Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Khandas-Bhimashankar Trek

Type: Trek/Long walk
Base Village: Khandas
Where: 135 KMs from Pune
Route: Pune-Karjat-Kashele-Khandas
Time visited: October 2012
Time to climb: 5+ hrs.
Difficulty Grade: 2 Endurance: 3.75

Note: This might be difficult especially in rains as lot boulders in the way and the trial goes through several streams which might be gushing with full force in heavy rains.

How to reach: Travel by Singhagad Express to Karjat. From Karjat catch a state transport bus to Kashele (20 kms/30-40 mins journey). Catch a van/vadhap till Khandas (20/person, 20 mins ride). Once you complete the trek catch a state transport bus from Bhimashankar back to Pune (4 hrs journey/110+ Rs ticket)  unless you want to stay in Bhimashanakar and climb down again to Khandas.

Trek routes
1) Ganesh ghat: A km away from Khandas after the bridge take a right turn for Ganesh ghat. The Tar road ends after another km or so and rough road goes all the way to start of the trail. From Khandas the distance should be of
around 35/40 mins walk. After crossing Ganesh temple the route traverses the Padar fort towards Bhimashankar upper Plateau. Overall it takes around 5+ hours.
2) Shidi ghat:-As per internet, this is a tough route but well defined one through steep climbs up and down and you have to cross the ladders affixed into rockfaces. I was told that you have to take a left after the bridge from Khandas. By this route it said you could a tleast save an hour's time...

Both routes meet before the final steep climb. See below.

Singhad reached Karjat at 8.10AM. Although a sunday there was still a huge rush. After a yummy but oily vadpav we headed for Karjat ST stand which is a km away. A bumpy 35 min ride took us to a village called Kashele. From kashele it was another bumpy ride till Khandas.

Fresh tea and some chocolates marked the beginning of first trek in spring. 

Through the Khandas village. 

All along the way you can see padar gad at extreme right of a huge mountain.

A 40 min walk along a dusty tar road took us to base of the ghat.

The silent victim of an accident? 

Once the ghat starts the green tranquil surroundings welcome you.

There is a old hoarding describing the details of the jungle. All along the trial directions are nicely given minimizing the risk of loosing the way in the jungle.

First milestone- Ganesh Temple.
Refreshing butter milk tones down the scorching heat.

Traverse- Keeping Padar fort on the left.

Second milestone- The well.

Creeply crawlers on the way...  

Through dense dark forest

Wild mushrooms in fanatasy red.

Third milestone- Meeting point of Route 1 & Route 2.
Second point where you get butter milk or tea!
Need to gather all energy for the hardest and steepest climb from here on...

Beware of the monkeys in between who try to steal anything you are carrying.

Padar fort view caught between breaths on the right as you start climbing.

And down below on the base plateau some inhabitants busy in their own world.

Some relaxing stretch through dense jungles after a tedious climb, but a break before the final steep climb again...

As the darkness engulfes the vast valleys, its a sense of pride and achievement on another successful milestone...