Ranked 1 among Places to Visit in Bhimashankar
Time Required: 2-3 hrs
Originally to safeguard the natural habitat of the endemic species, Indian Giant Squirrel, Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary has now become a major tourist attraction of Pune and Maharashtra on the whole. The densely forested area is spread over an area of 120 sq km on the Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri Ranges. The place is mainly famous for being a home to many endemic and pandemic animal and bird species including the Indian Giant Squirrel. It is so rich in flora and fauna that it is considered to be one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world. The reserve is also known for being the home of 14 sacred groves which are said to be thousands of years old and responsible for the origin of many species.
The forest sanctuary seems to have something for everyone. You can enjoy trekking through the well-marked and safe routes within the dense forests, taking in the sheer beauty of nature and experiencing it from close quarters. Anyone is allowed at any time, but with permission of the authorities and certified guides, that too in certain places after sunset, for obvious reasons.
If walking is not your forte, you can always opt for the safari car rides and have a glance at the wilderness in its true form from within the safety of the car. In case you are a spiritual person, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas (major shrines of Lord Shiva) is situated within the large stretch of the jungle. There are areas of the forest that are ideal for a day's picnic too. In short, Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect choice for a quick and eventful weekend trip.
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