Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bhimashankar - The Sacred Forest (12th to 14th Dec'08)

Date: 12th December , 2008 morning 6.30 am to 14th December, 2008 eve 8.00 pm

The bookings for Bhimashankar bird-watching trip have started… your seats now (see the details at the end).....



The beauty of the Western Ghats, the majesty of Sahayadri mountains, and the blessings of lord “Shiva” make this place a real treat for the nature lovers. The Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most beautiful wildlife sanctuaries in India rich in birds and insects, butterflies and wildflowers, reptiles and medicinal plants.

Bhimashankar Sanctuary has always been my favorite forest and on more than 30 occasions that I visited this place, I always had magnificent experiences of nature’s wonders. The tranquility that this place offers, far from the maddening human world, is something that will make you visit this place again and again and again……such is the magic of Bhimashankar – the Sacred Forest.

This forest was declared by the govt. of Maharashtra on 10th Oct 1985 as a reserve forest for the Malabar Giant Squirrel also called as “Shekru” in Marathi, the state animal of Maharashtra and a huge number of other animals and birds. It covers a forest area of 130.78 sq. km.

The Sanctuary is positioned at an altitude of 2,100 feet to 3,800 feet. It is located in the Ambegaon taluka of Pune district, Maharashtra, in fact it spreads over Pune, Raigad and Thane districts of the north-western part of Maharashtra. The Bhimashankar temple situated here is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples of Lord Shiva and is visited by hundreds of devotees. However, due to the long distance and poor facilities, this is also one of the less visited “Jyotirlingas” ……. which is good for the forest :-)

The valley found beyond this temple is a wonderful combination of shrubs, medicinal herbs and plant life and serves as the catchment area for the Bhima, Ghod and Arala rivers, which empty into the Krishna. It receives heavy monsoon rainfall of approx. 6000 mm annually.

This is one of the best habitats in the Western Ghats for the Malabar giant squirrel and there are confirmed sightings of tigers too. However, tourism projects which seek to build in the heart of the forest threaten the arboreal ecology of these creatures. Proposed roads also threaten the forest, as do development projects designed to cater to the needs of pilgrims who visit the nearby temple complex.

Flora: It contains relic forest with a high diversity of endangered evergreen tree species many of which are endemic to the Western Ghats. The main forest type of this sanctuary is the southern tropical semi evergreen forest. A wide range of plant life, medicinal herbs, and shrubs can be found here. The major flora found in Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary includes Bamboo, Palash, Babul, Bija, Salaia, Tendu, Dhawda, Zizyphus Helicteris, Khair, Sal, Terminenalia sps, Casia auriculata, Bel, Hiwar, Teak, Hirda, Behada, Jamun, Fig, Anjan etc. The commonly found shrubs include varieties of Ixora, Vitex Nigundo, Lantana etc. and many species of herbs, climbers, grass and ferns.

In the monsoon season, one can spot bioluminous fungi growing on some trees. The fungus gives out a faint glow that makes the tree trunks shimmer gently in the darkness of the night.

Fauna: The area is rich in fauna since there are various forest types found in the sanctuary. The wild life found here includes Malabar Giant Squirrel (of the ssp. Ratufa indica elphinstonii), Leopards, Barking Deer, Sambar, Wild Boar, Langur, Hares, Pangolin, Civet cats, and occasionally Hyena. More than 150 species of birds are found in Bhimashankar WLS and the surrounding areas. Among the birds that one encounters here include White-Bellied Blue flycatcher, Puff-throated babbler, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Brown cheeked Fulvetta, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Black Bulbul, Indian Black Bird, Black Eagle, Bonelli’s eagle, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Emerald Doves, Oriental turtle dove, Grey Jungle Fowl and many, many more. One might get to see the great butterfly and moth brigade including several species. The Insect life is tremendous here and the reptiles are in plenty.

There are several well defined trails in the sanctuary to experience the amazing birdlife of this forest …some of them include the Gupt-Bhimashankar trail, Machan trail, Nagphani point, Forest quarters trail, Koli village, Ahupe forest trail etc….

For Details of these trails and much more….please click on my blogs below

I am very happy to organize a Birdwatching trip to Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary from 12th December, 2008 to 14th December 2008……for details, please see below.


Trip Details:

Date: 12th December, 2008 morning 6.30 am to 14th December, 2008 eve 8.00 pm

Mode of Travel : Minibus (a journey of about 6 hrs…..approx.250 kms)

Meeting point: Mumbai, from Bandra station east near the foot over bridge, near the rickshaw stand on 12th Dec.mor. 6.30 am departure.

Route: Bandra– Sion -- Thane (Eastern express Highway) – Kalyan (Near Bhiwandi Junction)- Murbad – Malshej Ghat – Junnar - Ghodegaon – reach Hotel Blue Mormon (Bhimashankar) by 1.30 pm.

Rough Tour Iterinary:

1) Friday 12th Dec, 2008 : Travel to Bhimashankar – Check-in Blue Mormon resorts– Lunch and proceed for Birdwatching on Machan Trail – return back to Hotel – Evening activities and Dinner – a Short night walk

2) Saturday 13th Dec, 2008 : Early morning Birdwatching in Gupt Bhimashankar trail – Return to resort for lunch – Rest and Proceed to Nagphani point (the highest point in Bhimashankar) – Return back to hotel – Evening activities and dinner – a short night trail…

3) Sunday 14th Dec, 2008 : Early morning Birdwatching on Ahupe forest trail till Kondhval village and surrounding area - afternoon return back – Pack-up – Lunch and proceed to Mumbai.

A more detailed iterinary will be given to those who register.....

Trip charges : Rs.3850/- (Includes Stay in Hotel Blue-Mormon Resort, Bhimashankar on sharing basis, Travel by 27 seater minibus, Park entry charges, food , Information articles & on board snacks and mineral water)…….

This does not include any charges other than the above.

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmation mail to and by paying a non refundable Advance of Rs.2500/- …..the remaining amount will be collected in the bus on the day of travel.

Stay Arrangement: Hotel Blue-Mormon resorts, approx. 9 kms from Bhimashankar. The Stay arrangement is on a sharing basis (each room has 3 beds or 5 beds each). The Hotel Premises and toilets are clean and the food is lip smacking……The resort is situated in a picturesque hill top plateau, overlooking a forested valley and visited by plenty of birds.

Resource Person: Mr.Adesh Shivkar

Mode of Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the advance money directly to my HDFC A/c (Please send a mail for details).. please mention your name, date and other details….
2) Courier a cheque of Rs.2500/- as advance amount to the following address

Name: Mr.Adesh Shivkar

Address: D/8, The Adi Janata Society, Behind HP Petrolpump, Opp. Hotel Shangrila, Sion(East), Mumbai-400022

Please Note:

1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 2500/- is strictly non-refunadable

2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours

Please revert on ID, in case you need any clarification …..
For any other queries I am available on 9321463362 or 9820455713

Thanks for your patience.

Looking forward for a very rewarding trip with you all !!

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar

Nature India

Appreciate, Respect and Conserve

1 comment:

29028 Adventure World said...

Dear Aadesh,
Really nice information with very good photographs.

All the best.

If you can add some more Nature exploration activities through adventure and survival skills, it would have been more appealing to youths /software guys....


Jayant Dofey