Drive to Baneshwar & Bhatghar Dam backwaters

After doing some back to back trips in the month of October, it was surely a weekend to rest or may be for a lazy drive to some place near; and that’s what we decided. Couple of friends had suggested Baneshwar so we thought we would check it out. We also planned to visit the Bhatghar dam and drive along side Bhatghar dam backwaters. Starting at around 7:30 am, we took the Mumbai Bangalore highway. Baneshwar is just around 40-50 Kms from Pune so it roughly takes an hour or so.

As soon as we entered the Baneshwar area; known as the “Baneshwar Van Udhyan”… we heard a lot of chirps. There is ample parking space with trees all around it which was completely buzzing with chirps of parakeets, tickell’s blue flycatchers, mynas and sunbirds. We couldn’t get many clicks though; thanks to the tropical cyclone Nilofer, it was raining since we started from our home. The Baneshwar temple is right next to the parking spot, and so is the gate for the huge park they have. After visiting the temple and taking few shots we waited for the rain to stop for at-least an hour, but hard luck.

We took our chances to visit the park even though it was raining. Its a relatively thick canopy and light is pretty less. You will also see boards of quite a no. of endemic bird species of India along with the marathi names all around the park. There are multiple trails as well and they do make you feel that you are that much closer to nature.

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We took the longest trail which leads to a mini waterfall. On the way there is also a mini-garden of sorts; known as the Rock Garden. There are wooden benches put up to relax and unwind… only problem is that it seemed like people use this place as a picnic spot and leave all leftovers and plastic behind. We walked further where in we reached an open place which leads to a stream. Its the same stream which generally gushes with water during rains and hence known as the waterfall. There is also a watch tower and luckily I managed to click a pair of spotted doves from the tower. We also spotted other birds like Golden Oriole, Oriental White-eyes, Common Iora, Tickell’s blue Flycatcher, Oriental Magpie Robin, Southern Coucal, Rose-ringed Parakeets and Black Drongos. The place is also filled with squirrels.

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If not for rains, we would have surely spent at-least an hour more at this place; but since it was continously raining we continued our journey and made way towards Bhatghar dam. The road to Bhatghar dam is really good offering lovely views. It passes through villages and fields and you feel pretty close to nature. Once you reach the backwaters, there is ample of open space where you can relax. There were quite a no. of birds as well; like the common stonechats and Jacobin cuckoos.

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It was a pretty relaxed trip; continous rains ensured very less photography, however made weather cool and green for picturesque drive. I will surely be visiting both the place again in these winters, primarily from birding perspective. If anyone is looking to spend half a day for a pretty relaxed trip in lap of nature, Baneshwar is a very good option.

How to reach
1. Take the Mumbai-Bangalore highway, after crossing the 1st toll at Khed Shivapur, drive till the Nasrapur Junction and take a right. After driving for another 3-4 Kms, you will see a right which leads to Baneshwar. (If you want to avoid toll, you may also look a driving down from Saswad, which comes out at Kapurhol junction).

2. For Bhatghar Dam, join the Bhor-Kapurhol road by taking the 1st right after Kapurhol Junction (from Mumbai-Bangalore highway, if travelling towards Bangalore). Drive for around 7 Kms and then take another right which will lead to the Bhatghar Dam.

1. Carry packed lunch. There are food options but not great. You do get Wada-pav & tea near Baneshwar temple.
2. Refer Google maps in-case you are confused with the route. The directions shown on maps are pretty accurate for Baneshwar and Bhatghar.
3. Keep the place clean.

Thanks for reading. Drive safe and enjoy 🙂

– Rudraksha & Shraddha

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