Things to Do in Bhandardara

Activities in Bhandardara

Lakeside camping, Ratangadh Fort Trekking, Umbrella Waterfalls, Wilson Dam, Boating at Arthur Lake, Randha Falls, Trek to the Kalsubai Peak, Bhandardara Fireflies Festival,  and many more.

Bhandardara is a scenic resort town near Igatpuri in Maharashtra and the endless list of entertaining and adventurous Things to Do in Bhandardara has made it one of the trending weekend getaway destinations from Mumbai and Pune. Bhandardara is a Nature’s bounty and this little town is home to many scenic waterfalls in the country. Camping by the Bhandardara Lakeside under the blanket of stars with stunning views of the lake and mountain in the background is something that every traveler to Bhandardara looks forward to.

Along with camping, tourists can also enjoy the short boat ride to Ratanwadi village. Also, the high peaks of the Sahyadri mountains in Bhandardara have paved way for many adrenaline rushing trekking trails. Thrill seekers can set out for the Sandhan Valley Trek, Ratangad Fort Trek, and Kalsubai Peak Trek to appease their adventure quest. Sightseeing is the most common activities to do in Bhandardara and some of the distinguished places to visit here are Bhandardara Lake, Wilson Dam, Umbrella Falls, Randha Falls, Ratangad Fort, and Kalsubai Peak. The pristine and whimsical charm of these tourist spots are sure to awaken the photographer in you.

Another interesting thing to watch out for in Bhandardara is the Fireflies Camping Festival. The dense forests of the Western Ghats, numerous water bodies, and the well-preserved nature have made Bhandardara a thriving place for the fireflies. During the months of May and June, one can book for fireflies camping and enjoy the stunning performance of these interesting insects against the dark skies. A few other activities that one can experience in Bhandardara are rappelling, angling, bird watching, and nature walks. With so many absolutely delightful places to visit and activities in Bhandardara, we are sure that, by now, you must have planned your next weekend getaway to this cozy little town.
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Umbrella Falls

Witness the spectacular waterfalls which, as the name suggests, form the impression of an umbrella. Flowing over the naturally placed rocks, Umbrella Falls originating from Wilson Dam are one of the most rejuvenating tourist places in Bhandardara. 

You can witness the full might of the falls during the monsoon, when the cascade gets down from a height of 500 feet. A footbridge connecting Wilson Dam and the waterfalls offers a stunning view of the falls. Umbrella Falls, located in the Sahyadris, are also a prominent source to generate electricity.

: Near Arthur Lake, Bhandardara

Wilson Dam

Built in 1910, Wilson Dam has a huge water reservoir and is surrounded by the magnificent Sahyadri mountain ranges. Also known as Bhandardara Dam, it is the largest earthen dam in India and gets its water from Pravara River. You can visit the garden at the base of the dam, which offers stunning views of the architectural marvel and it is one of the best places to visit in Bhandardara.

Experience the sprinkling water at the garden edge, when the gates of the dam are open to release water. There are several water streams which emerge from the dam and make Bhandardara the green paradise that it is.

Location: 11 km from Randha Falls, Bhandardara

Kalsubai Peak

Soak yourself in adventure by trekking to the Kalsubai Peak, which is the highest peak in Maharashtra. At 5400 feet, Kalsubai Peak is one of the best places to visit in Bhandardara if you want a tinge of adventure on your laidback sojourn.

Enjoy panoramic views of lush greenery, nearby forts and Bhandardara Dam as you scale the peak. The trek offers easy to moderate trails as well as difficult terrain in places, which will test your hiking skills. You can also climb the man made stairs if you want to reach the top without hiking.

: Kalsubai Harishchandragad Wildlife Sanctuary, near Bari village

Randha Falls

Cascading from a height of 170 feet, Randha Falls offer a rejuvenating sight as the water gushes down with its full vigour, creating a loud roar as it touches the surface. You can also take a dip in the pond of the waterfall to revive yourself with some freshness.

Mainly attractive in monsoon, the Randha Falls are every photographer’s delight as the white stream of water emerging from the Pravara River forms a spellbinding sight. On your visit to the dam, munch on some snacks to spend some refreshing time along the pond-side. The falls are also the third highest in Maharashtra, making it one of the must places to visit in Bhandardara. 

: Near Lake Arthur Hill

Ratanwadi Village

If you want to experience the village charm, Ratanwadi Village is arguably one of the best tourist places in Bhandardara for its old world inheritance. Reach the village by boating in the Arthur Lake. The village houses an old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, popularly known as Amruteshwar Temple in the region.

The village also serves as a base camp for trekking to Ratangad, which is a 2000-year old fort reachable by a 3-4 hour trek from the village. You can also try camping at the village by the riverside for a laidback experience. 

: Kalsubai Mountain

Arthur Lake

Arthur Lake is one of the most popular places to visit in Bhandardara, as it offers an ideal picnic to families and groups. Surrounded by the majestic Sahyadris Ranges, Arthur Lake gets its water from Pravara River and offers a tranquil environment to visitors. You can undertake camping, boating and photography at the lake.

If you are a nature lover, you can enjoy the sight of the exotic birds which flock the lake. Take a morning stroll along the lakeside to immerse yourself in the lap of nature, or simply go on a boat ride in the evening to experience serenity.

Location: Near Wilson Dam

Agastya Rishi Ashram

Situated on the banks of River Pravara, Agastya Rishi Ashram is one of those tourist places in Bhandardara which will interest history buffs and nature lovers. According to mythical scriptures, Saint Agasti, who gifted Rama the arrow which killed Ravana, had meditated here for a year by surviving on air and water.

The ashram is also mentioned in the Hindu epic Ramayana, making it one of the most popular places to see in Bhandardara. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the ashram and take a stroll along the riverside to experience peace from the maddening crowds of the city.

: 40 km from Bhandardara

Ratangad Fort
A hill fort in the Sahyadris, Ratangad is a 20 centuries old fort conquered by Maratha ruler Shivaji Maharaj. The fort, for its formidable altitude and history, is one of the best places to visit in Bhandardara for trekkers and photography enthusiasts. Enjoy stunning views of the Kalsubai Peak, which is the highest peak in Maharashtra, while trekking up the fort from the base village of Ratanwadi. The fort, perched atop a hill, offers stunning views of the lush greenery and is a prominent place with historical significance.Location: Near Bhandardara Dam, Ratanwadi Village
Amruteshwar Temple

Built from black stones 1000 years ago, the Amruteshwar temple has intrinsic sculptures of God and houses a pond within its premises. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple hosts a hot spring below the Shiva Lingam, making it an interesting place to visit. The main sanctum of the temple gets filled with water in monsoon as the level in the spring rises. Constructed out of black stones, the temple is worth capturing in your camera. 

: Near Shend, Ratanwadi Village

Harishchandragad Fort

Situated in Malshej Ghat, the historic fort boasts of the swelling pride of the erstwhile Maratha rulers. If you are an adventure enthusiast, the fort now offers excellent trekking trails leading to the fort located at an altitude of 4665 feet. Experience stunning greenery along the route as clouds cross your path while hiking to the fort. Several temples dot the route to the fort, making your trail exciting and it is one of the amazing places to visit in Bhandardara.

Location: Malshej Ghat, Ahmednagar

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Bhandardara Things To Do FAQs

What are the best things to do in Bhandardara?

1. Bhandardara Lake Camping: Also known as Arthur Lake, Bhandardara Lake is one of the most famous tourist spots in Bhandardara and camping here tops the list of things to do in Bhandardara. The lake looks pristine and the ranges of the Western Ghats that surround the region make the place look serene.

Tourists can witness the beauty of the lake by camping at the campsite around the lake. Usually, campers stay here for a night and two days in the clean, comfortable, and well-equipped beds to revel in the marvel of Mother Nature. Camping here also includes a bonfire in the evening and a humble BBQ dinner.

Price: Starts INR 1,750 per adult including meals and accommodation.

2. Ratangad Fort Trekking: Ratangad is a 400-year old fort that is built overlooking the city of Bhandardara. The trek to the fort from Bhandardara actually starts from the Ratanwadi village. The trekking trail is easy and is one of the most thrilling activities to do in Bhandardara.

The trek takes you through the dense woods of the Western Ghats and diverse moss-laden landscapes. After about a 2 - 2.5 hours of trekking, one can reach the historical Ratangad Fort and enjoy the mesmerizing views of the distant peaks and the lush green scenery around. The best time for the trek is during the monsoon and winter season when the whole region looks so fresh in various shades of green.

Price: Starts INR 1,400 per adult.

3. Sandhan Valley Trekking: One of the most adventurous Activities to Do in Bhandardara, Sandhan Valley Trekking is for those who love to sweat it out. Sandhan Valley is the second-largest valley in Asia and the trek trail takes one through narrow paths between 100 feet tall mountains, multiple streams, and many other adventures.

During the monsoons, the streams between the mountains can reach up to one’s chest level making the trek more adventurous. The trek also includes rock climbing and rappelling at some parts. On reaching the valley, one can enjoy 360 degrees views of the mountains and the sight atop makes the adventurous journey worth every penny.

Price: Starts INR 1,700 per adult.
Timings: 1 night and 2 days.

4. Visit the seasonal Umbrella Waterfalls: If you visit Bhandardara during the monsoon season, then a trip to the Umbrella Waterfalls promises an overwhelming sightseeing experience. This seasonal waterfall is formed by the water gushing out from the Wilson Dam when the dam reaches its full capacity. The overflowing waters of the dam fall from a height of 500 feet onto the naturally formed semi-circular rocks below giving it a beautiful umbrella-like shape.

The path that leads to the waterfall is clean and looks lush; particularly during the monsoons. Best views of the waterfall can be observed from the footbridge that is built at the bottom of the waterfall. Including the Umbrella Waterfalls amongst other things to do in Bhandardara will definitely make your holiday more memorable!

Timings: 8.00 AM - 6.00 PM (Mon - Sun)

5. Sightseeing at Wilson Dam: One of the oldest dams in India, Wilson Dam was built in 1910 across River Pravara at a height of 150 m above sea level. The dam is also one of the largest dams in India and has an earthen floor which makes it an engineering masterpiece of those days.

The vast dam looks absolutely splendid over the rainy season with sparkling waters and deep green trees all around. There is a swimming pool and a garden at the base of the dam where visitors can stroll amidst the tall trees, lush meadows and gently flowing streams.

Timings: 08.00 AM - 07.00 PM.

6. Boating at Arthur Lake: Arthur Lake is a small and serene water body that gets its waters from the Pravara River. The lake acts as a reservoir for the Wilson Dam and looks breathtakingly beautiful with the majestic mountains of the Western Ghats in the backdrop.

This lake is around 34 km long and holds mythological importance. It is believed that Agasthya Rishi meditated here. Boating here is one of the blissful things to do in Bhandardara and tourists visiting Arthur Lake can enjoy both motorboat and rowboat rides.

Timings: 08.00 AM - 07.00 PM.
Price: INR 200 per person for an hour.

7. Visit the breathtakingly scenic Randha Falls: Randha Falls is the third largest waterfall in India and the Pravara River falls roaringly from a height of 170 feet into the Randha Falls. The milky white waters gushing through the barren rocks is a sight to behold, particularly during the monsoons.

There is a viewpoint just above the falls and the views of the Randha waterfalls from there is spellbinding and daunting at the same time. At the base of the waterfalls, one can see swamps of bees buzzing around the huge beehives in the tall trees. Tourists can offer prayers at the temple on the riverbank and it is one of the best things to do in Bhandardara.

Timings: 08.00 AM - 06.00 PM.

What are the romantic things to do in Bhandardara?

Couples can indulge in the following Things to do in Bhandardara to make the most of their Bhandardara trip:

1. Trek to the Kalsubai Peak: At an elevation of 1646 mts above mean sea level, the Kalsubai Peak in Akole Taluka is the highest peak in the Western Ghats. Couples can enjoy trekking up to this peak through lush greenery and verdant farms.

The peak is usually devoid of the bustling tourist and has mesmerizing views of the valley below and so, couples can capture their candid moments in tranquility. The Kalsubai Harishchandragad Wildlife Sanctuary houses the peak, and apart from checking out the thriving flora and fauna, couples can also visit the various temples and forts in the region.

Best time to visit: August - December.

2. Feast your eyes on during Bhandardara Fireflies Festival: Fancy getting yourself treated to the show of fireflies against the dark skies in the middle of a jungle trail with your loved one? If yes, then the Bhandardara Fireflies Festival is just for you both.

The Bhandardara Fireflies Festival happens every year in the months of May and June and during this time, special campsites are made at Kokan Kada with all facilities to enjoy the absolutely stunning show put forth by the fireflies as the sun sets. If you are an adventure loving couple, you can also try other Activities to Do in Bhandardara like rappelling and jungle trails along with camping and stargazing.

Best time to visit: May - June.

3. Arthur Lake Camping: Arthur Lake or Bhandardara Lake is the most scenic spot in Bhandardara with refreshing views of the engulfing Sahyadri mountain ranges. Couples can camp at the campsites by the lakeside and have a whale of a time in fun-filled conversations, star gazing, photoshoots, bonfires, and BBQ dinners.

Camping here is completely safe and the campsite has all basic facilities like tents with foam Mattress, Pillow, Blanket, and RO Water, and hygienic restrooms. Camping by the Bhandardara Lakeside during the monsoon months to enjoy the pleasant climate and exhilarating scenery around.

Best time to visit: June - March.

4. Go on a sightseeing tour in Bhandardara: Bhandardara is a holiday resort village and has many beautiful places and is pleasantly overloaded with sightseeing attractions like Umbrella Falls, Wilson Dam, Kalsubai Peak, Randha Falls, and Arthur Lake set in the enclosure of the mighty Western Ghats and it is one of the best things to do in Bhandardara.

The climate of the city is also welcoming and pleasant for most parts of the year. Couples can enjoy visiting the attractions of Bhandardara and the scenic backdrop of Nature here is ideal for pre-wedding and post-wedding photoshoots.

Best time to visit: Throughout the year.

What are the best things to do near Bhandardara?

1. Go on a trekking tour to Malshej Ghat: Mashlej Ghat is a picturesque hill station that has everything that one would want to escape the chaotic city - alluring waterfalls, lush greenery, pleasant weather, misty mountains, and historical forts. The Mashlej Ghat mountain pass is a natural wonder and brims with an exotic collection of flora and fauna.

Distance from Bhandardara: 97.2 km.

2. Enjoy the boat ride to Ratanwadi: This rustic, quaint little village near Bhandara is famous for the Ratangad fort and Amrusteshwar Temple. Tourists can also enjoy the most joyful boat ride from Arthur Lake in Bhandardara to Ratanwadi and this is most of the fun-filled Activities to Do in Bhandardara.

Distance from Bhandardara: 15.4 km.

3. Seek blessing at Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir: Home of the great saint Sai Baba, Shirdi is a religious town that has various attractions related to the life of Sai Baba like Chawadi, Dwarakamai, Gurusthan, Samadhi Mandhir, etc. A strong spiritual aura engulfs this land, and people of all faiths throng Shirdi to see Sainath’s blessings.

Distance from Bhandardara: 99 km.

4. Sightseeing at Igatpuri: Igatpuri is another hill station near Bhandardara and has several tourist spots like Bhatsa River Valley, Ghatandevi Temple, Camel Valley, and Tringalwadi Fort.

Distance from Bhandardara: 43.1 km.

5. Explore the tourist attractions of Nashik: Popular for hosting the biggest Indian Hindu festival, Kumbh Mela, that happens once in 12 years, Nashik is a religious city that is dotted with many ancient temples of mythological importance.

Apart from temples, the prominent attractions of Nashik are Panchvati, Sula Vineyard, Nashik Caves, Sapthashrungi, Anjaneri Hills, and Dudhsagar Waterfalls.

Distance from Bhandardara: 71 km.

6. Mumbai: Officially the financial and fashion capital of India, Mumbai is a metropolitan city that is a perfect amalgamation of various cultures. The city is dotted with sky towering buildings, entertainment centres, and shopping complexes and is the home to most of the Bollywood stars.

Distance from Bhandardara: 163.8 km.

7. Bhimashankar: Bhimashankar village near Bhandardara is one of the twelves Jyothirlingas and this sacred land attracts lakhs of Hindu devotees every year. The town is also hugely popular for its thrilling trekking routes and the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary here is a wildlife photographer's heaven.

Distance from Bhandardara: 151.4 km.

8. Lonavala: One of the trending weekend getaway destinations from Mumbai and Pune, Lonavala is a perfect retreat destination with lush greenery, impeccable climate, misty mountains of the Sahyadri ranges, dense forests, beautiful waterfalls, and scenic dams.

Popular tourist attractions here are Bhaja caves, Bushi dam, Karla caves, Rajmachi fort, and Ryewood lake.

Distance from Bhandardara: 193 km.

What is special in Bhandardara?

Bhandardara is special in more than one way which justifies on why one should not miss visiting -

1. Climate: Bhandardara is cool and chill during most parts of the year.

2. Fireflies camping: During the Fireflies Festival held at Bhandardara from mid-May to mid-June, tourists can witness the mesmerizing show put forth by the fireflies after sunset.

3. Places to visit: Bhandardara is blessed abundantly by Nature and the prime tourist attractions here like Bhandardara Lake, Wilson Dam, Umbrella Falls, Randha Falls, Ratangad Fort, and Kalsubai Peak take one close to Nature.

4. Things to do in Bhandardara: Boating, camping, trekking, bird watching, rappelling, angling.

How can I go to Bhandardara from Mumbai?

The distance between Mumbai and Bhandardara is 163.8 km.

- By Bus: Many Non-AC Volvo private buses and state-run buses ply between Mumbai and Bhandardara.

- By Train: The nearest railway station to Bhandardara is Igatpuri. There are many trains that run between Mumbai and Igapuri. From Igatpuri, you can hire a private taxi to Bhandardara.

- By Taxi: Many private taxi operators operate taxis in this route and the fare for Mumbai-Bhandardara round trip in a NON-AC Indica comes about INR 3,500. The driving time one-way is about 4 hours.

Is Bhandardara worth visiting?

Yes, of course. Bhandardara is a perfect destination to be visited over the weekend. This hill station resort town which is nestled cozily amidst the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year.

Bhandardara gets exclusively beauty during the rainy season when it is painted in various shades of green with stunning views of the misty mountains. There are a countless number of places to be visited and things to do in Bhandardara, which makes the Bhandardara trip truly cherishable.

How far is Bhandardara from Delhi?

The road distance from Delhi to Bhandardara is 1,322 km.

How far is Bhandardara from Pune?

Bhandardara is 162.6 km away from Pune via NH50 and it takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours to travel. There are several state run and private buses that ply this route regularly. You can also drive or book a cab to reach Bhandardara from Pune.

What are the best treks in and near Bhandardara?

1. Kalsubai Trek: Mount Kalsubai is the highest mountain in the Sahyadri ranges and scaling its trekking route is one of the best things to do in Bhandardara. The view from the peak is truly breathtaking. You can get a good glimpse of Bhandardara Dam and several other forts nearby.

2. Sandhan Valley Trek: This water carved valley is one of the most fascinating trekking destinations in the Western Ghats. It is also popularly known as the Valley of Shadows as in some parts the sun’s rays are not able to touch the ground.

3. Ratangad Trek: Ratangad is one of the hill forts in the region and it is located on the banks of the Bhandardara Lake. The difficulty level of this trekking route is medium and it is one of the most beautiful one especially during the monsoons.

4. Bhandardara Fireflies Trek: Million of fireflies twinkling in the night sky is one of the highest incentives of this trek. This trek is combined with a nature camp which is also a great site for other activities such as rappelling and nature walks.

5. Alang-Madan-Kulang Trek: This invigorating trek combines trekking expeditions to Alang Fort, Mandangad Fort and Kulang Fort. This route is one of the most difficult trekking routes in the Sahyadri region.

Newly Added Bhandardara Experiences

Bhandardara Things To Do Reviews

Komal Matade
Reviewed: 13 Dec 2022
Everything was absolutely perfect at the trek. My only concern is that thrillophilia doesn't give a confirmation mail or call even before 5 hours of the trek. We didn't receive a confirmation untill 4 hrs before leaving for trek. We eventually got annoyed and asked for a refund, that's when i got a ... Read More
Komal Matade
Komal Matade
Komal Matade
Komal Matade
Vaishnavi Shah
Reviewed: 15 Feb 2020
The tour was easily organized, The time was the main thing in this tour in which its happened as per-selected time by the team, Everything was on-time and well-arranged all trekkers were very understanding and follow it with due respect.
Chandi Khan
Reviewed: 12 Feb 2020
Ajoba trek was nice and unforgettable because we had an amazing experience for life... I Would visit again next time...
Gopal Ahuja
Reviewed: 25 Jan 2020
I had a very great expereince with the guide and the co-trekkers, the itinerary planned by the team was rich and totally satisfied, the accommodation was comfortable and clean, the foods they served it hot, simple and tasty, the jungle-trail was the main hightlight of this tour the fireflies really ... Read More
Akshaj Dwivedi
Reviewed: 15 Jan 2020
Mids of nature camping was just a fantastic experience, this camping from Thrillophilia was well-organized,well-maintained, and well-managed. Staff was helpful, nice jungle-walked, we had a great adventure in Rappelling. Great facilities, tasty foods, comfortable stay... Just like everything there.
Gopi Ahluwalia
Reviewed: 09 Jan 2020
The best package for the trek lovers not only that the place was "wow", but you must also expereince it

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