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2 nights 3 days itinerary: Bhandardara

2 nights 3 days itinerary: Bhandardara
ITINERARY

By Prachi Pansare

14 Aug, 2023

Bhandardara, a hidden gem in the heart of the Western Ghats, is a captivating destination that weaves together history, culture, food, and natural beauty. With a rich heritage dating back centuries, Bhandardara holds tales of ancient civilizations and sacred rituals. Its picturesque landscapes, adorned with lush hills, cascading waterfalls, and serene lakes, offer a serene escape from the chaos of city life. Venture into the charming village streets, where local artisans showcase their craftsmanship in vibrant marketplaces. Delight your taste buds with a wide array of regional delicacies, from piping hot vada pav to mouthwatering poha. Explore the ancient temples and caves that bear witness to the region's spiritual significance.

But the most enchanting experience here is the Firefly Festival, where the night sky is illuminated by thousands of twinkling fireflies, creating a magical ambiance that fills the air with awe and wonder. This unique spectacle is a testament to the region's biodiversity and serves as a gentle reminder of the importance of preserving nature's wonders.

Day 1

7:00 AM- Wake up to the serene ambiance of The Hosteller Bhandardara, nestled amidst the Sahyadri mountain ranges, this tranquil retreat offers a peaceful haven to start your day. The cozy and comfortable accommodations ensure a restful night's sleep, leaving you refreshed and rejuvenated for the experiences that await. Step outside your room and breathe in the crisp mountain air, as you prepare for a memorable day in Bhandardara.

Taking in the morning mist at The Hosteller Bhandardara

Taking in the morning mist at The Hosteller Bhandardara

8:00 AM- Treat yourself to a delightful breakfast spread at Yolo Cafe 2.0 that will energize you for the day ahead. This charming café offers a diverse menu with various breakfast options to cater to different palates. Indulge in their mouth-watering sandwiches filled with fresh veggies and flavorsome spreads, or savor their fluffy and perfectly cooked omelets. Pair your breakfast with a cup of hot tea or coffee, and you're all set for a satisfying morning meal. The approximate cost for a breakfast meal ranges from Rs. 150 to Rs. 250 per person, depending on your order and any additional items you choose.

Savour a Hearty breakfast at the Yolo Cafe 2.0

Savour a Hearty breakfast at the Yolo Cafe 2.0 (Picture - Grubhub)

9:00 AM- Embark on an exhilarating adventure as you make your way to the Umbrella Falls Trek, a scenic trail that offers breathtaking views and a memorable hiking experience. The starting point of the trek is Rajur village and the trail will lead you to the magnificent waterfall, where you can marvel at the cascading water creating a mesmerizing spectacle. The trail also provides opportunities for birdwatching, as the region is home to various species of birds. The approximate cost for the Umbrella Falls trek is around INR 500 to INR 1000 per person for independent trekking and INR 1000 to INR 2000 per person for a guided tour.

The scenic view at the Umbrella falls - ideal for a trek

The scenic view at the Umbrella falls - ideal for a trek (Picture - Pixabay)

2:00 PM- Sahyadri Restaurant offers a delightful lunch amidst the scenic beauty of nature. This cozy place is known for its delicious food and warm ambiance. Visitors can relish a variety of mouthwatering dishes, including local Maharashtrian delicacies, North Indian cuisine, and popular snacks. From piping hot masala chai to flavorful biryanis and refreshing beverages, the cafe has something to satisfy every palate. As for the cost, the menu offers a range of affordable options, with prices varying depending on the selected dishes.

Authentic Maharashtrian cuisine at Sahyadri restaurant

Authentic Maharashtrian cuisine at Sahyadri restaurant (Picture - Shutterstock)

4:00 PM- Next, head to the majestic Ratangad Fort, a historical gem that offers a perfect blend of history, architecture, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination for explorers and history buffs. Upon reaching Ratangad Fort, visitors can embark on a fascinating journey back in time. The fort boasts impressive architectural features, including robust walls, intricate carvings, and majestic gateways. Exploring the fort's various structures and ruins is like unraveling the secrets of the past, as you immerse yourself in its rich historical significance. One of the highlights of visiting Ratangad Fort is the opportunity to witness the enchanting sunset from its elevated vantage points.

The heavenly sight of clouds forming around Ratangad Fort

The heavenly sight of clouds forming around Ratangad Fort (Picture - Trekheivers)

6:00 PM- Head to the Firefly Festival in Bhandardara and be prepared to be amazed by a spectacle like no other. This festival is a celebration of nature's wonder and the magical dance of fireflies. As you make your way to the festival grounds, you'll enter a world of twinkling lights and mesmerizing beauty. Once you arrive, you'll have the opportunity to witness the enchanting dance of thousands of fireflies. These tiny creatures light up the night, creating a magical ambiance that is sure to leave you in awe. You can stroll through the lush meadows, surrounded by the twinkling lights of the fireflies, or join guided tours that offer insights into the behavior and habitat of these fascinating insects. The best time to catch this ethereal sigh is starting from May to June.

Bhandardara's night sky illuminated by fireflies

Bhandardara's night sky illuminated by fireflies (Picture - Veena World)

10:00 PM- The festival offers a range of special stalls that cater to your culinary cravings. From local delicacies to regional favorites, there's something to please every palate. You can explore the food stalls and discover a variety of mouthwatering dishes, including traditional Maharashtrian cuisine, and street food delights such as piping hot vada pav, flavorful chaat, or savory kebabs, the festival's food stalls have you covered. Prices for the food stalls typically range from Rs. 100 to Rs. 300 per dish, allowing you to enjoy a satisfying meal without breaking the bank.

Vadapav with red chutney and fried chilli - the finest monsoon snack

Vadapav with red chutney and fried chilli - the finest monsoon snack (Picture - GQ India)

11:00 PM- It's time to head back to the hostel and unwind with friends, creating unforgettable memories together. As you make your way back, the excitement of the day lingers in the air, and you can't help but share stories and laughter with your companions. Gather with your friends in the common area or around a bonfire, reliving the highlights of the day and planning for the upcoming activities. Share your experiences, exchange travel tips, and perhaps engage in a friendly game or two. The hostel fosters a sense of camaraderie, allowing you to form lasting bonds with fellow travellers.

Travellers having a good time on the trampoline at The Hosteller Bhandardara at night

Travellers had a good time on the trampoline at The Hosteller Bhandardara at night

Day 2

8:00 AM- Wake up at the Hosteller Bhandardara. The promise of a beautiful sunny day beckons, filling the air with a sense of anticipation and adventure. The cozy comfort of your room at the hostel greets you, offering a peaceful haven to start your day. Stepping out onto the terrace or balcony, you are greeted by the breathtaking sight of the sun-kissed landscape. 

Everyone enjoying the sunrise near The Hosteller Bhandardara on Arthur Lake

Everyone enjoying the sunrise near The Hosteller Bhandardara on Arthur Lake

9:00 AM- Start your morning with a hearty breakfast at the Hosteller Bhandardara, prepared with care and using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. At the breakfast buffet, you can find a tempting spread of both continental and Indian dishes. Savor the aroma of freshly baked bread and indulge in fluffy omelets cooked to perfection. For those seeking a traditional Indian breakfast, there are piping hot parathas, idlis, dosas, and a variety of chutneys and accompaniments to complement your meal. Freshly squeezed juices, aromatic teas, and aromatic coffees are also available to complete your breakfast experience. 

Fresh, flavorful, and tasty Aloo Paratha - ideal breakfast spread

Fresh, flavorful, and tasty Aloo Paratha - ideal breakfast spread (Picture - CurlyTales)

10:00 AM- Make your way to Wilson Dam and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of this majestic structure, you'll be greeted by breathtaking views of the vast reservoir and the towering hills that surround it. Visitors can take leisurely walks along the dam, enjoying the cool breeze and the tranquil atmosphere. Capture stunning photographs of the picturesque landscape, with the dam's cascading water creating a mesmerizing backdrop.  

Awe-inspiring view of Wilson Damn during the monsoon season at Bhandardara

Awe-inspiring view of Wilson Damn during the monsoon season at Bhandardara (Picture - IndiaMART)

12:00 PM- Head to Agastya Rishi Ashram, a serene and spiritual retreat. This ashram offers a tranquil ambiance, surrounded by lush greenery and the calming presence of the Sahyadri mountain ranges. Visitors can immerse themselves in the peaceful atmosphere, engage in meditation and yoga sessions, and seek spiritual guidance from the resident gurus. The ashram also provides accommodation facilities for those seeking a longer stay to rejuvenate their mind, body, and soul. The cost of visiting Agastya Rishi Ashram may vary depending on the activities and services availed. It is advisable to check the ashram's website or contact them directly for the most accurate and up-to-date information on costs and offerings. This place is a must for the ones trying to get in touch with their spiritual self.  

Devotees and adventurers visiting the Agastya Rishi Ashram alike, during monsoon

Devotees and adventurers visiting the Agastya Rishi Ashram alike, during monsoon (Picture - Alamy)

2:00 PM- Grab lunch at MTDC Lakeview Restaurant. This restaurant offers a diverse menu of delicious dishes, catering to various tastes and preferences. Visitors can indulge in a range of culinary delights, including regional Maharashtrian cuisine, Indian dishes, and popular continental fare. For those seeking a taste of the local flavors, the MTDC Restaurant serves traditional Maharashtrian thalis, which are wholesome meals consisting of rice, lentils, vegetables, chapatis, and accompaniments like pickles and papad. The restaurant also offers a variety of biryanis, curries, snacks, and desserts.  

MTDC Lakeview Restaurant's irresistible and delectable Biryani

MTDC Lakeview Restaurant's irresistible and delectable Biryani (Picture - The Spruce Eats)

4:00 PM- Explore Dhamma Giri Meditation Centre- a renowned meditation center that offers a serene and tranquil environment where individuals can learn and practice Vipassana meditation. During your visit, you can immerse yourself in the teachings and practices of Vipassana meditation. The center offers meditation halls where you can meditate and find inner calmness. The serene surroundings and the peaceful atmosphere create an ideal setting for self-reflection and introspection. Apart from meditation, the center also offers discourses, where you can listen to the teachings of Vipassana and gain a deeper understanding of the practice. 

The Dhamma Giri Meditation Centre stands towering against the hills

The Dhamma Giri Meditation Centre stands towering against the hills (Picture - Osaapa)

6:00 PM- The sunset at Arthur Lake is a magical experience, make your way to the picturesque shores of Arthur Lake, where you can witness the breathtaking beauty of the setting sun. Find a comfortable spot along the lake, whether it's on the grassy banks or on a lakeside bench, and prepare to be captivated by the stunning display of colors in the sky. You can also choose to take a peaceful boat ride on the lake, gliding through the calm waters as the sun casts its warm glow.  

Panoramic views of Arthur lake during a rainy evening

Panoramic views of Arthur lake during a rainy evening (Picture - Reddit)

7:00 PM- Visit Bhandardara Weekly Market, a bustling hub of local vendors and shops offering a variety of unique items for visitors to explore. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as you browse through a wide range of products. From traditional handicrafts and artifacts to locally produced spices and homemade jams, the market offers a delightful shopping experience. You'll find intricately designed handcrafted items, colorful textiles, and local artwork that showcase the rich cultural heritage of the region.  

Handcrafted and beautifully sewn clothing at Bhandardara Weekly Market on a rainy evening

Handcrafted and beautifully sewn clothing at Bhandardara Weekly Market on a rainy evening (Picture - newsd.in)

8:00 PM- When in Bhandardara, don't miss the opportunity to grab dinner at the vibrant Bhandardara Market. This bustling marketplace offers a wide array of culinary delights to satisfy your taste buds. Indulge in local delicacies such as piping hot vada pav, crispy bhajis, and flavorful pav bhaji. For those craving a heartier meal, there are numerous stalls serving mouthwatering local thali meals, with a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options to choose from. Seafood lovers can savor fresh catches prepared in traditional coastal flavors. As for dessert, you'll find an assortment of sweet treats like jalebi, gulab jamun, and traditional Maharashtrian sweets.  

Delicious pav bhaji topped with freshness and generously slathered with butter!

Delicious pav bhaji topped with freshness and generously slathered with butter! (Picture - Madhura's Recipe)

10:00 PM- Return to the comfort of your accommodation at Bhandardara and create lasting memories as you engage in fun-filled games and activities. Whether it's a friendly game of cards, board games, or outdoor activities like badminton or frisbee, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Laugh, compete, and bond with your friends as you relish the joy of spending quality time together. The hotel's cozy and inviting ambiance provides the perfect backdrop for an evening of entertainment and camaraderie. So, gather around, share stories of the day's adventures, and let the spirit of friendship and merriment fill the air.  

Games, music, laughter while building bonds over a bonfire at The Hosteller Bhandardara

Games, music, laughter while building bonds over a bonfire at The Hosteller Bhandardara

DAY 3

8:00 AM- As you wake up on the last day of your stay at the hotel in Bhandardara, it's time to prepare for departure. Start your day by packing your belongings and organizing your belongings. Take a moment to reflect on the incredible experiences and cherished memories made during your time here. Bid adieu to your friends, expressing gratitude for the wonderful moments shared together. 

Saying a goodbye to The Hosteller Bhandardara, and onto the next adventure

Saying a goodbye to The Hosteller Bhandardara, and onto the next adventure

9:00 AM- At The Bhushan Cafe, you can savor a delightful breakfast experience with a wide array of delicious options to choose from. Indulge in their mouthwatering breakfast menu that caters to all tastes and preferences. Start your day with their fluffy pancakes, a classic breakfast sandwich filled with eggs, cheese, and paranthas. Pair your breakfast with a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee or a refreshing fruit juice. Prices at The Bhushan Cafe are reasonable, with breakfast options ranging from Rs. 150 to Rs. 350, ensuring a satisfying and affordable start to your day. 

A hot cup of coffee from The Bhushan Cafe

A hot cup of coffee from The Bhushan Cafe (Picture - Rush University Medical Centre)

10:00 am- Embark on an exhilarating adventure with the Kalsubai Peak Trek, known as the highest peak in Maharashtra. The trek begins at the base village of Bari, which is the starting point for this thrilling journey. As you ascend toward the summit, you'll be surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, including lush green landscapes, picturesque valleys, and panoramic views of the Sahyadri mountain range. The trail is adorned with stunning flora and fauna, making the trek a visual treat for nature enthusiasts. The guided treks provide expert guidance, safety measures, and a well-structured itinerary. On average, the guided trek charges range from Rs. 800 to Rs. 1500 per person, which usually includes the guide's fee, trekking permits (if required), and basic amenities during the trek. The Trek’s difficulty level is easy to medium. 

Adventurers conquering the lush green Kalsubai peak

Adventurers conquering the lush green Kalsubai peak (Picture - Indiahikes)

3:00 PM- Head to the Kalsubai Tea Centre And Dharmaveer Lunch Home, for a delightful lunch experience amidst the serene beauty of the Kalsubai Peak region. The café offers a diverse menu that caters to various tastes and preferences. Start your meal with their signature appetizers, such as crispy onion rings or cheesy garlic bread. For the main course, you can choose from paranthas, rajma chawal, kadi chawal, and a lot more. Complete your lunch with a refreshing beverage like fruit juice or a cup of tea. As for the cost, the prices at Kalsubai Tea Centre And Dharmaveer Lunch Home are reasonable, with lunch options ranging from Rs. 200 to Rs. 500 per person, depending on your choice of dishes.  

Crispy and flavorful onion rings from Dharmaveer Lunch Home

Crispy and flavorful onion rings from Dharmaveer Lunch Home (Picture - Natasha's Kitchen)

5:00 PM- Make your way to the enchanting Amruteshwar Temple, a divine destination nestled amidst the serene surroundings of Bhandardara. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and features intricate carvings and sculptures that reflect the rich heritage of the region. In addition to its religious significance, Amruteshwar Temple also offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Situated amidst lush greenery, the temple provides a serene and peaceful atmosphere where you can find solace and connect with your inner self.  

 Enchanting Amruteshwar Temple at Bhandardara

Enchanting Amruteshwar Temple at Bhandardara (Picture - Alamy)

6:00 PM- Explore Randha Falls, a magnificent natural wonder nestled in the scenic surroundings of Bhandardara. As you approach the falls, you'll be captivated by the thunderous sound of water cascading down the rocky cliffs. Take a leisurely stroll along the designated pathways and feel the refreshing mist on your face. Marvel at the breathtaking views and immerse yourself in the serenity of nature. Capture memorable photographs against the backdrop of the majestic falls or simply sit by the banks of the river and soak in the tranquil ambiance. Entry to Randha Falls is free of cost.  

Scenic and full of life - Randha Falls

Scenic and full of life - Randha Falls (Picture - Twitter)

8:30 PM- Indulge in a memorable dining experience at PanchSheel, where you can savor a diverse range of delicious dishes while enjoying the tranquil ambiance by the lake. Delight your taste buds with the aromatic flavors of Indian curries, savor the tangy and spicy notes of Chinese stir-fries, or indulge in the comforting taste of Continental cuisine. Vegetarian options are available for those seeking plant-based culinary delights. Pair your meal with a refreshing beverage from their extensive drink menu to enhance your dining experience. On average, a satisfying dinner for one person may range from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1000.  

Ideal dinner - Chinese stir-fry at Panchsheel

Ideal dinner - Chinese stir-fry at Panchsheel (Picture - My Food Story)

11:00 PM- As your memorable time in Bhandardara comes to an end, it's time to bid farewell to this enchanting destination. Reflecting on the captivating experiences, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality, you feel a sense of gratitude and fulfillment. Take home the essence of Bhandardara with you, allowing it to inspire and rejuvenate you whenever you need it.

Beautiful night scene in Bhandardara

Beautiful night scene in Bhandardara

Whether you explore the historical landmarks, savor the diverse cuisine, immerse in cultural experiences, or witness the magical Firefly Festival, Bhandardara promises an unforgettable journey that leaves an indelible mark on your soul. It is a place where history meets nature, where flavors tantalize the taste buds, and where enchanting events create memories that stay with you long after you bid farewell.

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