From Picnics, River Rafting, Mountain Climbing to Nature Trails, Hiking, Trekking and interesting Ancient Caves! Karjat, Maharashtra has a lot to explore.
Located in the Raigad District of Maharastra and at a close proximity of just 60 kms from Mumbai, Karjat makes an ideal weekend getaway for those craving for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai or Pune (100 kms).
Situated in a valley across the basin of Ulhas River, Karjat has scenic sights, mountains, forts (Peth Fort) and an ancient rock-cut Buddhist cave temples known as Kondana Caves. All this makes Karjat a destination preferred by all and enjoyed by nature and adventure enthusiasts no matter what the season.
Not surprising then that Karjat is also famous for having the largest chain of Farmhouses in Asia!
Adventure Sports: Ulhas river offers a beautiful white water rafting between the months of July-September. However, the scenic mountain valley also offers opportunity in Trekking, Hiking, River Zipping/Flying Fox, Zorbing and Parasailing too.
Situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, Karjat is quite a popular trekking destination too and the 3 leading trails lead from Matheran via Rambagh point, Peth Fort, and Chanderi Fort are trekked throughout the year.
Horse Riding by Tudo Cavalo at Karjat: For city people looking to horse ride, Tudo Cavalo, India’s only Equine Services Company provides a unique experience to go Horse Riding at Karjat.
They help you get trained and practice till you can confidently ride a horse on your own! And all this over the weekend. (courses starts at 3000 INR per Person and includes meals and accommodation along with other activities) Contact: 8552050022
Kondana Caves: these ancient Buddhist caves date back to the 1st Century BC ((Approx 200-100 BC) and the group of 16 rock-cut caves have a Stupa, Chaitya (Meditation Hall), Vihara (Monastery) and numerous carved sculptures.
Now during Monsoons, Kondana Caves also becomes the preferred location of many adventure enthusiasts looking for rappelling and mountain climbing options. And the thrill of actually doing that can be seen in the image below. Yes, the water gushes at you making the task more enjoyable. But it is recommended that you connect with an appropriate travel company that would take care of all the safety procedures and make this adventure a truly remarkable experience for you.
You could get in touch with any of the following for details or choose your own:
1. PineWood Resort: Contact: Mr. Savio A Lobo & Mrs. Ave M. Lobo Contact: +91 22 24097930 / 24018846 / +91 9870900421 / 9820739385
2. Mohili Meadows: Contact them at their Vashi Office: 022 – 27813901/9222285801/9223409500/9223466477 these guys also offer a Pick Up/Drop from Karjat Station. A good option for those corporate events/Parties/Camping
3. Tanmay Farms: Contact 9011549605 The farm has a well-maintained swimming pool, ATV’s, basketball court, indoor and outdoor sports equipment, cycles and cycle track, barbecue and trampoline.
4. River Gate Resort: Contact: +91-8425885119
How to Reach the Kondana Caves: The caves are accessible via a 2 hour easy trek/walk amidst dense forest trails and there are 2 options to reach the caves.
Option 1: Take a bus or rickshaw (Rs.150 – Rs.200) from Karjat to Kondivade village (18 kms from Karjat Station) and from Kondivade proceed to Kondane or Kharvandi village as from both these villages the Kondana caves are a one hour walk.
Option 2: The other way is from the Ulhas valley, get to Thakurwadi railway station from Pune/Mumbai. From here you can proceed to famous valley of Ulhas River. A road to left from Ulhas river goes straight to Kondhane caves. Ulhas valley is a scenic trek besides waterfall and wildflowers.
Bhivpuri Waterfalls: Located near Karjat in a village called Bhivpuri, these cascading waterfalls are a great place for a picnic especially during the monsoon season, when the waterfall is in its massive and quite a beauty.
There’s a Sai Baba temple at Bhivpuri, that is believed to be one of the oldest and among the first temples of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba.
The other popular falls are Karjat Falls, Vagni and Palasdari falls.
Kondeshwar Temple: Constructed in old Hemadpanthi style of architecture, the Kondeshwar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The Main temple site is surrounded by smaller shrines and there’s a waterfall too. Please avoid visiting the temple during monsoons as the area becomes slippery and dangerous.
Peth Fort: located 21 kms north-east of Karjat in Shahapur Taluka, Peth Fort is also popularly known as Kothaligad. Peth is a small fort that was used as a defense station during Sambhaji’s era and is surrounded by other forts like Bhimashankar, Padargad, Rajmachi and Siddhagad. It is a fairly easy trek due to its small height and easy climb.
How to reach Peth Fort (Kothaligad) in Karjat:
You can either reach Peth from Ambivli village, as mentioned above or go via Jambrukh village (take a bus from Karjat station) once there you need to walk, till you reach a bridge to a hamlet called Devpada. Here any local could help you out with the directions.
The route is entirely through the forest without any openings. It is a continuous ascent and can get exhaustive in summer. You will reach a plateau where Peth village is situated, from there it finally meets the route mentioned above.
Interestingly, to go to the top of Kotligad/Peth Fort, one has to enter a cave and climb up a funnel along a staircase carved out in the inside of the pinnacle!
Bhimashankar Temple: Bhimashankar holds one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and dates back to the 18th Century and has beautifully carved pillars and door frames. Just outside the temple, is an old Portuguese bell, that is a war relic symbolizing the victory of Marathas over the Portuguese in the Battle of Bassein in 1739.
Bhimashankar is also the source of the Bhima River which merges with Krishna River after flowing south-east near Raichur. According to historical legend, this is the place where Lord Shiva has rested after killing Tripurantaka (one of the Rakshasa). Some also talk about River Bhima being made of Lord Shiva’s sweat! Read More HERE
It is a famous pilgrimage site and the stone temple is around 3296 feet high. Surrounded by dense forests, the trek to the Bhimashankar is mesmerizing with great views.
Road Route From Mumbai to Bhimashankar (214 Kms): Follow Sion-Panvel Expressway and Mumbai – Pune Expressway to Talegaon Chakan Rd/Talegaon Dhabhade Rd in Talegaon Dabhade. Then, continue on Talegaon Chakan Rd to Chas. Then, drive in to MH SH 112/MH SH 54 into the town of Bhimashankar.
Road Route From Pune to Bhimashankar (110 Kms): Take Dagadi Pool Rd and Nyaymurti Ranade Path to Shivaji Rasta in Shivajinagar and then follow NH 50 to MH SH 112/MH SH 54 in Bhimashankar.
The temple site is inside the Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary that is spread in an area of 131 sq km and has a wide variety of flora, fauna and numerous medicinal herbs. So while trekking, do watch out for the Giant Indian Squirrel along with Sambar, Barking Deer, Hyena and if you are lucky a Wild Boar too. Bird lovers can spot Malabar Grey Hornbill, Quaker Babbler, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Green Pigeon and other species.
During the monsoon season, the rain-drenched jungles of the Western Ghats can give off an eerie glow, allowing a rare glimpse into one of nature’s spectacular eccentricities and Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary is one such place to witness this natural magical world. Read details HERE.
The place is also home to Mahadeo Koli Tribe who protect the sacred groves.
After visiting the temple you may also visit Hanuman Lake, Nagphani Tok (point) or Serpent’s hood, Gupt Bhimashankar, the origin of River Bhima, Bombay Point and Sakshi Vinayak. Nagphani Point is the highest point in Bhimashankar and is called so because of its shape like a cobra’s hood and offers a beautiful view of the surrounding hills and forts of the Matheran range and Padar killa down below.
There is a forest Rest house and Mansarover Motel incase you want to spend a night, but prior bookings are recommended.
Trekking Route for Bhimashankar Temple: There are 2 routes to reach Bhimashankar Temple via Khandas Village (40 kms from Karjat)
Option 1 is Via Ganesh Ghat: This is the most preferred route and takes about an 5-6 hours. From Khandas Village, walk about 2 kms till you reach Ganesh Ghat Route trail. After walking for an hour, you would reach a Ganesh Temple. Take a tea/snack break here and then move ahead to reach the ‘Hanuman Tal’ which is a small pond located on the plateau of Bhimashankar. The main temple of Bhimashankar is another hour from the Hanuman Tal so make sure to take another break to catch a breath and move on.
Option 2 is Via Shidi (Ladder Route): Obviously the shorter route but a has a steep and a difficult climb
Visit the ND Studio’s: Karjat is the place where the famous ND Studios Film Set is located, where the movie Devdas and TV Serials like Shivaji, Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat and the recent TV Serial Jodhaa Akbar was also shot.
This state of the art production center was designed, implemented and founded in the year 2005 by none other than Nitin Desai, a highly accomplished Production Designer/Art Director. For more details Click HERE
Over the years, the property has masqueraded as a wide range of locales, from India to Singapore, the Swiss Alps to the English countryside.Infact this 42 acres studio has the longest studio space in Asia and is a must visit for those travelling to Karjat.
Eating Out at Karjat
Karjat has plenty of hotels serving a variety of cuisines.
The Meher Bakery: Popular for fresh bread and their delicious Khari biscuits and yes try the chocolate nankhattie!
Raj Cottage: is popular for simple breakfast menu at really reasonable rates. There’s a smmal Sri Icecream wala just outside Raj Cottage who churns out delicious dollops all for 30 INR and the butterscotch and blackcurrant are a must try.
Lucky’s Korner: Located just before the Neral phata, this place has a nice open ambiance and offers Chinese and Sea Food options too. The place overlooks a lawn full of duck and chicken leisurely talking a walk! Contact: 9921841414 / 9881764964 /9273127314
Baba’s Diary: Offers yummy paneer parathas and the menu includes most products made of fresh milk obtained from their backyard (it’s essentially a diary)! Must try sweets are the Malai sandwiches, Peda, Milk Cake and Rabadi. You will definitely pack some for back home!
Dada’s Grill: Place for pasta’s and Pizza’s made the way you want it to be. The place also serves Indian food. The property is quite nice with big open lawns surrounded by trees. Accommodation with swimming pool and acres of land for an enjoyable stay is also available. Contact: Mr. Pandey 9823429987
Stay/Accommodation at Karjat
Karjat offers a lot of accommodation choices depending on your budget. From an Eco-friendly farm to a regular farm house, from a luxurious resort to a budget stay at a hotel, to even booking an entire bungalow for the weekend, there are lots to choose from.
Best Time to Visit: June-November
By Road: Karjat is well-connected with all the major National Highways (Pune, Nasik, Goa, Mumbai-Pune Expy and state highways of Raigad District and Kharghar).
- Mumbai to Karjat: 60 Kms (via National Highway 4/NH 4)
Route Guide: Follow the Jeejabai Bhosle Marg, Sion-Panvel Expressway and Mumbai – Pune Expressway to Panvel Bypass Road in Bherle. Take the exit from Mumbai – Pune Expressway. Then, Take NH4 and MH SH 79 to your destination in Karjat.
- Pune to Karjat: 99 Kms (Via Mumbai-Pune Express Way)
By Rail: Karjat railway station is a major rail terminus, connected via local trains to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai, Khopoli and Panvel.
By Air: The nearest airports are Mumbai Airport and the Navi Mumbai International Airport (under Construction).
Other Tourist Attractions near Karjat
Matheran: 23 Kms (via Karjat – Murbad Rd and Neral – Matheran Rd)
Lonavala: 37 Kms (via Karjat Khopoli Marg and NH4)
Khandala: 34 Kms (via Karjat Khopoli Marg and NH4)
Karnala Bird Sanctuary: 36.2 Kms (via NH4)
Aamby Valley to Karjat: 58.5 Kms (Via Karjat Khopoli Marg)
Karjat to Kolad: 78 Kms