Bhimashankar

Religious

Maharashtra

27°C / Clouds

Nestled in the lap of the Sahyadri hills, Bhimashankar is one of the best tourist destinations to visit from Pune and Mumbai that is located at an elevation of 3500 feet above sea level in Bhorgiri village. Home to one of the prominent Jyotirlingas in India, it is reckoned as the temple town of Maharashtra. Also, the strategic location and stunning landscape including rolling hills and verdant rainforests make this place an attraction for trekkers, hikers, mountain climbers, pilgrims, photographers, and holidaymakers alike.

Best Time to Visit Bhimashankar

As soon as the monsoon recedes in the month of October, the beauty of Bhimashankar glorifies leaving behind the magical verdant glow to the rainforests and the petrichor which transports the travelers to tranquility. The serene effect of the monsoon season keeps the weather pleasant till March end making these months an ideal time to explore the mesmerizing Bhimashankar trek and other fun activities in this area. 

Bhimashankar is also visited by a large number of Shiva devotees during the auspicious festival of Maha Shivratri in order to pay homage to the prominent pilgrimage shrine of the country. One of the unique festivals of India, the Fireflies Festival hosted in this region falls right before the monsoon season which is yet another favorable time to discover this beautiful hill destination in Maharashtra.

History of Bhimashankar

According to Hindu mythology, ages ago the demon, Bhima, the son of Kumbhkarna along with his mother, Karkati lived in the dense forest of Dakini in the Sahyadri hills. On learning about his father’s death, he got infuriated and vowed to avenge Lord Vishnu. In order to amp up his prowess, Bhima performed severe penance and pleased Lord Brahma. After attaining supernatural powers, he gained control over Lord Vishnu and Indra. Suddenly his ego mounted and he asked the greatest devotee of Lord Shiva, Kamarupeshwar to worship him instead of Lord Shiva. His tyranny and appeal by sages forced Shiva to appear before Bhima and put his havoc to rest. He was thus reduced to ashes after the days of the war. Since then, Lord Shiva is believed to guard Sahyadri hills manifested in the form of the Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga.

Another famous legend about Bhimashankar Temple from Shiva Purana suggests that in ancient times the demon named Tripurasura tormented sages and Gods living in all three worlds and this started worrying everyone. In order to set the three worlds free, Lord Shiva himself descended on earth to destroy Tripurasura. Both of them got into a massive fight which was carried on for days, eventually leading to the death of the wicked demon. It is believed that Lord Shiva rested in the Sahyadri mountains after the war and his sweat turned into the river Bhima which flows even today and is worshipped as the holy river.

Places To Visit In Bhimashankar

Bhimashankar is a very famous religious site. It is among the best places to visit in Maharashtra. If you are traveling here, then do explore these nearby places to visit in Bhimashankar.

1. Bhimashankar Temple

One of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines in India, Bhimashankar Temple is the top attraction of this religious destination of Maharashtra. Built-in the 12th century in the Nagara and Indo-Aryan style of architecture, the walls of the temple display the iconic scenes from Shiv Puran, Ramayana, Krishna Leela, and Dashavataras. Other than the religious importance, the location of the temple which is right in the dense forest area also offers a scenic view of nature’s glory to the travelers. 

2. Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary

Boasting unique foliage, Malabar Giant Squirrels, and many other animal species, Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary is among the most visited places by nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, and adventure junkies. Ideal spot for bird watching and wildlife photography, travelers can expect an incredible experience of discovering a diverse range of flora and fauna. Also, Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary offers a fascinating trekking experience as scouting through the dense forest is quite a task.

3. Hanuman Lake

2 hours away from Bhimashankar temple, Hanuman Lake is an ideal picnic spot for holidaymakers while they are discovering this offbeat destination from Pune and Mumbai. The pristine lake invites many exotic species from the nearby forests to quench their thirst so one can spot some eye-popping views of witnessing the thriving species in their natural habitat. Carrying your own food with ample water and fun games is highly recommended if you wish to spend a hearty day at this nearby place from Bhimashankar.

4. Manmodi Caves

Located at an altitude of 1000m, Manmodi caves is one of the heritage sites around Bhimashankar that boasts numerous rock structures with ancient illustrious carvings and inscriptions inspired by the revered Jyotirlinga temple in close proximity. Apart from the traditional Buddhist style of art, one can also enjoy the enchanting vistas of Sahyadri hills as these caves are perched right over the hilltop. 

5. Ahupe Waterfalls

Bhimashankar is an ideal spot and preferred destination for trekkers as it offers an amazing trekking experience of discovering forests, waterfalls, lakes, temples, and whatnot. Ahupe waterfall is one of the hidden gems that can be discovered while trekking through the wildlife sanctuary in Bhimashankar. Apart from offering an enchanting view of cascading waterfall, one can hike to the base village Dimbhe Khurd to grab yet another spectacular view of Dimbhe Dam's backwaters. 

6. Nagfani Peak Trek

Another experience that is worth a try is Nagfani Peak Trek that is a medium-level trek of 2.5km. Reaching the top of Nagfani peak is quite exhilarating and fulfilling at the same time as when you reach the top of the hill, you will grab a panoramic view of the western ghats that will amaze you with bewilderment. On your way, you can grab a cup of piping hot tea along with local savories from the small Dhabas. These little experiences definitely make some big memories that we cherish for a lifetime.

How To Reach Bhimashankar

Well connected to the famous cities of Maharashtra like Pune, Nashik, and Mumbai and well-maintained National Highway, reaching Bhimashankar is quite easy and swift. 

  • Distance from Pune - 110km
  • Distance from Mumbai - 220km
  • Distance from Nashik - 205km
  • Nearest Airport - Pune Airport
  • Distance from Airport - 125km

By Air

The nearest airport to Bhimashankar is Pune Airport which is about 125 km away. You can hire a private cab or travel by bus to reach this beautiful weekend getaway in Maharashtra. If you plan to visit Bhimashankar via Mumbai, then Mumbai Airport is located 220 km away. Both these airports are well connected to all domestic and international airports with frequent flights all day long. 

By Rail

The nearest railway station to Bhimashankar is the Pune Railway Station which is about 106 km away while Mumbai Central Railway is about 226 km away. Both the railheads are well connected to all the major cities in India like Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mysore, Puri, etc. You can consider a road trip via bus or private cab depending on your budget.

By Road

Bhimashankar is easily accessible from cities like Pune, Mumbai, and Nashik since there is good connectivity via national highways. Also, frequent bus services are available to and fro for tourists from different cities. You can expect a scenic drive through Pune Expressway to reach Bhimashankar depending on from which part of the country you are traveling. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Bhimashankar

Q1. Why is Bhimashankar famous?

Ans - Bhimashankar is famous for Bhimashankar Temple which is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in the country. Also, it is famous in the wildlife enthusiast circuit as it has a beautiful wildlife sanctuary that is home to Indian Giant Squirrels and some of the rare and close to extinction species of birds. Other attractions are Bhimashankar treks which are quite popular in giving that much-desired adrenaline kick. 

Q2. Is it safe to visit Bhimashankar?

Ans - Yes, it is absolutely safe to visit Bhimashankar via road from Pune. In fact, it is one of the most preferred weekend getaway destinations for people living in Pune and Mumbai. 

Q3. Which road is good for Bhimashankar?

Ans - You can consider visiting Bhimashankar via NH60 and MH SH 54 as these highways are well maintained. This is in fact the fastest route that has tolls but no road closure.

Q4. How many steps are there in Bhimashankar?

Ans - You have to climb approximately 230 steps to reach the Bhimashankar temple but the good side is that these are not too steep. 

Q5. Who built Bhimashankar temple?

Ans - The temple is believed to be built in the 13th century, however, there is not much information about who built it during that era. Later in the 18th century, Nana Phadnavis built the Sabhamandap and the Shikhara in the temple. Also, endowments to this temple to facilitate worshipping were taken care of by the great Maratha ruler, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj himself. 

Travel Tip - Since the area receives heavy rainfall during the monsoon season, travelers can avoid traveling to Bhimashankar during the months of June and July.

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