Travel

Trek to Andharban – The Mysterious Forest Trail

Pallavi Ayyagari
Written by Pallavi Ayyagari

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My weekends are all about exploring, unwinding, rejuvenating and just zoning out from the mechanical lifestyle this manic city makes you put up with. If there is one thing that nails the idea of a perfect weekend for me, it has to be trekking. I have been to quite a few places outside of India but I must say, none of them match up to the mountains in India. The feeling of clambering up a mountain all the way to the pinnacle and getting enamoured by the view from there is blissful.

Yet another weekend called for yet another trek. This time it was the gorgeous destination – Andharban. This dense dark forest is breath takingly scenic and makes you want to stop every few minutes and admire the beauty of nature.

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Andharban quite literally means ‘Dark Forest’ where ‘Andhar’ stands for dark and ‘Ban’ stands for forest. The trek is as mysterious as it sounds. Here’s why:

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  1. You cant figure out where to start the trek. There are many starting points leading you to various destinations.
  2. Most of the treks in Maharashtra have man-made trails that take you to the top. However, in Andharban, there is no specific trail that leads you to a destination.
  3. If you go there in the rains, there are at least three massive waterfalls in the forest that you would never guess you’d have to cross to finish the trail. These waterfalls are absolutely breath-taking, but the currents are quite dangerous.

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4. The forest is dense and is covered in mist and fog making the scene even more intriguing.

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A few things you definitely need to keep in mind:

  1. While the grade for this trek is easy-medium with no major hurdles, make sure you either go with a professional or take a guide along with you so you don’t lose your way. You can easily find a guide at the base village.
  2. Make sure you wear proper footwear as you won’t find a single patch that isn’t slippery in the rains.
  3. Respect nature. The trek has no ascents, but the descends are through some narrow and slippery paths and fierce waterfalls.
  4. It is a 13 km long descend and will take you anywhere between 5-7 hours to get to the end.
  5. The most common trail starts from Pimpri gaon and takes you all the way through Andharban and ends at Bhira Dam.
  6. I personally wouldn’t advice anyone to do this trek at night, at least in the rains. Also, you’ll be missing the mesmerizing view this forest has to offer if you do this trek at night which you definitely don’t want.
  7. This is where you start your trek – Google co-ordinates – 18.510341, 73.417509

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Best time to visit

July – December

Every season brings in a new view and a new sight to cherish at Andharban.

The forest boasts a minimum of 20-25 waterfalls in the rains between July – August, which are absolutely gorgeous and breath taking.

In November, this forest takes natures magic to the next level. The entire path is filled with colourful flowers belonging to different species making for a mesmerising sight.

December is a month where the forest is filled with morning dew and ample fog adding up to the mysterious feeling Andharban has to offer.

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Travel

Cheapest route to get to Andharban from Mumbai

Take the ST bus from Mumbai to Lonavala

From Lonavala you can get into another bus that takes you to Bhaburde or Pimpri Gao

Pimpri gao is your base village.

Note – Reaching Pimpri Gao takes at least 7-8 hours. Plan your travel accordingly. I suggest, you leave the previous night, so you can start your trek early in the day. Alternatively, you can leave as early as 4 am in the morning to make sure you reach the base village by 11-12 pm and start the trek immediately to be able to get back in a day.

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Cheapest route to get back to Mumbai from Andharban

Once your trek ends at Bhira Dam, you can take the private vehicles or rickshaws stationed there and go to Mangaon.

From Mangaon you will find buses every 15 mins to Mumbai, Thane and Vashi. It takes around 3-4 hours to get back to Mumbai from Mangaon.

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You can write to me for any further details. If you’re looking for a guide or contact details of the locals or even stay options, I’ll be happy to help! 🙂

 

Keep Tripping! Happy Trekking!

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Pallavi Ayyagari

Pallavi Ayyagari

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