Bhandardara Camping is a solo trip of mine at the most scenic destination in Kasara – Nashik region, just 5 hours drive from Mumbai. All season, it’s most demanding destination of the local tourist due to its surrounding greenery, great adventurous mountains, the enchanting waterfalls and peaceful lake views.
My Bhandardara Camping
I got into Darbhanga express from Kalyan station at 1 PM which dropped me at Igatpuri by 2:45 PM. This regular ticket cost me only INR 55. Came out of a station and took the share auto for Ghoti. It’s a halt on the highway from where I would get cab for Bhandardara dam.
Around 3 PM, I reached Ghoti and started showing off my hitchhiking skills to save some cost on traveling. Suddenly, I was attracted by the crowded tea stall and ordered one full chai and Biscuits (cost INR 30). Immediately, came back to the road after paying the chaiwala. I thought this is village side area and people might help but I failed to save my traveling cost. Few stopped but said won’t be going so far. Didn’t get any help.
Thus left no option to get into shared local taxi whose capacity is 12 and driver makes sure to cross 20 minimum and limits to 24 maximum. This shared taxi cost me INR 80 which I negotiated the quoted INR 100.
Full packed local taxi and the worst road gave me the most memorable bumpy ride of my life. On the way, I crossed Bari village – base village of Kalsubai Trek.
After 1 hour, I reached Bhandardara colony which was the last stop. When I asked driver where is dam or lake view. He told me to walk straight for 2 minutes only. With the heavy backpack I took more than 10-15 minutes to explore location.
Bhandardara Camping Location
Following the guidelines, around 5 PM I reached by the Bhandardara dam. This spot was more close to road and easily accessible by anyone, so I started looking for some remote location.
Tent set up
Opened my heavy backpack. Firstly, I pitched my branded quechua tent. Started setting up the few things one by one. Took out my mattress and I sat down by the lake. It was the most memorable and peaceful evening. Relaxed a bit on inflatable pillow like a lazy camper.
While getting freshened up with dam water, i saw many fishes. Suddenly, I looked for a long wooden stick, took out my fishing wire and fish food. Within an hour, I was able to catch 4 medium size fishes. I don’t know the names but my BBQ menu was all set.
Sunset at Bhandardara Dam
Slowly, it was getting dark. Sun started setting down and sky was changing it’s colours rapidly. It was bollywood style romantic sunset. I was in love with the Bhandardara lake. Truely, I was enjoying my solo camping at Bhandardara lake.
With the colder breeze, I took out my winter jacket. Before going for wood collection, I locked my tent. I searched & collected dry wood sticks from the surrounding area. It took me half an hour to ignite though I had lighter.
As I didn’t carry any ingredients with the mindset of preparing any BBQ. Directly, I put the wooden stick on the edge of campfire. Today, O was going to eat raw cooked meat which also taste amazing. After 15 minutes, I took out one by one. Just to add taste, I had ketch up pouch. After so much efforts when you cook, it has to be amazing. I ate all the fishes and threw the remnants for dogs.
Sometimes Solo camping is hectic. You have to do all on your own. Dogs started barking for more but I had nothing left. Only what I had is my dinner of 2 Maggi packets which I couldn’t share. Dogs started roaming around my tent and due to which I had to lock the same while washing my plate.
I cooked Maggi in my steel mug. It was tasting amazing. With the open sky and cold breeze my dinner was getting more memorable.
Music & Movie Night
Doing nothing is also a task and same I did after my dinner. Slept by the lake, with my inflatable pillow and headphone to watch a movie. It was open theater for me. Samsung m30s super amoled display giving the best quality display. Also, 6000 mAh battery was made for such kind of adventure where you don’t get any plugs for charging. Actually, battery lasts for 2 days without charging in between.
While watching movie, I slept irresponsibly. It was getting colder and was time to get into temporary shelter. As my tent was locked, i was looking for the keys. It was past 2 am, I lost the keys. As usual my lazy mind thought of sleeping outside and finding keys in the morning. But, no one can sleep outside not even dogs. I don’t know where dogs went. Unfortunately, I had no option to break the lock with the big stone. I did the same and slept inside after collecting all my outside stuff.
It was 120 × 205 cm size tent and even I messed up the same. It was cozy inside the tent and I fall asleep immediately.
I woke and then it was struggle to go toilet without locking my tent. I put the big rock on chain just to protect from dogs and left on god to protect the same.
With paper soap, I freshened up by the lake and returned to my tent. Luckily, my tent was as it is. No one even dare to touch.
I took out my photography gadgets. Sunlight was perfect for the morning photography. I was able to collect amazing shots on that day.
Boating at Bhandardara
While capturing Bhandardara lake pictures, I saw a boat with few tourist. Somehow, I managed to yell and pull it towards me. I wanted to do boating in Bhandardara lake. It was slowly getting attracted to me. Till that time, I packed my tent and bag. As I lost my lock, I couldn’t leave it open and go somewhere.
Boat owner told me 100 bucks for the complete boating round. I started negotiating with him. I told him that I have only Rs 50. He was not at all ready but as he came so long just to pick me and don’t wanted to go empty hands he on boarded me. Suddenly, the co-passengers looked at me. Everyone was so eager to ask me about my solo night camping at Bhandardara dam.
Finally, I broke the ice asking where you all came from? I got to know that they stayed in Anandvan resort in Bhandardara. While chatting with them, I clicked amazing shots of the lake.
After half an hour, helmsman took the boat to other side of the lake. It was also a beautiful view from the other side. Luckily, I had to walk less to get back to the road. I reached crowded village bus stop. I was hungry and had amazing hot Kanda Pohe and masala Tea.( Cost – INR 40)
There were many taxis waiting for the customers. I sat on the one. After 10 minutes, it was jam-packed with more than 20 people and I left the Bhandardara. It was the bumpy ride but yesterday night memories were worth taking those rides. He dropped me to the Ghoti (ticket price – 80). Took the share auto till Igatpuri station (cost – INR 40). Luckily, I was able to get into the Mahanagari express at 11:30 am which dropped me Kalyan by 1 pm (ticket cost – INR 55).
Bhandardara Camping Expenses:-
Mumbai To Igatpuri by train – INR 55
Igatpuri to Ghoti by Shared auto – INR 40
Ghoti to Bhandardara dam – INR 80
Evening Tea & biscuits – INR 30
Maggi for dinner – INR 30
Morning breakfast – INR 40
Boating – INR 50
Bhandardara to Ghoti – INR 80
Ghoti to Igatpuri Station by Shared auto – INR 40
Igatpuri to Kalyan Station – INR 55
Total Bhandardara camping cost – INR 500 only
Things to carry for Bhandardara Camping
Quechua 2 person tent
Inflatable camping pillow
Towel n clothes
Camera – DSLR, GoPro/SJCAM, tripod, selfie stick
Stainless steel cooking mug
Power banks – 2
Torch with batteries
Books to read
Chocolates & energy bars for back up
Maggi packets n ketch up
Lighter, knife, plate & Spoon
Big backpack to pack all above things
What I forgot to carry 100 ml petrol to ignite campfire quickly.
Places to visit near Bhandardara Lake
- Ghatghar dam
- Ratangad Trek
- AMK Trek
- Kalsubai trek – highest peak of Maharashtra
- Sandhan Valley
- Amruteshwar Temple
- Harishchandragad Trek
- Konkan Kada reverse waterfall
- Randha falls
- Umbrella falls
Best season for Bhandardara Camping
Winter is the best season for camping near Mumbai and Nashik region. To actually enjoy peace and nature, weekdays are highly recommended. From November to January, is considered as best time to visit Bhandardara Camping.
Budget Bhandardara Camping
It was cheapest but the best way to enjoy Bhandarkar Lake camping under INR 500. Though it was solo budget trip, I enjoyed it to the fullest. Tracelling cost was INR 350 to n fro. I spent INR 100 on food. Boating activity was unplanned expense of INR 50, but it was cherry on the cake. Even after spending on boating if you sum up you can enjoy Bhandardara camping in INR 500. I hope my tour hacks will help you to save more and travel more. Do share your ideas if any. Thank you for reading. Keep exploring.