Thursday, 3 March 2011

Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary

Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary was created in the Ambegaon and Khed talukas of Pune District, in the Western Indian state of Maharashtra in order mainly to protect the habitat of the Indian Giant Squirrel, its area is 131 km2 (51 sq mi) and is a part of the Western Ghats (Sahyadri Ranges). This sanctuary was created in 1984. The sanctuary includes 9 tribal villages. The areas bio-diversity has been retained as it was preserved as a cluster of sacred groves for generations. These sacred groves act as gene pools of this area, from where seeds were dispersed. In Ahupe - a tribal (Mahadev Koli) village's sacred grove in the sanctuary, in 1984, a climber Khombhal - Xantolis tomentosa was found to be 800 - 1000 years old.

Bhimashankar is also popular destination for hikers & trekkers. An old Shiv Temple, one amongst 12 Jyotirlingas resides atop the mountain ranges. 

How to Reach :
The easiest way to reach the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary is to drive down from the city of Mumbai, which generally takes around 7 hours (approx. 250 kms). The best time to visit the wildlife sanctuary is from the months of October to May. The tourists are suggested to carry camping gear, dry snacks, binoculars, woolen clothes and mosquito repellents. One can also trek from Karjat side, from the foothill village of Khandas (36 kms from Karjat station). There are 2 paths – Ganesh ghat (Easy) and Shidi Ghat (Very Tough), but both paths traverse through amazing forest with rich bio-diversity.

This is one of the best habitats in the Western Ghats for the giant squirrel and there are confirmed sightings of tigers. However, tourism projects which seek to build in the heart of the forest threaten the arboreal ecology of these creatures. Proposed roads also threaten the forest, as do development projects designed to cater to the needs of pilgrims who visit the nearby temple complex. 

Other Sanctuaries :

Do Visit