Andharban, also known as the Dark Forest is located near Pimpri in Maharashtra, about 1.5 hours from Lonavala. It is an ideal place for a monsoon trek, with the evergreen Sahyadri and the misty landscapes of Tamhini Ghat for company.
This time of the year, the abundant foliage, cascading waterfalls and amazing species of flora and fauna that you get to spot along the way make the trek all the more special. What’s interesting, however, is that people are allowed to go night-trekking as well in Andharban.
Located at an altitude of 2,160 feet above sea level, the 13 kilometres trail takes approximately 5 hours to cover. So, it’s not exactly an easy trek; some amount of stamina and will is required to undertake it.
The trek starts from a place called Independent Point near Pimpri Dam. It’s recommended that you take a guide with you especially if its your first time on the trail. Start early in the morning; the initial climb will include crossing dense forests and plenty of streams until you come out on top of a wall adjoining Pimpri Dam that’ll lead you to an open area, replete with poppy fields.
Enjoy the stunning views of Kundalika Valley here, before you gradually enter the dark of the forest after a few winding routes. You can stop at Bhirdi Village for a small refreshment break, before you begin your descent on the Konkan route.
Once you’re past Bhirdi Village, you will trek on a flatter ground amidst the backwaters of Bira Dam, until you finally cross a river, and reach Patnus Village.
You can either stay at one of the lodges in Patnus Village or enjoy lakeside camping at Bhira Dam. Alternatively, you can return to Mumbai, Lonavala or Pune the same day. It’s best to hire a self-driven car if you’re coming straight from Mumbai or Pune.