Bhandardara is Maharashtra’s sleepy Hamlet set amidst the Sahyadri mountains and is best visited during monsoons. But we (me and my husband) decided to go there last weekend mainly to get away from the fast life, social media and noise. We took an early morning passenger train from Dadar and reached Igatpuri around 9 am. From Igatpuri we took an auto rickshaw which cost us Rs 500. Other options are to either take a cab which will cost you around Rs 1000 or take a shared rick till Ghoti and from there take a shared jeep to Bhandardara. There are ST buses too from Igatpuri to Bhandardara but can not be relied on due to low frequency. A drive from Mumbai to Bhandardara takes around 31/2 hours.
A trip to Bhandardara
We reached Bhandardara and checked into our room in the MTDC resort by the Arthur lake. There are other small hotels too with rooms but none gives a view as beautiful as the MTDC resort.
Beautiful Bougainvillea flowers adorned the roads and the lake sides.
I sat there by the quiet lake…
and scribbled on my notepad.
For lunch we went to a restaurant in the small market which serves Maharashtrian, Chinese and regular North Indian food. MTDC has a canteen too but we don’t think that they cook in very hygienic conditions. We ordered 2 rice plates which came with dal fry, ussal, chhole, chapatis and rice.
The food was good but very spicy and we were dreaded by the thought of eating the same food for dinner when my brother-in-law called and told us about this small place called Kaka Gujarati Thali . The only catch is that you have to inform the owner at-least 2 hours in advance and he’ll prepare the dinner for you. On our way back we told him to prepare 2 thalis for us, each thali costs Rs 120.
After a little afternoon nap, a walk on the hills and by the lake and watching the Sunset we went for dinner at around 8pm. Yes, villages have early evenings hence early dinner. We were served a thali with lovely kadhi, aloo ki sabzi, sev ki sabzi, salad, hot rotis and khichdi. The food was fresh and very homely with no overwhelming spices. The owner, a middle aged Gujarati man, serves you as if you are his guests which makes the experience even better.
We called it an early night since we had planned to go for early morning boating in the lake and watch the Sunrise. The view was beautiful as we saw Sun coming out from behind a hill while we sat in the middle of the lake. It was quiet, serene and enchanting. In all the excitement I forgot to take the camera along and couldn’t take pictures of the beautiful Sunrise.
For breakfast we went to the same Gujarati place to grab a plate of hot poha. While our breakfast was getting ready we couldn’t stop ourselves from hogging on the yummy bhajias and batata vadas with chai at this nearby stall called Jai Hind.
Since we wanted a quiet weekend we stayed away from sight seeing but if you want you can go and check out the Wilson Dam, Mount Kalsubai, Agastya Rishi Ashram, Ratangad Fort and Amriteshwar Temple.
If you want some time off and be with yourself away from the fast paced world, I’d say you visit Bhandardara.