Remember this… A month back, I was desperately longing for a short break. The Gods finally heard my prayers 🙂 and we managed to make a short trip to Bhandardara, a quite and serene hill station nestled in the Sahyadri Mountains and within driving distance from Mumbai. I have been longing to visit this place for a long time now. It is not like one of the popular and commercialized tourist places and there are very limited places for accommodation available there. Location wise, I had heard that the MTDC resort is the best place to stay in, but they were always booked for weekends, months in advance. So when we saw that they had accommodation available on 2nd October, we decided to take another day off coupled with this holiday and immediately booked a cottage there.
Did I ever tell you that I LOVE road trips? 🙂 The convenience of stopping at any location for a break or just to soak in the beauty of the surroundings… Wonderful!! Add to that, the whole family spending so much time together… discussing the scenery, the drive, fighting over whose favorites will be played on the music system …. yes total fun 🙂 … And where packing for the trip involves packing more things for eating and drinking than any other thing 🙂 … I just love road trips 🙂
We drove towards Igatpuri, the drive through the highway with the hills covered with greenery and blue skies was very soothing to the eyes.We drove for a couple of hours on NH3 and finally stopped at around 9 am for breakfast at a nice food hub and ate a hearty meal of idlis, dosa and upma. Refreshed after the break we resumed our journey again. The final 45 km of our journey after a right turn from Ghoti, beyond Igatpuri was one of the most scenic drives in the Western Ghats I have seen with lush green paddy fields, hills covered with green grass and wild flowers, waterfalls and streams, …. it was all so beautiful. We took several breaks just to admire the surroundings or click pictures
It was a beautiful property and Cheebu and I spent time admiring the flowers and spotting the butterflies. Finally hubby came out and we could drive upto the cottages… and it is from here that we got our first view of the Bhandardara lake or Arthur lake
With such a beautiful view, who would want to go inside 🙂
We spent some time outside taking in the views of the lake and just relaxing. It was a perfect sunny day with a cool breeze by the lakeside. The skies were clear and we saw 2 jet planes flying high up in opposite directions. Of course, we had to take a picture of that 🙂 Everything on a holiday has to be caught on camera 😀
We then freshened up and had some buns, sandwiches and fruits that we had packed and brought and got ready for going around the place.
There were several guides who offered to show us around, but we decided to explore on our own. Our first stop was the Wilson dam
When the dam overflows or when the sluice gates of the dams is let open, it results into a very beautiful waterfall below which is called the Umbrella falls. Unfortunately, the gates were not open on that day so we did not see the Umbrella falls. But we did venture below towards the Pravara river and had a good time collecting stones and trying to cross the river. There were lots of picnickers here and sadly many of them had left the place littered 😦 Cheebu had total fun, as hubby helped her cross the river… they even built bridges by putting in stones at places where the water was slightly deeper 🙂 We spent a good one hour here.
We then set out towards our next destination, Randha Falls. The drive was again as scenic as before with the hills beckoning us.
As we went ahead, we hardly encountered anyone on the road except a few cowherds here and there sitting and watching their cattle graze. I wondered about their lives sitting and watching their cattle graze in such beautiful surroundings day after day far away from the madding crowds of the city. Soon we reached the falls. There were a couple of big waterfalls here with their waters falling into the rivers below
while on the opposite hill we saw cattle grazing
We had roasted corn cob here and some ice cold lassi and chhaas that we had carried with us to cool us off for it was quite warm now.
From here we decided to visit the Amriteshwar Temple before going back to the resort. After about an hours scenic drive with the Sahyadris on one side and the lake on the other side of the road we reached the temple.
The Shiva temple is quite old and somebody told us that it has history dating back to the times of the Mahabharata and was built by the Pandavas at one time. I would say they did choose a beautiful spot :)The flowers that we bought here for offerings were the prettiest bunch I have seen for offering in a temple. They were a collection of the wild flowers that grew around.
From here we went back to the resort, had dinner and went off to sleep. Next morning we were greeted to this view on waking up…We spent the morning at the resort and after a breakfast of authentic Maharashtrian Poha, went down to the lake for a boat ride. I must say the lake is quite beautiful with crystal clear water and pristine surroundings
It was a nice break from the routine of everyday life, a perfect getaway and we are back refreshed and with beautiful memories from a nice trip.