Bhandardara is a holiday resort village on the western coast of India. The village is located in the Ahmednagar district of the State of Maharashtra and is about 185 km from Mumbai. Bhandardara sits by the Pravara River, and is a blend of natural beauty, waterfalls, mountains, tranquility, greenery, invigorating air and pristine ambiance. Fluorescent green paddy fields contrast with bright blue skies above and the murky brown streams that criss-cross the whole land. When it rains, and clouds descend from the sky to blanket the earth, the sight is truly breath-taking!
The beautiful Bhandardara is well connected by road with all the major cities of Maharashtra. From Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Sangamner e can take the bus or private cars and travel to Bhandardara. The nearest rail head is Igatpuri which is about 45kms away. One can take the bus or private cab to reach the destination.
Though Bhandardara is situated in the midst of the hills but the place is hot during summers. The beauty of the place starts growing from the mid monsoon season and the best time to visit is from September to March.
Bhandardara has many attractions. Wilson Dam is the largest earthen dam in India, a powerful testimony to the engineering skills of days gone by. At the base of Wilson Dam, there is a garden endowed with thick greenery, streams and gigantic trees - the latter, home to hundreds of harmless fruit bats that hang precariously from the branches all through the day. One could stand at the edge of the garden embankment and enjoy the cool spray, or visit the picturesque Umbrella Falls, which are another major attraction during the monsoon.
Arthur Lake, a tranquil blue mirror amidst the dense greenery of Bhandardara, is fed by waters from the Pravara River.
Mount Kalsubai is the highest peak in Maharashtra and a favourite of trekkers; it had great strategic importance during the Maratha wars as an observation post. There is a small temple on the top with an old well in its backyard. It is said that the water level in the well has never dropped below 3ft. Agasti Rishi Ashram is mentioned in the scripts of the Ramayana. It is believed that Lord Rama and his brother Laxmana visited Shri Agasti Rishi to seek his blessings.
Ratangad Fort is very popular with nature lovers and trekkers; it offers spectacular views from its ramparts.
Trekking to Mount Kalsubai, Maharashtra's highest peak at 1646 metres makes one feel very delighted. This is a day's trek that can be combined with Ratanwadi, 22 kms away. The entire region is a wildlife sanctuary and the forests shelter a host of jungle birds and mammals.
Amriteshwar temple has been constructed in the distinct Hemadpanthi style.
The craftsmanship of the people can be seen in the fine fabrics of Mashru and Himroo, a form of weaving art. The Paithani and Narayan peth saris also present the skills and knowledge of the local artisans.
Bidriware is an ancient, intricate silver inlay craft applied on artefacts such as plates, bowls and vases.
Ganeshotsav is the most important festival, which is celebrated for ten days, in the month of August/September. The festival is celebrated in honour of Lord Ganesha. Devotees celebrate this festival with lots of enthusiasm and reverence. Once you discover Bhandardara, you will be drawn by its tranquillity again and again!