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All you need to know about the famous firefly festival Bhandardara

All you need to know about the famous firefly festival Bhandardara

By Prachi Pansare

11 Jun, 2023

The Hosteller Bhandardara is a delightful stay option for your next trip to Bhandardara and the best part? You can spot fireflies in various spots at Hosteller Bhandardara property. Nestled amidst the serene surroundings of Bhandardara, this cozy retreat provides a comfortable and convenient base for festival attendees.

The Bhandardara Firefly Festival is a highly anticipated event held in the picturesque town of Bhandardara, Maharashtra. Taking place during the peak firefly season in May and June, the festival offers a unique opportunity to witness the natural phenomenon of fireflies in abundance. As the sun sets and darkness blankets the surroundings, the fireflies light up the landscape, creating a captivating spectacle of twinkling lights.


A night sky lit up by the mesmerising fireflies (Source - Veena World)

Firefly Festival: Experience the Mesmerizing Light Display

Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of fireflies at the Firefly Festival in Bhandardara. This unique event offers an opportunity to witness the mesmerizing beauty of these luminescent creatures up close. Join the guided firefly walks, expertly led by knowledgeable guides who will take you through the lush forest surroundings.

During these walks, you'll have the chance to explore the natural habitats of fireflies, where they create a magical display with their flickering lights. As you follow the trails, the air becomes filled with a sense of wonder and anticipation. The guides will share fascinating insights into the behavior and ecology of fireflies, enhancing your understanding of these captivating insects.

As darkness descends, the forest comes alive with the soft glow of fireflies illuminating the surroundings. The sight is truly mesmerizing and evokes a deep sense of awe and appreciation for the wonders of nature. Following the flickering lights, you'll be immersed in a unique experience where the boundary between reality and enchantment blurs.

One of the remarkable aspects of the FireFly Festival is how it transforms the surroundings into a surreal ambiance in the dark. The illuminated fireflies create an ethereal atmosphere, casting a soft glow on the trees, bushes, and grass. The entire environment takes on a dreamlike quality as the twinkling lights fill the night sky. It's a serene and peaceful experience, where time seems to stand still and the worries of the world fade away. The symphony of nature's sounds, coupled with the gentle flickering of the fireflies, creates a serene and enchanting atmosphere that captivates the senses.

Cultural Performances and Festivities

During the festival, visitors can engage in the vibrant local culture through traditional folk dances and captivating music performances. Colorful costumes, rhythmic beats, and graceful movements transport you to the heart of Maharashtra's cultural heritage, showcasing the region's artistic traditions.

The festival also features live performances and engaging storytelling sessions, where local storytellers captivate audiences with their tales. The local storytellers share fascinating tales and legends passed down through generations, weaving a tapestry of history, folklore, and mythology. These storytelling sessions provide a deeper insight into the cultural heritage of the region and allow visitors to connect with the traditions and beliefs that shape the local community.


A group of travellers enjoying the trampoline at The Hosteller Bhandardara

Bonfires are a common sight during the festival, creating a warm and inviting ambiance. As the night unfolds, people gather around the bonfires, sharing stories, laughter, and camaraderie. It's a time to forge new friendships, connect with fellow nature enthusiasts, and foster a sense of community. The crackling sound of the fire, the flickering flames, and the shared moments of joy create an atmosphere of togetherness and belonging.

A Guide to Photographing Fireflies

Photographing fireflies at the Bhandardara Firefly Festival requires specific techniques to capture their mesmerizing light. Use a camera with manual settings, such as a DSLR, to have control over exposure and focus. Set a wide aperture (low f-number) to create a shallow depth of field and allow more light into the camera. Use a tripod or stable surface to avoid camera shaking during long exposures. Experiment with longer shutter speeds, typically around 10-30 seconds, to capture the trails of light created by the fireflies. Avoid using flash, as it can disturb the natural behavior of the fireflies and negatively impact the photos.


Setting up the camera to capture that picture perfect moment (Source - Alamy)

When photographing fireflies at the Bhandardara Firefly Festival, it's important to be patient and observe their behavior. Look for areas with a high concentration of fireflies and position yourself accordingly. Adjust your camera's ISO settings to achieve the desired brightness and reduce noise. Consider using a remote shutter release or timer function to minimize camera movement. Experiment with different compositions, such as capturing fireflies against a dark sky or incorporating natural elements like trees or water bodies. Take multiple shots and review the results to make adjustments and improve your firefly photography skills.

Do's and Don'ts for the FireFly Festival


  • Keep noise to a minimum: Fireflies are sensitive to light and sound. Maintain a calm and quiet atmosphere during the festival to avoid disturbing their natural behavior and mating rituals.
  • Use eco-friendly products: Use environmentally friendly and biodegradable products during the festival. Minimize the use of plastic and dispose of waste responsibly.
  • Practice responsible photography: When capturing fireflies' moments with your camera or smartphone, be considerate of others around you. Avoid blocking pathways or obstructing the view of fellow attendees.
  • Follow safety instructions: Pay attention to any safety instructions provided by the festival organizers or guides. This includes adhering to any time restrictions, staying within designated areas, and being mindful of potential hazards.
  • Stay hydrated and nourished: Carry an adequate supply of water and snacks to keep yourself hydrated and energized throughout the festival.
  • Wear appropriate clothing: Dress comfortably and wear suitable footwear for walking on uneven terrain. Consider bringing layers of insect-repellent clothing if necessary.


Fireflies lighting up the trees like a festival (Source - whats hot)


  • Don't use flashlights or camera flashes: Fireflies use their bioluminescence to communicate and find mates. Avoid using bright lights, including flashlights and camera flashes, as it can disrupt their natural behavior and disorient them.
  • Don't use insect repellents or pesticides: Fireflies are sensitive to chemicals, including insect repellents and pesticides. Refrain from using such products during the festival to avoid harming fireflies or other insects in the area.
  • Don't disturb the fireflies or their habitat: Avoid touching or disturbing fireflies, their eggs, or their habitat. Be mindful of your actions and ensure you do not cause any harm to these delicate creatures or their environment.
  • Don't stray from the designated areas: For your safety and the preservation of the fireflies' habitat, do not wander off into restricted or non-designated areas. Stick to the authorized paths and trails.
  • Don't capture fireflies: Fireflies are best enjoyed in their natural habitat. Do not attempt to catch or collect fireflies during the festival. Allow them to thrive undisturbed.

Quick Highlights:

  • Date: 20-May-2023, 27-May-2023, 03-June-2023, 10-June-2023, 17-June-2023, 25-June-2023.
  • Venue: The festival takes place in Bhandardara, a scenic hill station located in Maharashtra, India.
  • Witness the Spectacle: Visitors have the unique opportunity to witness the mesmerizing display of thousands of fireflies lighting up the night sky.
  • Guided Firefly Walks: Expert guides lead visitors on enchanting walks through the forests, allowing them to witness the fireflies in their natural habitat.
  • Cultural Performances: Enjoy traditional folk dances and music performances that showcase the local culture and add to the festive atmosphere.
  • Educational Talks: Informative sessions are conducted, providing insights into the biology and behavior of fireflies, and enhancing visitors' understanding of this fascinating phenomenon.
  • Nightly Activities: Engage in bonfires, storytelling sessions, and stargazing activities that create a memorable and immersive experience.
  • Responsible Tourism: The festival promotes responsible tourism practices to ensure the conservation and protection of fireflies and their natural habitat.
  • Entry Fees: The festival has an entry fee of min Rs. 799
  • Pre-Booking: Due to its popularity, it is advisable to pre-book tickets and accommodations to secure your spot and make the most of your experience.


Bunch of friends bringing out their inner child on the trampoline

Things to Carry

  • Clothing: Pack lightweight and breathable clothing suitable for the prevailing weather conditions. Include comfortable walking shoes or trekking shoes for exploring the outdoors.
  • Weather Essentials: Carry a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun's rays. During the monsoon season, pack a raincoat or umbrella and waterproof footwear.
  • Personal Items: Don't forget to carry your essentials such as toiletries, medications, and any necessary documentation.
  • Camping Gear: If you plan to camp, bring camping essentials like a tent, sleeping bag, camping stove, and cooking utensils. It's also advisable to carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.
  • Water and Snacks: Carry an adequate supply of water to stay hydrated during your outdoor activities. Additionally, pack some energy-boosting snacks like granola bars or trail mix.
  • Insect Repellent: Due to the natural surroundings, it's recommended to bring insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquitoes and other insects.
  • Binoculars and Camera: Bhandardara offers scenic views and abundant wildlife. Consider carrying binoculars and a camera to capture the beauty of the surroundings.
  • Cash: While there are ATMs available in Bhandardara, it's always a good idea to carry some cash for emergencies or when visiting local markets where card payments may not be accepted.

The Bhandardara Firefly Festival celebrates the mesmerizing phenomenon of fireflies. It offers a unique opportunity to witness the synchronized flashes and learn about the importance of preserving firefly habitats. Become a responsible traveler especially when visiting places where fireflies reside. It is very important to respect their habitat and not cause any disturbance to their habitat.

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