A Weekend Getaway to Bhandardara

I am sure you have heard about bikers groups. Quite popular, ain't they? But have you ever heard about the "Cars Club"? Ehhhh! No.  I knew.

Last weekend, I got the chance to have Camaraderie on Four Wheels when I went on a long drive to Bhandardara with Road Trippers Club. 
During summers or say you have a big gang or you love the comfort of a four wheeler over two wheeler, this club is for you. Just take your car out, push the engine, roar and begin.

We Start

Groupfie By: Hemal Shah

We assembled at Thane to meet the like minded strangers before we started our drive. After starting to know each other over a hot cup of coffee at Mc Donalds, we started towards Bhandardara at around 0800. Our first pit stop was supposed to be Kalsubai Peak Foothills followed by quick chai pe charcha but fate had some other plans for us. First, the traffic and then a little mishap on the road again with locals, we could not go as per plan. 


The lorry had come out of nowhere on the highway, no signal, no horn and had stopped in the middle of the road. Our cars which were running one behind the other with the sudden breaks gave us a mild jolt. Though no one was hurt, the first car which hit the lorry got a bump on its head (bonnet). The lorry wala soon vanished, sigh! Since we were late already we skipped the Kalsubai part and went straight to the resort. To add we also took a wrong turn in between, courtesy, google map which is usually right. But the day was of many set backs hence can't blame the google. 


The drive was tiring because of the time it took but the scenic road and the troop we saw on the way, the caravan of people on their way to shirdi, marching on foot, gave us hope and patience to tackle the stress caused by the traffic and little mishap. 

Wanderlust Resort, our Abode


We reached Wanderlust Resort around 1400 hrs and it was such a refreshing feeling. In the middle of forest and mountains, it is the best hide out one can ask for. Set with a lake in front, you can't help but actually forget all the worries you ever had. It was a welcome site after a long drive.


We freshened up and straight went for lunch. Food was scrumptious (Wanderlust Resort is a pure veg place). Without missing a second, after connecting with my fellow travellers over lunch, I went exploring the resort. Wanderlust resort has double, triple and quad sharing cottages which are quite spacious, with a lush green huge garden in front of cottages, a vegetarian dining hall, business centre and a place for indoor games. To add, on request you can have a little bonfire and barbecue as well.


I spent most of my time near in-house lake and shooting small fishes and muffin (the dog of Suraj and Rucha). He was cute and playful but I couldn't gather courage to touch it till late eve.

Another plan mein change


We were to visit Lake Arthur in eve but many retired to bed post lunch and our plan went kaput. To make up for that we went for a long walk uphill in the middle of jungle and watched the beautiful colors in the sky as the sun set behind the mountains, clicked some pictures and made some funny videos (Video was made by Hemal which included some shots from this evening and a visit to the lake next morning. Most importantly, it features yours truly at the very start. Check here).  


The darkness in the sky and the birds making noise flying back to their nest gave us the signal that we should also move back to the resort. All but I and Anchal waited back, we spent some time talking to locals before heading to the restore. As we returned, it was pitch dark already. 

Stories over Drinks

We joined our group, the stomach was whining in hunger and it was time for some food, drinks and stories.

As we sat down, the stories begun. In our caravan we were honoured to be joined by three (retd.) Army personnel, Col. Sushil Dogra, Col Utpal Banerjee and Lt. Col. Sohan Roy. The army stories over starters, salad and drinks on the cold night was the perfect cocktail. Not only air was biting but their stories were too, inspirational and heroic. 



Late night we had dinner which was again beyond words, simple yet so mouth-watering.

Another plan made

Since we couldn't do anything as per plan on the first day, we all swore to visit Arthur Lake early next morning. We slept not before 0100 but we had to abide by the promise we made, the "Unbreakable Vow"
We got up early and were ready by 0600 the next morning. Only 11 out of 25 went for an early morning drive to the famous Bhandardara aka Arthur Lake.


The sun was pink as we drove chasing the sunrise. On the way we stopped by Wilson Dam for some photo session and then drove straight to the lake. The road was clean and without even a single pot hole (something which a Mumbaikar truly understands and appreciates),  I totally loved the ride but hated the noise of bats on the way. They must be in hundreds. But as we reached the lake the latter was all forgotten.


Arthur Lake (Also known as Lake Arthur Hill)

Picture Credits: Hemal Shah

I was spellbound by the view. It felt so mystic. There was no scope of pollutants. With a few colourful camps near lake, the area was pretty quite, devoid of any crowd and surrounded by hills and greenery. Every minute spent there was precious. It was a beautiful morning, so serene and out of the world. You can also go for boating here. This lake is covered by dense forest and holds religious importance. It is believed that Agastya Rishi meditated at this place for continuous one year.
(The lake is shallow at the start and I would not suggest going beyond 4 to 5 feet). 


After spending some time, we came back to the resort had a filling breakfast and got ready to move. It was not the end of the trip yet. We stopped for a big frame picture with our vehicles in between and later at the CCD in Shahapur  area where our trip finally ended again over coffee. We then all left for our respective homes. 

Quick Itinerary

A quick weekend away from daily chaos of Mumbai:
Bhandardara is a small resort village near the hill station Igatpuri. It sits on the bank of Pravara River which also feed Arthur Lake, year around. 

Mumbai to Bhandardara: 164 km
Pune to Bhandardara: 178 km

Other Places to Visit near Bhandardara:
Arthur Lake, Wilson Dam, Amruteshwar Temple, Radha Falls, Mount Kasubai, Ratnagad Fort, Agastya Rishi Ashram, Sandhan Valley.

You can also stay at Bhandardara for two days and visit all these places. Igatpuri is near by and if you wish you can go trekking Kalsubai, a mountain in Western Ghats and is the highest point in Maharastra.

When to Visit:
June to March. Monsoon are cold, misty and other-worldly due to heavy downpour while it is advisable to trek during winters and not in monsoon.

Happy Travels :)

Picture Credits: Team Road Trippers Club

Cheers,

P.S. All pictures are taken by me unless otherwise mentioned. For more pictures from the trip and for some serious travel goals, don't forget to check out my facebook page. Here is the link.

Comments

  1. Nice round up of the trip Stuti. Loved the narration.
    P.S.: You missed listing Umbrella Falls nearby. :)

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    1. Thanks Dada, glad you liked it. Also, thank you for one more suggestion in the itinerary 😊

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  2. I love the way you beautifully put it and thanks for describing the villagers so mildly! :) This trip taught us a lot of things, and just the fact that everyone stuck together also meant one thing - camaraderie on four wheels.

    I remember when the skirmish happened with the villagers and everyone was getting hungry too; but we stuck together. Even our young friends Muffin and Vedhika waited till we resolved the issues.

    It was good to have you for the trip Stuti! Until next time! Did you hear about the drive to Velas beach on 14th April? Don't miss that one :)

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    1. Thank you Vineet..I am glad you liked it. :)
      And yeah until next time, though I am afraid velas may not happen. I might not be in town. Some other time may be.

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  3. This looks like so much fun Stuti. I need to get to Mumbai and head on one of Roadtrippers Club trips soon :D

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  4. Bhandardara is beautiful. I went in monsoon..I am glad to read that you had fun despite the problems.

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  5. Loved reading your travelogue. The place looks really peaceful and quiet. It is great to come to a place like this after all the hiccups on the road.

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    1. Thank you 😊
      A few moments with oneself is like a paradise away from daily chaos ☺️

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  6. That’s such a wonderful trip and for things that didn’t went as per plan were only to add to the essence of the road trip...very well described

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    1. Bilkul sahi. That's how the trips are and unplanned adventure are the most memorable ones :)

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  7. Nice! The pics & description is soo good it feels like a live experience! Keep up the good work as always!

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