There is no better way to find solitude than to get up close with Mother Nature. One such incredible creation is the Andharban Forest or the Dark Forest near Pimpri in Maharashtra. A dense forest with luscious and thick foliage, it is located at an hour and a half’s distance from Lonavala. These woods are ideal for a monsoon trek with a trail that will take you through scenic landscapes, stunning waterfalls and much more.
Renowned for its misty lush greens, the Andharban trek is packed with admirable surprises and breathtaking scenery. You can catch sight of timeless waterfalls and even walk over them! The forest is part of the Sahayadri Ranges and is home to several species of flora and fauna. The thick canopies of the trees make it difficult for the sunrays to pass through causing the forest to be dark at most times. This place remains unscathed by the humans and hence makes for a dreamy getaway.
Where is Andharban?
- Location: Pimpri, In Tamhini Ghat, Maharashtra
- Altitude: 2160 feet
- Trek Time: Approximately 5 hours (13 kilometres)
- Difficulty level: Easy
Best Time to Visit Andharban
The best time to get the most out of your Andharban Trek is during and around monsoon. Pre-monsoon, monsoon and right after a monsoon, i.e., June to September are the best months. The months October to January also make for an ideal time for the trek. Being winter months, the forest at this time is covered in a thick blanket of mist, giving it a mystical look.
How to reach Andharban?
The Andharban forest is set in the Pimpri district of Maharashtra and the trek starts from there too. There are three ways to reach the woods.
- Road: You may start from Lonavala to reach Pimpri via a cab or bus. Mumbaikars can opt for self-drive cars as they prove to cause the least hassle. People coming from other cities can alternatively reach Pimpri through Pune by a private taxi or cab.
- Rail: There is no dearth of trains from Mumbai to Pune or Lonavala. According to your comfort, you may try the Pune Intercity or Deccan Express and Udyan Express; and if you are coming from the North of Mumbai, you may go for the Hazrat Nizamuddin Express.
- Flight: You can directly fly to Pune from your home city followed by taking a cab to Pimpri.
First of all, decide if you require a travel guide or not for the trek and plan the trek accordingly. Get ready to be an early bird as the trek starts early in the morning. Kick start your adrenaline-packed adventure from Independent Point near the Pimpri Dam. The trail is followed by the breathtaking scenery of the water from the Bira Dam. The forest remains dense and dark till here. The trekking trail then leads you to open poppy fields and stunning views of Kundalika valley. It again descends into the dark later after which you reach the Bhirdi Village.
Prep yourself for the descent through the Konkan route by taking refreshment break here in the village. With some of the routes being similar, you will cross the waters of the Bhira Dam to reach Patnus Village on your way back. The village houses some eateries and lounges and thus you may opt to stay here for the night. And that’s how your encounter with nature and its marvels comes to an end.
So, who’s up for vanishing into nature’s abode?