When I first came up with my Travel Bucket list for places to visit in and around Mumbai, this was probably at the bottom somewhere. But I kept on hearing this name in my office from other enthusiastic travelers as this place is one of the best camping sites on the lake bed close to Mumbai. So, I had to bring this place very much to the top of my Bucket list, and visit the nature's beauty.
Bhandardara is in Ahmed Nagar distirct of Maharashtra and is quite close to the Mumbai - Nashik highway, just a right turn near Igatpuri will take you to the Kalsubai - Bhandardara road.
The Bhandardara turquoise blue water is made up of Wilson Dam built on Pravara River and also known as Arthur Lake.
Bhandardara is very well known in the Mumbai Travelers circuit as one of the best known places to camp out in the serenity of the lake far away from the city. Enroute to Bhandardara you will pass through plenty of well known trekking routes like Sandhan Valley, Kalsubai, Kulang Madangad and Alangad, Ratangad fort and Harishchandragad treks.
HillTrotters visited this place in December 2018 on a 2-day Bike ride starting on Saturday morning from Bhandup, Mumbai and back on Sunday evening.
Route Taken (How to Reach):
Mumbai -> Thane -> Asangaon -> Igatpuri -> Ambewadi -> Bhandardara -> Ghatghar -> Kokankada view point -> Samrad -> Ratangad fort -> Ratanwadi -> Lake Arthur -> Bhandaradara camp site
Places to watch out for or to take quick stop:
1. On the way to Ambewadi, You can stop at Bhavli dam and waterfall for a quick break.
2. Same route after crossing the Bhavli, you can get a glimpse of AMK (Alang, Madan, Kulangad forts).
3. You can get a better view of Kalsubai peak when you get near the Bari Village (base camp for Kalusbai trek), on the way to Bhandardara.
4. After getting the first glimpse of Bhandardara lake, you can take a circuit route which takes you to Samrad (close to Sandhan valley starting point), also you can go upto the Kokan kada view point which watches over the Kokan Kada cliff and Ghatghar dam/Hydropower plant.
5. Visit Ratangad fort and hit the Ratanwadi road.
6. On the Ratanwadi -> Bhandardara road, you can take a look at the numerous camping spots and finally get to the main point of Bhadardara camping.
Mumbai -> Igatpuri -> Bhavli Dam -> Bhandardara -> Samrad -> Ratanwadi -> Bhandardara camp site -> Mumbai
Mumbai to Bhandardara - 160kms approx
Bhandaradara Circuit via Samrad and Ratangad (Ratanwadi) - 50kms
Total approx distance covered : 410kms.
Ride Partner: ThunderBird 350 and +1 (Soulmate).
Best Time to visit:
August - January is the best time to visit this place.
During peak monsoon, expect heavy rainfall and not possible to camp out and during summer (March - May), it will not be good for camping either.
For more detailed information or itinerary on Sahyadri Bike rides or Trekking in western ghats or other awesome places in India, please contact HillTrotters@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page "HillTrotters", also subscribe to us on YouTube channel with "HillTrotters Travelogues".
Please contact HillTrotters@gmail.com for any suggestions or travel related queries.