The Bhimashankar trek takes you over a massive mountain, past secret waterfalls, ancient temples, and deserted ruins. At the top is a Shiva temple which is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India, so you’ll often see devotees trekking alongside adventure-seekers to the top.
This is one of the most popular tough treks in the Sahyadris, especially in the monsoon and winter. Find a list of treks in our Top Monsoon Treks in Maharashtra.
The trek to Bhimashankar is a fairly tough one, so make sure you're up for the challenge. It starts out with an easy walk, but graduates to steep slopes. In the monsoon, the mossy rocks can be tricky, and there might be some sections of the trail that are washed away.
There are two different routes to get to the top: the Ganesh Ghat route and the Shidi route. The former route is considered to be the easier one and can be used by first time trekkers, but it is longer than the other. The Shidi route involves elementary rock climbing, and is a steep route with sturdy iron ladders to cover some of the tougher patches.
The trek starts from the village of Khandas, near Nerul in Maharashtra. It takes about 3 hours to reach Bhimashankar from Pune, and approximately the same from Mumbai.
This is one of the top 10 treks in Maharashtra, and is most popular with nature lovers and bird watchers. Your trek will take you to 3,000 feet, offering spectacular views of the region around. There are fascinating ancient temples and structures along this route, and you’ll get to see a peaceful rural lifestyle of the villages around. Apart from being home to rare wildflowers and birds, this region is also the habitat of the famous ‘Shekru’ or giant squirrel.
The Bhimashankar trek is a challenging and long trek. The route can be especially dangerous and tiring in the monsoon, when the rainwater gushes down the slopes and trails. This trek is not recommended for children or first-timers.
The monsoon is the best time for the Bhimashankar trek. During the months of July-September, the region is green and lush. The clouds roll in around the peak, and the views as you climb are gorgeous. You’ll be able to see many waterfalls cascading down the solid walls of the hill, and you can expect to get fully drenched.
However, many trekkers prefer to visit in winter, when the weather is clear and the trail is firm, leaving you to focus on the views and the trekking experience.
Depending on the season, your operator will send you an appropriate packing list for the trek. For your trek, you should wear appropriate shoes and have a sturdy backpack. If you are doing the Bhimashankar trek in the monsoon, you must make sure you have a raincoat and carry a raincover for your bag. Do carry essentials like water, snacks, insect repellent, first aid kit, and camera, all wrapped in a waterproof bag. Also, carry a change of dry clothes and a long-sleeved jacket or sweatshirt to keep you warm on your return. Find a complete Guide to Packing for Sahyadri Treks here.
The Shidi route is short, but requires some sections of rock-climbing and ladder-climbing. It is shorter in duration, but not easy, so is not recommended for beginners. The Ganesh Ghat route is longer, but does not require any climbing, so can be done by fit beginners. Both routes are long and tiring, so do be prepared.
There are homestays and basic hotels at the top, mostly built for the temple devotees. There are also some village stays at Khandas village.