An Experience You Will Cherish Forever: A Complete Guide to Camping at Bhandardara (2020)

An Experience You Will Cherish Forever: A Complete Guide to Camping at Bhandardara (2020)

Under low sunlight, you fall sleep into a comfortable slumber while enjoying twinkling stars in the sky. And, before sunrise, wake up the next morning to the birds chirping. How about spending such a time at a serene place? That’s how camping at Bhandardara feels like. There are many things you can do to witness a memorable experience at the place. Here's is a complete guide for camping in Bhandardara with a list of top 10 things you can do at Bhandardara.

Why Bhandardara is an Ideal Camping Spot?

  • Serene Camping Experience: In the lap of nature, the site brings you a real raw camping adventure experience. Spending some time here lets you attain a high comfort level and go back to the fundamentals of living. Chirping birds across green forests, hills reflecting in the water, soothing waterfall sound, starry nights, cosy bonfire, and chilly winds are some things you can enjoy at this one spot. In short, the Bhandardara camping spot has a serene and tranquil environment to re-align your senses with nature.

  • A Perfect Spot for Astrophotography Lovers: The darkest of the night sky with almost no pollution around. Get the delight of watching the milky way as well as many galaxies and stars with naked eyes that you would never see from the crowded cityscape. And, that’s exactly what astrophotography lovers yearn for. If you are also one, you can capture amazing pictures of Milky Way and star trails.

  • Fireflies Camping: At Bhandardara, one of the great tourist attractions is fireflies camping. Set up in the area of Purushwadi, it provides you a camping experience that you would never forget. Camping with the glowing fireflies under the night’s dark sky is mesmerizing enough to engulf your mind and soul and leave you a natural smile on your face.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Camping at Bhandardara

How to Reach?

The best way to reach the place is on your private vehicle by road. Though public transport may make your journey tiring because of poor road patches, the journey goes comfortable with several restrooms and restaurants along the highway.

  • Reaching from Mumbai: Bhandardara is almost 160-190 km away from the Mumbai city, and by road, the approximate journey duration is of 3.5-4 hours. The highway that connects the campsite to Mumbai is NH3.

  • Reaching from Pune: Bhandardara is 170 km away from Pune, and it takes around 4.5-5 hours to cover the distance. You can take either of the two connecting highways, SH 21 and NH 50.

  • Public transport: 45 km away from the Lgatpuri Station and 60 km away from the Kasara station, Bhandardara is connected through public transport as well. You also have the options of trains including Mahanagri Express, Howrah Mail, Nandigram Express train, Kolkata Mail operating from CST to Igatpuri.

  • Ask a Camping Organiser for Pickup: If you still feel uncomfortable reaching on your own, you can ask your organiser for a to and fro service from the Kasara station. And you can reach Kasara station on a local train. With camps being organised at weekends, trains are not much crowded. You can also get other details from the camping organizer, such as the train you need to catch and the destination or pickup point. Ensure that you get a copy of the itinerary from your organizer to not miss anything.

Things to Carry for Camping at Bhandardara

Though organisers will provide several things, you must carry things like water, warm clothes, mosquito repellent, food, extra clothes’ pair, and first aid kit. Also, keep your packing as small as possible to avoid further problems due to excess luggage. Other things that you need to carry are:

  • Identity proof
  • Camera or cap (optional)
  • Food items that are ready to make/eat such as chocolates, plum cakes, biscuits, and fruits
  • Extra pair of clothes and socks (optional)
  • One packet of enerzal, electrol, and glucon-D
  • Some woolen clothes because the temperature reduces at night
  • Torch with extra batteries and two liters of water is must
  • Medication for an individual if needed
  • Avoid precious ornaments

Pack all the above-mentioned things in a backpack or haversack, so your hands are free while trekking. Bags like Jholas, trolly bags, and sling bags are a strict no for camping.

Where to Stay at Bhandardara?

You will get various facilities close to the lake from individuals and agencies, including camping, transport, and tents with food. Travel organisers and agencies might charge around 1-1.5k per person for camping place facilities like bonfire, food, and tent. If you desire to enjoy a fully independent experience, you can carry your camp and tents at various places close to the lake.

In case, camping does not suit you; you can choose to stay at a decent hotel, for which, some popular choices are listed here:

  • Govt Hotel/MTDC Resort (TripAdvisor rating is 3.5 out of 5): Price ranges between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 5,000 that varies with demand and season. Restaurant features include free parking, AC rooms, and room service.

  • The Anandvan Resort (TripAdvisor rating is 4 out of 5): Price varies between Rs. 3000 and Rs. 7000 based on tourist demand. You get a breakfast buffet, room service, free parking, a restaurant lounge or bar, and AC rooms.

  • Yash Resort (TripAdvisor rating is 4 out of 5): With a cost range of Rs. 3500-9000, you can get access to an outdoor pool and tennis court as well. Other features are free parking, breakfast, and free Wi-Fi. The resort also provides a rooftop terrace, 24-hour room service, and a meeting room.

Where to Eat at Bhandardara?

Various homes and small shacks serve food to tourists at camping spots and treks. Here’s a list of popular restaurants at central locations across Bhandardara.

  • Pancha Sheel: The restaurant is famous for serving Indian cuisines, and the average dining price is Rs. 550 for two persons. It’s rated 4 out of 5 on TripAdvisor and offers Chinese as well. Here, chicken dishes are enjoyable and popular also. The place lies near the MTDC, Bhandardara, Maharashtra, India.

  • Coffee Dam Corner: The restaurant is known for its snacks and beverages. And, the price for two persons is Rs. 300. It provides a variety of bhajias, snacks, and vadas along with tea. Lying near ST bus stand, Bhandardara, Maharashtra, India, this place is rated 3.5 on TripAdvisor.

  • Lakeview Restaurant: This restaurant is famous for its Indian cuisines and the average price for two is Rs. 400. It provides a splendid view with both non-vegetarian as well as vegetarian options. You must try deserts here. The location is near MTDC hotel, Bhandardara, Maharashtra, India.

  • Hotel Kaka: This hotel is highly recommended and offers a thali at costs ranging from Rs. 120 to Rs. 150. It serves tasty and authentic Gujarati food for dinner and lunch. The TripAdvisor rating is 4.5, and you can place your order before visiting the restaurant.

Best Time to Visit Bhandardara

  • The best time to go camping at Bhandardara is from June to March because the climate is pleasant as well as chilled. And, you can enjoy your trip with full fun.

  • Months from July to September are perfect for enjoying the greenery and waterfall throughout the hills because it’s the peak of monsoon season there.

  • October to February is good for activities like trekking, camping as well as for those in-air activities. You also get a perfect setting for a barbeque.

Summer season is normally dry and hot, and it is not the best time to go. But, you can get discounts on hotel prices during the offseason, the lake is still beautifully strinkling with a pleasant evening.

Things to do While Camping at Bhandardara

Camp Around Lakeside

The camp trip is an outdoor activity that includes staying away from home overnight in a caravan, tent, or a motorhome. Normally, participants spend their outdoor time amidst nature doing some activities for fun. Camping is regarded as an outing wherein you spend at least one night outdoor that sets it apart from picnicking, day-tripping, and other recreational activities of short-term.

At Bhandardara camping, you get an exciting lakeside escape to get rid of the stress and tiredness of city life. You also experience rejuvenating and serene landscapes. Staying in camping tents at Bhandardara lake’s banks with various facilities such as barbeque, boating, toilets, campfire, etc. is a natural delight. These tents are wonderfully decorated that enhance your stay experience.

Gaze at the Stars

Bhandardara is a perfect place to shoot amazing stars at night time. At this spot, the sky is clear, the atmosphere is silent, and the surroundings are dark, which makes it best for stargazing. You can gaze at the stars while lying along with your closed ones or friends.

Grill Your Own Food/Snacks

During Bhandardara camping, you can go completely natural and grill your snacks and food. From frankfurters, meatballs, kababs, and chicken salamis to paneer, aloo tikki, and veg kababs, you can grill and eat anything you desire. Add ketchup and mustard for taste. The best part about these is that they are easy to cook. And, most of the campers like to grill their food or snacks on the camp.

Dance, Sing, and Play Games Around Campfire

At the campsite, lighting up a campfire adds warmth and light. However, you can also use its heat for cooking. Further, the fire also acts as a deterrent for insects, predators, and beacons. Campfire is also a famous camping feature, and campers love this for natural warmth. There are some fun activities usually performed around this fire, such as singing and dancing at night to add more memories to the trip.

Enjoy the Soothing Sunrise

It’s not an easy task to sleep outdoors and wakes up to chilling mornings, but the delight of watching beautiful sunrise makes it worth it. The reflection of sun rising above Arthur Lake and the mountains is distinctly seen from the camping spot. See the unique phenomenon of how the sky changes its colours which is a common view during mornings at Bhandardara.

Take a Boat Ride in Arthur Lake

The most beautiful and the largest lake across the country is Arthur lake at Bhandardara. And, boating is one of the exciting activities during camping for which you can use recreational boats like sailboats, paddleboats, rowing, or powerboats. Further, Arthur lake is distinguished by warm summer winds in addition to calm and cold water, making it a perfect spot for boating.

Here, you can take the benefits of the ecosystem’s exceptional elements. Anandvan provides special opportunities to their guests to enjoy the waterways and companion. You can select to peddle the boat or row it in-between.

Trek up the Sandhan Valley

With significant canyons in the mountain ranges of Sahyadri, Sandhan Valley is a great combination of a valley and a canyon. It is situated in the Nagar district, which is close to the popular Ratangad fort. Besides, Sandhan Valley is also referred to as the Valley of Suspense.

You get an experience of a lifetime while walking via narrow valley streak with 300 feet on both the sides of rock walls. Trekking at the Sandhan Valley is an unforgettable outing while the icing on the cake comes in when you stay overnight along the valley’s reservoir side under the dark sparkling sky.

Relish the Google Bhajiyas

At the Dam Corner café, you must not miss the Google bhajiyas. It is the first thing that’s served during the evening to campers. These bhajiyas make everyone go crazy for their taste.

Enjoy Natural Views With a Jeep Top Ride

Adventure-loving campers would do anything to experience a ride on the top of a jeep within mountains. Across the inner parts that are characteristics of the countryside, drivers drive in between Shendi and Ghoti. And, during this path, you are allowed to sit on the rooftop of the jeep. Don’t miss to enjoy the mountains and valleys' view beside them from that top.

Click Selfies and Group Images Around the Lake

No trip is complete without a collection of group pictures and selfies. You can pick spots where you can get an easy view of the lake in selfies and group pictures. While group pictures serve as memories of the trip, you can use selfies for various purposes. Show off to your colleagues in the office or friends at college. Or, you can also put it as a display photo on social accounts or your phone’s wallpaper.

Campsites/Operators Available for a Hassle-Free Experience

Sunrise Camping at Bhandardara

Set up at Bhandardara’s picturesque location, the cam takes you to the natural beauty of Arthur Lake. You will spend a night beside the lake in tents after a fun-filled campfire session in the evening, including various activities and games. The peaceful night stay ends with a serene morning experience to the golden light at the sunrise sparkling over the lake’s water.

This camping tour includes travel arrangements from Kasara to Bhandardara and back in a private jeep. You get twin/triple-sharing tent accommodation for one night along with mattresses, blankets/sheets, veg evening snacks, veg/non-veg dinner, and veg breakfast. However, travel accommodation from your home to Kasara isn’t included. Also, you might need to bear costs for extra food/beverages and those caused by unforeseen circumstances.

The itinerary starts with a jeep from operators picking up campers from Kasara railway station at 3:00 pm, followed by a 2-hour drive to Bhandardara, evening snacks, and night arrangements. The next day, you will get breakfast and can capture some pictures followed by departure for Kasara at around 9:30 am. The trip ends when campers reach Kasara railway station at around 11:30 am.

This camping tour is provided by Sumeru Trekkers at the rate of Rs. 1,750 per person with a maximum group size of 50 campers allowed.

Bhandardara Lakeside Camping

This tour offers a night of lakeside camping at Bhandardara lake. Campers can enjoy a bonfire, star-gazing, peaceful night stay, and other fun activities. The tour includes camping accommodation in tents, barbecue, unlimited food, games, and music. Though travel accommodation isn’t included, you can get by paying an extra amount. However, food is included for dinner, breakfast, snacks, and bbq with an option of veg & non-veg for dinner.

The itinerary starts with campers reaching the campsite at 3:30 pm and get some free time to wander around before orientation at 4:00 pm. This follows high tea, snacks, and games at 5:00 pm, then BBQ at 7:30 pm, and finally dinner, music, and campfire at midnight. The next morning starts at 7:00 am, and you get to enjoy the sunrise and breakfast until 9:00 am. After some leisure time, around 10:00 am, campers leave after check out at 11:00 am.

Camping tents on a 2/3 sharing basis, blankets, mattresses, washroom facility are also included. You are allowed to bring alcohol as well as use common facilities and amenities at the site. Adventure Club Pune provides the tour at the cost of Rs. 1,200 per person.

Fireflies Special Bhandardara Camping

The tour lets you experience the sight of fireflies, glorious tiny creatures besides the breathtaking Sahyadri ranges. Few days before the end of monsoon, Bhandardara witnesses the arrival of fireflies who start emitting a glow by sparkling and shining. The reason for their shine is to attract prey or mates, and this phenomenon of theirs adds magic to summer nights of campers. You can play with them and also click photographs for a long life memory.

Local transportation to and from Kasara is included. On the FnB list, inclusions include a welcome drink, barbeque, evening snacks, dinner, and breakfast. Other additions are boating, tent stays, fun games, activities, and basic first aid. Mineral water, insurance, and transportation between Mumbai and Kasara are not included. Campers will be taken from Kasara at 2:00 pm to the campsite and welcomed with a drink. This will follow witnessing sunset while boating and a pleasant walk beside the lake come next. You enjoy evening barbeque, night club, fun activities, and games before dinner with music and dance. And then, the most-awaited part of sighting fireflies comes. The next morning starts with blissful greenery around, and hot tea served.

Then, explore the campsite, click some pictures, and then pack your tents for check out. Since fireflies arrive at a specific period only, the camp is organised on particular dates. Hikerwolf doesn’t take any responsibility for the low sighting of fireflies. The tour is available at a starting price range of Rs. 1,799 per person, and you can opt for travel accommodation from and to Mumbai for
Rs. 2,199.

From our editorial team

Bhandardara is the Perfect Weekend Getaway!

The Arthur lake’s green-blue and glistening water surrounded by lush green mountains make it a great visual to the eyes. Wilson Dam, Kalsubai Peak, Umbrella Falls, and Randha Falls are among other famous attractions of the place. Bhandardara is in Maharashtra’s district, Ahmednagar that lies 185 km away from Mumbai. Easily accessible via road, this is a perfect camping location with amazing surroundings and tasty food items prepared on challah. Also, you get an opportunity to make new friends during the camp.