Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctaury gets its name from the Bhimashankar Shiva Temple around which this sanctuary is located. It is about 120 km from Pune and the best route to get there by vehicle is via Manchar on the Pune Nashik Highway. There are State Transport buses which go directly to Bhimashankar from Pune at regular intervals.
There is no infrastructure like the other wildlife sanctuaries of India. Guides, Safaris, Forest Rest Houses or even vehicle tracks are non-existent inside the sanctuary, and it is best explored on foot. Just outside the temple there are walking pathways (pugdundies) leading into the jungles of stunted trees and bushes of the Western Ghats (Sahyadris). Many trekking organisations from Pune and Mumbai arrange these treks to the Sahyadris especially during the monsoons (rainy season).
There are a few private resorts in the buffer zone as you enter the sanctuary. We stayed in one of these resorts during our visit and would take morning and evening walks into the sacred groves of the forest. The climate was very pleasant during the early mornings and late evenings even in the month of May, since it is a rocky plateau at an elevation of around 800 metres above MSL. Though we did not see any wild life besides rhesus monkeys and different species of birds, the sanctuary is famous for the Giant Indian squirrel. Leopards, hyenas, jackals and snakes have been seen in the deeper parts of the jungle.
The best time to visit Bhimashankar is from July to February after the rains, when the forests become lush and green, and many waterfalls can be seen in the surrounding hills.
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