The last time I hiked Bhimashankar was 14 years ago to this very season – the fag end of monsoon. The anticipation, then, was stoked by lucid descriptions by my co-worker about the pristine quality of the woods, the complex nature of the trail and the 800 year old temple dedicated to Shiva on the summit. All too eager to indulge, my friend and I took the last local train to Dadar, waited out the night on the platform and took the first train to Karjat at 4:30am. We started our hike at 8am and returned home the following day. It was all worth the effort then and I was eager to relive that experience now.
Khandas – living in the shadow of Bhimashankar
Bhimashankar is just another peak in the Sahyadri mountain range. Looks like any hill of this region, brown and arid in the summer but lush green and sporting countless streams otherwise. It’s situated at a height of 3250 ft. above sea level and connected by road to Pune. Reaching it from Mumbai is a 2250 ft. climb on a trail that serpentines 3 hills. It’s well known as a revered pilgrimage among Shiva devotees as are most forest trails in India. On the summit, a village of few hundred services this industry. I was told by the locals that the tourist season here are school holidays in May, Shivraatri and Shravan, the season of fasting observed by the Hindu Maharashtrian community.