The Andharban trek is ideal for monsoons. For moFor the most partur trek, you will be under shade. The starting point of the Andharban Jungle Trail is located on the Tamhini Ghat Road near the Mulshi Dam. You can board a bus running on the Tamhini Ghat road and get down where MCKS ashram road starts. The starting point of Andharban trekking is at a distance of 3kms from here. During your trek, you will see mountains and jungles. The Andharban forest can get so dark that even during the afternoon, sunlight might struggle to touch the ground at a few places, and it can be easy for you to lose track of your route.
Andharban (dark forest) is in Tamhini Ghat of Maharashtra. It is the darkest forest there. The word ‘Andharban’ is an amalgamation of two words – ‘Andhra’, which means dark, and ‘ban’, which means forest. Between the villages called Tamhini and Mulsi, there is a mountain passage. Andharban forms a part of that passage. It is located on the summit of the mountain ranges in the Western Ghats and is a part of the Sahyadri range. It is located near Pimpri. Tamhini Ghat is known for its lush surroundings, including lakes, deep jungles and beautiful waterfalls. You will also have some great sightseeing moments of looking at Kundalika valley and varied types of flora and fauna.
The trek will need approximately five hours to reach Andharban forest. It is situated at a height of 2160 feet in Tamhini Ghats. The Andharban trek distance is approximately 10 to 13kms long. But even if you are a first time trekker, you can take the trip as the trail is relatively easy. The Andharban jungle trek is different because it is a descending trek.
To enjoy this trek to the fullest, come during the monsoon or just before or right after it. The best months are From June to September. But if you cannot, the period between October to January will be equally good. The foliage will remain thick, and the weather will add a bit of wintry chill and mist. The trek will be a fantastic and enigmatic experience.
The Andharban trek starts at Pimpri village.
By road – If you are coming from Mumbai, hire a taxi or take a bus to Lonavala. It is approx. 50kms away from Pimpri. Again from Lonaval, you can take a bus or cab to reach Pimpri. Or, if you can, hire a self-drive car. But if you are not coming from Mumbai, the best thing to do is reach Pune and then take a private cab till Pimpri.
By train – There are many trains running from Mumbai to Pune and Lonavala. Some of these trains are Udyan Express, Pune Intercity, Deccan Express and Hazrat Nizamuddin Express. Most of the trains coming to Mumbai from South India halt at Pune too.
By plane – There are flights to Pune from most big cities. Fly to Pune and hire a cab to go to Pimpri.
Know more about the trail – the route while going and returning
You will start your trek at Independent Point, very close to Pimpri Dam. You should start trekking early in the morning. At the beginning, the route will be amidst dense trees. The backwaters of Bira Dam will make an enjoyable experience as you will also see many water streams. You will be on a wall which is above a wall connected to Pimpri Dam. The initial climb will also bring you to an open area. And you will be able to see poppy fields as you walk ahead.
From the open area, you will be able to see the Kundalika valley and the view is absolutely amazing from here. After trekking on some meandering paths, after taking a few curves, you will slowly enter the dark forest. If you want to take a break and eat something, make a stop at Bhirdi village. Then the gradual descending trek towards Konkan route begins.
Once you cross Bhirdi village, you have actually started the return journey. You will find yourself trekking on a much flatter path. You will reach Patnus village after crossing a river. You can stay here for a night at one of the lodges, or you rest and satisfy your hunger at an eatery here.
For people who have come after hiring a taxi for a full day, their cabbies can pick them up from Bhira Dam End Point.
Where to stay?
As mentioned previously, there are lodges in Patnus village. Or at Bhira Dam, you can also have an overnight lakeside camping experience. You can also stay at one of the many hotels at Lonavala or Pune. There are budget staying options too. Near Andharban you will find many forest resorts and lodges.
Are there places to eat? What can you eat?
Whether you are coming from Lonavals, Mumbai, Pune or any other city, have a filling breakfast before coming. If you are coming from Lonavala, getting food is not an issue. The highways have many dhabas and eateries. Stop at Mulshi if you are arriving from Pune. Have a taste of real Maharashtrian cuisine at one of the restaurants or dhabas here.
You will not be short of places to eat at Pimpri as there are many local food joints here too.
To enter the Andharban jungle, you will need a permit. You can register yourself on the Tamhini Wildlife Sanctuary website and pay 150 rupees online. No more than 500 people can enter the jungle in one day. The Andharban trek will be a surreal experience as you will not only see mind-blowing scenes, but throughout the trek you will hear the chirping of the birds, the buzzing of insects and the refreshing sound of the waterfall. The beauty of nature will almost create a spell on you as you go further into the dense forest. The Bhira reservoir, the mountain ranges of Tamhini Ghat and the sight of Kundalika Valley makes every bit of effort taken during the lengthy trek worth it.
Have you ever seen crystal clear water falling from waterfalls? You must visit Devkund waterfalls to have this experience. It is located near Bhira village in Maharashtra and is in the middle of a thick jungle. The difficulty level of this trek can be said to be of easy to moderate level. People who love to go on treks would love to do the Devkund waterfall trek. Which will lead them to an excellent waterfall. It is one of the most marvellous waterfalls of the country. The bottom of the waterfalls has a depth of about 60 feet and visitors are not allowed to swim.
You will have to walk 7 kms on one way under this trek. The total trek will need you to cover a distance of 15 kms and the total trek will take approx. 4 hours. It is compulsory for trekkers to take a guide. There will be boards pointing out directions at regular intervals on your trekking path. Don’t believe any rumours, there is no possibility of your getting lost in the forest. There is a parking area at the starting point from where guides can be hired. The charges are 100 rupees per person.
You will not get any direct transport. If you are arriving from Mumbai or Pune, you have to reach Pali by bus and again take another bus to reach Bhira. If you are coming by a self-driving car, you can also park your car in Pali and then take the bus to Bhira. This village was unknown to even trekkers till very recently. It is getting prominence because of the waterfall located in the depth of the forest.
Why is this trek recommended?
The Devkund Waterfall trek will give you a wonderful opportunity to break the monotony of your daily city life. It will take you through peaceful surroundings. Devkund Falls is a little gem hiding in a forest having the same name. Devkund forest lies in Maharashtra’s Raigad district in a village named Bhira, which is close to Kolad. The waterfall is situated on the Western Ghats. It is also near Tamhini Ghat and is a plunge waterfall.
Kundalika river originates from Devkund, and the waterfall is said to be a combination of three falls! You will be reaching a height of about 2700 feet on this trek. A natural pool has been created at the bottom and the colour of the water collected here is almost turquoise. The water falls from a great height with a loud gush as it hits the rocks. It is one of the most important waterfalls of Maharashtra as the water of this waterfall doesn’t dry up at any time of the year. It is a source of freshwater. Devkund is called the ‘ bathing pond of Gods’. It is seen as a holy falls by local people. Though not much history is linked with waterfalls, there is a myth that during celebratory occasions, utensils would come out from the pond or kund.
Most of the path in the trekking route is quite flat and there will be an uphill hike of about 300 feet towards the end of it. The trail though is a winded one through mountain valleys, tiny villages, dense jungles and flowing rivers. Crossing them will help you reach the aloof waterfall. Not surprisingly, you will encounter muddy paths and rocky ones too.
You will be walking through big open areas and crossing three to four streams. You will cross man-made wooden bridges. Also on the way, you will see the Tata Power Dam or Mulshi Dam. In 1927, Tata Power Company had set up Bhira’s hydroelectric plant. The trail adjacent to the Bhira Dam reservoir will fall under the first half an hour of the trek. You can camp here if you want an overnight stay somewhere. The reservoir makes a lovely background.
You will walk a little downhill from here to reach the banks of the reservoir and then you really enter the forest. You will come across two streams which have dried up within a distance of about twenty minutes. It is a wonderful terrain mixed with open areas and overgrown plants.
After this you will again climb upwards which will need you to be energetic. Finally after two hours of trekking from Bhira, you will reach Devkund waterfalls. The cascading water falling from a height of eighty meters creates a beautiful ambience that has to be seen to be believed. Feel like you are in a spa as you dip your feet in the cold water. You will feel heavenly by looking around, seeing the sunlight making the blue water shine. You have to take out your camera or mobile phones and click some photographs. These clicks will be so naturally beautiful, they will need no edits.
What if you feel hungry during the trek?
There are one or two places where you will be able to eat during the Devkund trek. There will be small huts selling chai, lemonade and snacks. But it is always advisable to carry some snacks in your backpack or rucksack during trekking.
Alright, so you must have got an idea of why you should do this trek. You will be seeing Maharashtra’s most enchanting waterfall and enjoying the pool created by the waterfalls. The water of the natural pool will be a lovely mix of green and blue in colour. You will view the Tamhini ghat and trek through the dense jungle.
The highlights of the Devkund Waterfall Trek are having those views of the mountains and thick greenery during the trek. And just the whole trek to reach to watch the water fall from 80 feet height to a pond directly. Where the waterfall is actually an amalgamation of three waterfalls. It is still one of the less explored waterfalls of India. The flora and fauna of Devkund is very vast and enriched. In monsoon, Devkund is infused with a more lively spirit.
It is one of Maharashtra’s hill stations which is near Mumbai. It is famous for its colonial architecture which has been preserved nicely. The meaning of the Matheran is ‘forest on the forehead’. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has declared Matheran as an eco-sensitive region. Matheran is known to have a mild climate. Tourists reach here by the 1907 Neral – Matheran toy train as no motor vehicles are permitted to come here. The Louisa Point (Matheran) and the Panorama Point are the two best spots for sightseeing. The very old Prabal Fort and the waterfall can be properly viewed from the Loisa Point, and the mountains of the Western Ghats can be seen from the Panorama Point.Matheran is India’s one of the smallest hill stations which is approximately at a distance of 120 kms from Pune and 90kms from Mumbai. It is a hill station because it is situated at a height of about 2625 feet (800 m) above sea level. The location of Matheran hill station is on the Western Ghats.
Anytime between the months of October and May is a good time to visit Matheran as the climate remains agreeable throughout the year. But the best time is from October to November. The cool temperature after the monsoon has gone makes the weather too good for sightseeing.
Are there places to stay?
Yes, the market which is located at the heart of Matheran is a proper tourist hub. There are many hotels within walking distances. But if you do not mind walking and staying at a more secluded and serene place, there are luxurious resorts and hotels located amidst the woods on the hills. Some of these are heritage buildings too.
The British had discovered this hill station which is true with most hill stations of India. A man named Hugh Poyntz Malet was Thane’s district collector then. In May 1850, he made others aware of the existence of Matheran hill station. Lord Elphinstone who was then the Governor of Bombay looked after the development of Matheran. The Matheran Light Railway, which is now more than a hundred years old, was built by Adamjee Peerbhoy and his son Abdul Hussein Adamjee Peerbhoy from 1901 -1907. It was expertly built with their experience and expense!
Now if you are someone who likes to take solo trips and loves doing things differently, you must be someone who loves to stroll around on a hill station. You can walk to the marketplace, which is centrally located and talk to the local people there. What’s a visit to a new place if you don’t have a chat with the locals. They are the best people to give you useful information that’ll help you on your whole trip. The people there will also be able to inform you about how to reach the remote viewpoints. A tourist can hire a pony for sightseeing. If you hire a pony, bargain and fix the rate before going on the ride.
It is recommended that you visit the splendid Charlotte Lake by walking. Charlotte Lake is the water source for the town. If you love to trek, start trekking from Ambewadi village to go to One-Tree Hill Top. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the Maratha ruler, had climbed up this route on his horse. This trail is also known as Shivaji’s Steps or Shivaji’s Ladder.
If you are a true nature lover, you can also join one of the nature camps. During the monsoon, there are groups who organise nature camps. You will be able to see different kinds of frogs, geckos and snakes.
Whatever kind of traveller you are, these are few of the things which make Matheran special and you must do them too:
Things to be careful about in Matheran:
When you are solo-tripping on Matheran Hills or even otherwise, it would be good to remember a few things. First is, be alert. There are monkeys and they are good at snatching things from people’s hands, like food and bags. So protect yourself and your belongings like camera, mobile etc. from any possible attack. Second, if you are coming here around monsoon, be careful while trekking. The paths become muddy. The growth of moss around the waterfall and other sightseeing points makes the ground slippery. Thirdly, again stay alert while clicking photographs and selfies and also when you walk around, especially near cliffs. There are viewpoints ending with sharp drops and you can fall down if you misstep.
How to get there? Is a one-day trip enough for Matheran?
If you live nearby and are thinking about driving to Mantheran, rethink as cars are not permitted to enter. What you can do is keep your car at Dasturi car point. You have to pay a parking fee at Dasturi naka. Or from Neral railway stations or Karjat, avail a shuttle bus. Daturi Naka is 80kms from Mumbai by road. You can also reach Matheran from there by walking about 2 kms. Your other options are riding a hand-pulled cart or a pony. If you are coming from other cities and want to travel by train, arrive at Neral Railway Station. Then you can take the toy train if it’s operating or hire a vehicle, you can hire on a sharing basis too with other travellers.
Matheran falls in the Sahyadri range, and there are many places which are calm and peaceful. There are also many places offering a view of the beautiful scenery all around. Other than the waterfalls and lakes, there are 38 viewpoints. Even if you are here for a day, you will be able to cover quite a few attractions which will make the day fun-filled for you. The must-visit spots for you are One Hill Tree Point, Charlotte Lake and Garbett Point, so don’t miss these.
Make a quick trip to Matheran, Devkund and Andharban with us. You can make a big plan later on, when it’s more convenient.
8 PM - Leave by train for base city. Don’t forget your backpack and smile while boarding the train! You will meet your trek leader at either your seats or at the station itself. Don’t worry, your ticket will be booked on your name.
Wake up, freshen up and wear comfortable clothes for the Matheran hike.
10 AM - Arrival at the base city
After deboarding, we’ll head straight to a breakfast place. The regular Idli and Dosa will be given a miss. When in Maharashtra, it has to be typical Maharashtrian fare. Vada Pav and/ Poha please!
2 PM - Arrive at Matheran Dasturi Parking area which is the entrance to Matheran. First we will walk to our accommodation to keep our luggage. Then it’s time for Charlotte Lake!
3 PM - We’ll start our journey towards the mesmerising Charlotte Lake. It is an easy trail and doesn’t involve a lot of terrain.
5PM - Time to return to our accommodation
7PM - We’ll reach our dorm and have dinner. After that, we will visit the Matheran Main Centre. You can see the restaurants here and do some shopping too. How about buying some snacks for the next day’s trek?
5 AM - Rise with the wakeup call. After freshening up quickly, we’ll hike towards one of Matheran’s famous viewpoints - One Tree Hill!
6:30 AM - Reach our destination. DON’T forget to click some amazing photos to show family and friends back home.
7:30 AM - We will start returning to the dorm but not before visiting Alexander point!
8:30 AM - Freshen up quickly after reaching the stay. Again, wear appropriate clothes for trekking as we will be directly reaching the starting point of Andharban Trail.
9 AM - Head towards Dasturi Parking Are. We’ll have breakfast on the way.
10 AM - Arrive at Dasturi point and start our journey towards Andharban!
2 PM - Starting of the real trek. During monsoon, it is one of the most scenic routes. Always adhere to the instructions given by our trek leader and you will be safe. The terrain is not difficult.
7 PM - We’ll arrive at Bhira Village Base and reach our homestay.
4 AM - Wake up call. Freshen up quickly as it’s time to visit Devkund Falls!
5 AM - For going to Devkund Falls, we have to do a lot of walking. So even if it’s very early, we’ll have our breakfast.
5:30 AM - Trekking starts on the easy terrain. Reminder: Listen to our trek leader’s instructions and follow them for remaining safe.
8:30 AM - Get your camera out, we’ve reached the falls!
9 AM - Time to return back
11:30 AM - Reach homestay, take our luggage and start heading towards Pune. We have a train to catch!
3 PM - Arrive at Pune and get on our sleeper class train to HYD.
IMPORTANT - During monsoon, Devkund might be closed to tourists. If that happens, we’ll have a Plan B ready!
3 AM - Reach Hyderabad early in the morning.