All in all, Andharban is a perfect weekend escape for Punekars and Mumbaikars. The place is away from all the civilization, where only you and nature connect. The sound of the dark forest is enchanting which you will want to listen to after a long week of traffic, construction and ‘office video call ringtone’. The prime location of Andharban makes it even more appealing to trekkers. This is nothing but a long walk which eases your mental state with its cool breeze and fresh green landscapes. Visit Andharban and leave behind your worries in the dark abyss as you make your way back to the city.