Bhimashankar & Dimbhe Dam

Bhimashankar Temple is a Jyotirlinga shrine located 50 km northwest of Khed also known as Rajguru Nagar, near Pune. It is located in the Ghat regions of the Sahyadri hills. The Bhimashankar temple is a composite of old and new structures in the Nagara style of architecture. It shows the excellency of the skills achieved by ancient Vishwakarma sculptors. The temple lies within the 131 sq km area marked as Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary. This sanctuary was created in 1984 and includes 9 tribal villages. The area’s biodiversity has been retained as it will be preserved as a cluster of sacred groves for generations. The sanctuary harbours a large diversity of endemic & specialised flora and fauna. Sanctuary is home to the state animal of Maharashtra- Ratufa indica elphistonii, subspecies of the Indian Giant squirrel that is one of three threatened Indo-Malyan squirrel species. The particular subspecies found here are endemic to Bhimashankar. Important mammals reported from the sanctuary are carnivores like Leopard Panthera pardus, Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena and Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Sambar Cervus unicolour, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Wild boar Sus scrofa, Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus, Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta and the Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna. The Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata is also reported. Sanctuary is rich in specialised and endemic reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and insects. During the monsoon (rainy season), various species of mosses and epiphytes including bioluminescent fungi can be seen on the trees.

Dimbhe dam, is a gravity dam on Ghod River near Ambegaon, Pune district. The dam is located in the Ghod basin and is part of the Kukadi project, which constructed five dams in the region. Other dams included in this project are Yedgaon Dam, Manikdoh Dam, Pimpalgaon Joge Dam and Wadaj Dam. A 5 MW powerhouse is also built at the foot of this dam.

Legend: Long ago, in the dense forests of Dakini, on the lofty ranges of the Sahyadris lived the evil Asura by the name Bhīmā with his mother Karkati. The divine and the mortals were scared of him alike. He urged his mother to tell him who his father was and why he had abandoned them in the wilderness of the forest. After much hesitation and with a lingering fear Karkati, his mother revealed to him that he was the son of the mighty Kumbhakarna, King Ravana of Lanka. Infuriated Bhima vowed to take revenge on Lord Vishnu who in his incarnation as Lord Rama annihilated Kumbhakarna. He performed severe penance to please Lord Brahma and thus acquired immense power. He created havoc in the three world. He also defeated a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva – Kāmaroopeshwar and put him in the dungeons. Lord Shiva came to rescue his disciple and a terrible war began. Lord Shiva brought an end to the demon and manifested himself in the form of the Bhīmāshankar Jyotirlinga.

History: It is a modest yet graceful temple and it dates back to the 13th century while the sabhamandap was built in the 18th century by Nana Phadnavis. The shikhara was built by Nana Phadnavis. The great Maratha ruler Shivaji is said to have made endowments to this temple to facilitate worship services. As with other Shiva temples in this area, the sanctum is at a lower level. A unique Roman style bell can be seen in front of the temple. This bell has an idol of Mother Mary with Jesus.This large bell was presented by Chimaji Appa, younger brother of Peshwa I. Chimaji Appa collected five large bells after he won a war against the Portuguese from the Vasai Fort. He offered one at Bhimashankar.

*(All the above information are from Wikipedia.)

Transport:

Airport: The nearest airport is Pune International Airport at a distance of 130 km.

Rail: Pune Railway station is the nearest railway station which is connected to many major cities.

Road: Bhimashankar is 127 km from Pune by road. State transport buses run daily from Pune to Bhimashankar. It is also accessible by road to Mumbai, Nashik and Aurangabad.

Local: Regular State Transport buses ply from Pune. Auto Rickshaw and other vehicles are available to different villages on the way and in Bhimashankar too.

Tourist Interest:

Bhimashankar Temple: One of the twelve Jyotirlinga is located here. The temple is within the lush green forest and the road to the temple is interesting.

Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary: Nature lover will find this place amazing for trekking and nature watching with many options to watch some endemic species.

Waterfalls: Before approaching the temple a narrow road for about four kilometres takes you to the waterfall. Rainy season is the only time to see the waterfall.

Hanuman Lake: The Hanuman lake near the temple is a bird watcher’s paradise. Different species of birds can be seen here in different season.

Dimbhe Dam: Enroute Bhimashankar the Dimbhe Dam is situated within a beautiful surrounding.

Tour Planner: Bhimashankar can be covered in a day trip making Puna as a base.

Hotels: There are several hotels near Bhimashankar. Places like Shinoli and Ghodegaon are good for staying near Bhimashankar. While dharamshalas are available for the devotees and can be arranged by taking to the priests and temple authority.

Read my experience in Bhimashankar and Dimbhe Dam.

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