Forum > Travel > Bhimashankar Travel Guide: Exploring the Divine Abode in the Sahyadri Range

Posted by Neha Rawat on September 30, 2023


Nestled amidst the lush greenery of the Western Ghats, Bhimashankar is a sacred pilgrimage destination and a haven for nature enthusiasts. Located in the Pune district of the Indian state of Maharashtra, this tranquil town offers a perfect blend of spirituality, adventure, and natural beauty. In this comprehensive Bhimashankar travel guide, we will embark on a journey to uncover the many facets of this enchanting destination, including its location, significance, history, natural attractions, trekking trails, temples, accommodation options, and local cuisine.

Location and Significance of Bhimashankar

Bhimashankar is situated in the Sahyadri Range of the Western Ghats, approximately 125 kilometers from Pune and 270 kilometers from Mumbai. The town's name is derived from the Bhimashankar Temple, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas (self-existent linga of Lord Shiva) in India, making it an integral part of the Maharashtra Panch Jyotirlinga tour. This divine temple is a major draw for pilgrims seeking Lord Shiva's blessings.

The region surrounding Bhimashankar is known for its rich biodiversity and forms part of the Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is home to diverse flora and fauna, making it a hotspot for ecotourism and wildlife enthusiasts.

History of Bhimashankar

Mythological Significance

The history of Bhimashankar is closely tied to Hindu mythology, particularly to the tales of Lord Shiva. According to one of the most prominent legends, Bhimashankar is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva, in his form as Bhima, defeated the demon Tripurasura. This epic battle between good and evil led to the formation of the Bhima River. As a result, the region became sacred, and the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was constructed to commemorate this divine event.

Temple Architecture

The Bhimashankar Temple's architecture showcases intricate carvings and dates back to the 18th century. The temple, constructed in the Nagara architectural style, is an architectural marvel in itself. Its black stone lingam (a symbol of Lord Shiva) is a central attraction. The temple complex also includes shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Hanuman.

Over the centuries, the temple has undergone renovations and enhancements, maintaining its cultural and historical significance. The carvings on the temple walls narrate stories from Hindu mythology, adding to its allure.

Maratha Empire Connection

During the reign of the Maratha Empire, the dense forests surrounding Bhimashankar had strategic importance. These forests served as a source of timber for shipbuilding, contributing to the Maratha naval strength. The region's historical connection to the Maratha Empire is a testament to its significance in the past.

Pilgrimage Destination

Throughout its history, Bhimashankar has drawn pilgrims and devotees from far and wide who come to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. The temple has played a pivotal role in preserving and propagating Hindu culture and spirituality.

Bhimashankar Today

Today, Bhimashankar stands as a symbol of spirituality, attracting not only devotees but also nature enthusiasts, trekkers, and wildlife lovers. Its historical and mythological roots continue to enrich its cultural heritage, making it a destination where the past and the present harmoniously coexist. Bhimashankar remains a place of devotion, adventure, and natural beauty, inviting travelers to explore its unique blend of history and spirituality.

Natural Attractions in Bhimashankar

1. Bhorgiri Village

Nestled in the Sahyadri Range, Bhorgiri Village is known for its scenic beauty and tranquil ambiance. It's an excellent spot for nature enthusiasts and photographers. The village offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

2. Ahupe Waterfalls

Ahupe Waterfalls is a hidden gem located in the vicinity of Bhimashankar. The trek to reach these cascading falls takes you through dense forests and offers a rewarding view of the picturesque waterfalls.

3. Ozarkhed Dam

Approximately 20 kilometers from Bhimashankar, Ozarkhed Dam is a popular picnic spot. Surrounded by lush greenery and offering boating facilities, it's a perfect place to relax and enjoy the serene surroundings.

4. Padarwadi Village

Padarwadi Village is a quaint village with traditional Maharashtrian architecture. It provides a glimpse into rural life in the Sahyadri Range and is a great place to interact with the locals and understand their way of life.

5. Kondana Caves

Located near Karjat, Kondana Caves are ancient Buddhist rock-cut caves that date back to the 1st century BC. These caves are known for their intricate sculptures and ancient inscriptions, making them a historically significant site.

6. Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary

While visiting the Bhimashankar Temple, don't forget to explore the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to a variety of wildlife, including Indian giant squirrels, leopards, and diverse bird species. It's a paradise for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers.

7. Kothaligad (Peth Fort)

For trekking enthusiasts, Kothaligad, also known as Peth Fort, is a nearby attraction. The trek to the fort offers stunning panoramic views of the Sahyadri Range and a chance to explore historical structures.

8. Siddhagad Fort

Siddhagad Fort is another trekking destination in the vicinity of Bhimashankar. The fort is known for its scenic beauty and offers a moderate trekking experience with a rewarding view from the top.

9. Ratangad Fort

Ratangad Fort is a historic hill fort located near Bhimashankar. The trek to Ratangad is relatively challenging but offers an opportunity to explore ancient architecture and enjoy breathtaking vistas.

10. Shivneri Fort

Shivneri Fort, the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, is a historically significant attraction in the region. The fort showcases Maratha architecture and is a popular destination for history buffs.

Trekking Trails in Bhimashankar

Bhimashankar offers various trekking trails for adventure enthusiasts:

  1. Ganesha Ghat: This trekking trail starts from Karjat and leads to Bhimashankar. It's a challenging trek that takes you through dense forests and offers a chance to witness the region's diverse wildlife.

  2. Siddhi Ghat: This trail begins from Khandas Village and is relatively less strenuous. It's known for its picturesque landscapes and leads trekkers through lush greenery and serene waterfalls.

  3. Gupt Bhimashankar Trek: A short trek leading to the Gupt Bhimashankar cave, offering a unique and spiritually enriching experience.

Bhimashankar Temple

The Bhimashankar Temple, an architectural marvel, is the primary attraction in the town. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple's black stone lingam is a sight to behold. The intricate carvings on the temple walls narrate tales from Hindu mythology. The temple complex also includes shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Hanuman.

Devotees and pilgrims visit Bhimashankar to seek Lord Shiva's blessings and participate in the daily rituals and aartis (prayer ceremonies).

Accommodation in Bhimashankar

Bhimashankar offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels, lodges, and dharamshalas (pilgrim lodges), catering to various budgets. Staying in the lap of nature amidst the Sahyadri Range is a unique experience in itself.

Local Cuisine in Bhimashankar

While in Bhimashankar, do not miss the opportunity to savor the local Maharashtrian cuisine. Try dishes like puran poli, vada pav, poha, and bhakri with pitla. Also, sample the delightful Maharashtrian sweets like ukdiche modak and puranachi poli.


Bhimashankar is not just a pilgrimage destination but a treasure trove of natural beauty and adventure. Whether you seek spiritual solace, a thrilling trekking experience, or a rendezvous with wildlife, this town has something to offer every traveler. Plan your visit to Bhimashankar and immerse yourself in the spiritual and natural wonders of this divine abode in the Sahyadri Range.

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