Indian temples are truly incredible places to visit. The architecture, the energy and the sheer beauty transport you to another world. So, when we had a chance to plan a trip into the lessor known parts of Maharashtra, but places with religious significance, we jumped at it.
Day 0: Arrived in Pune
We used Pune as our starting and ending points as it has good air connectivity. We reached Pune late in the evening so that we could have an early dinner and rest for the long journey ahead of us.
Day 1: Pune to Bhimashankar to Nasik
We started early in the morning and carried a packed breakfast and lunch with us. Along the way to Bhimashankar, we stopped by the roadside and had our breakfast. This helped us save quite a bit of time and we were able to reach Bhimashankar by 10:30am. We happened to go on a weekend, so the lines were already long. Because we had elderly folks in our group, we managed to get some help and our wait was shortened slightly.
By the time our temple visit was done it was almost 1:30pm. We had also packed our lunch (kids and elderly in the group) and so we found a picnic spot along the way and had our lunch. We then continued our journey to Nasik.
The afternoon drive was a little bit slower due to road conditions and we had taken two breaks. We reached Nasik around 7 pm. Since it was already late in the day and everyone was exhausted, we had a quick dinner and called it a night.
Day 2: Nasik to Igatpuri
The next morning we set out right after breakfast to explore the temple town. We visited Trimbakeshwar temple, explored the area where river Godavari originates and then went on a journey to explore the important sites mentioned in the Hindu epic Ramayana.
Panchvati is considered to be a holy site. You can hire an auto and the driver will gladly show you all of the important & significant places mentioned in the epic. Within 2 hours, we were able to see the place where Lord Rama and Sita lived, the place where she was abducted, etc. It was a very nice experience.
Once we were satisfied that we had visited all of the important places, we headed to Igatpuri. Watching the sunset along the way was a spectacular experience.
We reached Igatpuri around 7pm. We settled into our beautiful resort rooms and had a wonderful dinner. After dinner we participated in the group activities at the resort.
Day 3: Igatpuri village walk, hike, Vipassana and back to Pune
We woke up early in the morning to explore the area. The kids wanted to chill at the resort, so we left the elders in-charge and the adults headed out.
We spent about an hour exploring the village nearby. Next, we decided to hike up nearby hills. We literally followed the path the animals take up the hill and it was a lot of fun. After spending about an hour and a half, we decided to rejoin the rest of the family. By the time we returned, the rest of the folks were ready and so, we also got ready and had our breakfast.
After breakfast we headed to the Vipassana center. The tour was really nice and we got an opportunity to understand Vipassana meditation better. Afterwards, we headed back to the resort to have our lunch.
Right after lunch we started our journey back towards Pune and reached around dinner time.
Day 4: Travel Day
We woke up early in the morning and headed back home.
All in all it was a great trip. Exploring temple towns have their own unique charm. Unfortunately, in a lot of places, photography is prohibited… so a bummer for avid photographers. However fret not, there are many, many amazing opportunities to click.
Food – interestingly, lots of pure vegetarian food all over the place!
Hiking – The hills are relatively easy to navigate and make for awesome hiking opportunities.
Places to stay – Nice, clean, neat rooms but don’t expect too much luxury.