Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga in the Holy Month of Savan

If you have ever wondered about visiting the Bhimashankar temple, while the Monsoon season is magical, if it's coinciding with Savan months, then be prepared for long wait times and traffic jams.

TRAVEL BLOG

SUNIL K SINGH

10/25/20222 min read

This blog is about my experience last year traveling to the Bhimashankar temple, what should have been a 1 day visit to Lonavala turned into an experience worth sharing. If you find a mention of Lonavala in my blog every second, then the reason is the place.

This blog is about my experience last year traveling to the Bhimashankar temple, what should have been a 1 day visit to Lonavala turned into an experience worth sharing. If you find a mention of Lonavala in my every other blog, then the reason is the place. While Lonavala is super-marketed, it offers everything for a short weekend. PS, I love the monsoon season and hill stations are magical with all the vegetation and mist that surrounds them.

Drive to Lonavala: The Usual, Yet Exciting

It was the 05th of August last year (2022), and like every day in monsoons, it was raining in Thane. So, nothing unusual there, getting bored in my flat, I was imagining the lush green mountains and a long drive to Lonavala. Adding fuel to the fire was the day being a Friday, I couldn't help but convinced my family for one of the many 1 day trips to Lonavala. So the plan was to travel to Lonavala stay in Hotel Chandralok, go sightseeing, and plan for the next day. We started in the morning at 10 from Thane and reached Hotel Chandralok by 1 in the afternoon.

This hotel is located in the middle of the city, while entry to the road to the hotel is congested, the hotel in itself is of decent size and offers a decent parking space. We checked in, it was a Suite, there were two rooms separated by two bathrooms in the middle. Near the hall was a small kitchenette. Equipped with A sofa-bed in the hall, fridge, and beds. The kitchenette had everything for small party glasses, plates, and cutlery. and seating space near the French windows. Not bad! We booked it through MMT and got the room for INR 4,000. On a weekend the tariff is in the range of 7-10k. Everything was set a good deal, good weather, and a happy family what was not yet decided was where would we go the next day.

We reached Lonavala in the afternoon and had lunch typically, we often find ourselves sleeping after traveling, and just doing things at our own pace. That day we chose to head straight to our fav spot Tiger Point, a must say the time was well utilized. See the pics above about the happy time we spent at Tiger Point, with clouds playing hide and seek, I remember it was cold out there. We enjoyed breathtaking views for some 30 minutes and soaked in the rain and fresh oxygen.

By the time we came back, it was getting dark, if your hotel is in the city or someplace else, and you are not a jackass driver, it's better to drive down. The reasons are:

  • Clouds that interfere with visibility,

  • The roads are narrow roads, there are sharp bends

  • And the road markings are often missing near bends making it difficult to turn the car in the appropriate angles.

Without much hustle and bustle, we were back in the hotel, where we had already tasted the delicious food, so we ordered snacks and dinner. As we spoke, Babli and I discussed where to go next where we have not yet traveled. After looking up and asking where to go we decided to go to Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga the next day. If you are wondering whom we asked we went around asking our neighbors in the hotel and the staff! if that sounds lame to you, then please spare your judgment, I am kidding here!

It was the usual expert (Mr. Google).

Drive to Bhimashankar: Up for a surprise

The next day morning we started from Lonavala and headed to Bhimashankar, the distance was around 100 kilometers. We chose the route shown on Google Maps and didn't quite bother checking alternate routes. I do remember that it took us from villages and it was not the main route. While the drive was scenic, the roads weren't the best, and the fact that there were very few cars on this road. It often left me wondering if we were headed in the right direction. With a lot of doubts in our minds and courage in our hearts, we continued and reached a point where we joined the other vehicles heading in the same direction. I don't know from where we came, from where they came, but everything seemed alright now. Call it herd mentality! Soon after we reached Bhimashankar temple, what we saw was unbelievable to me.

I saw long serpentine queues of vehicles (running into a ~kilometer) and at this time, it dawned upon me that it was the holy month of Savan. Not that we are complete Nastiks and weren't aware but it just didn't occur to me we just conveniently forgot that it was the peak time. We parked our car on what was a makeshift parking with thousands of vehicles and had to take a shuttle that was being run from Parking to the temple. The distance must have been 5-6 km and on the way, I saw tens of makeshift parking that were full. So the idea is that the earlier you reach, the closest you get to parking your car. It was drizzling and the entire stretch was covered in clouds.

After reaching the spot, we headed for the home run (Darshan), albeit the most difficult part given the crowd, who descended in 1000s, I learned that people were in the line since as early as 4 AM. So we found a guide who helped us with VIP darshan as it wasn't just our cup of tea to stand in the queue for 12 hours. With the help of the guide, we entered the VIP queue and managed to complete the darshan in close to 3 hours. Had some Nashta-Pani in the stalls near the temple and clicked some pictures. We were getting late, I had booked our stay in Lonavala. Again boarded the shuttle and reached the parking. However this time I was aware and asked around to stay on the highway. It took us 3-4 hours again to reach Lonavala. I forgot to mention that I also considered staying in MTDC Bhimashankar for a minute, looked like a decent place, close to the temple (10 Kilometers), and covered in clouds. It was 9 PM by the time we reached Lonavala, tired from the journey but so happy that we could visit Bhimashankar in the auspicious month of Savan, unplanned. Had our dinner, had fun with the kids, and went to sleep, so the two-day trip came to an end. Checked into reality the next day from the fairytale of clouds, meadows, lakes, valleys, peaks, and some delicious food.

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