Last Sunday offered us a chance to get out of Nashik city for a short drive. The hectic work schedule was getting to us and a day out on the road was the therapy we needed.
Research on new destinations yielded Pemgiri. This is a famous banyan tree, supposedly the second largest in India, spread over 2.5 acres of land. The largest banyan tree in India, spread over 4 acres, is in the botanical gardens in Kolkata. However, Pemgiri is the largest unattended banyan tree in India. Pemgiri fort (also known as Bhimagad) is also close-by and it has a temple of Goddess Pemadevi inside.
Pemgiri village is located approx. 22 kms. away from Sangamner. We took NH 50 highway which connects Nashik and Pune. Nashik to Sangamner is 70 kms. on this highway and it took us about 90 mins. to reach, thanks to the newly constructed expressway and bypass road for Sinnar city.
We took the Sangamner bypass road.. there's no need to enter the town. But you have to be careful as the turn for Pemgiri village is somewhere in the middle of the bypass road. It's easy to drive till the end of Sangamner, but you will have to backtrack. Once you leave the expressway, it is a single lane road, winding through several villages. It's very less crowded with the occasional tractor or jeep taxi coming along. No heavy or large vehicles on this road.
There are several signboards at intersections showing the direction for Pemgiri fort and banyan tree. So it's pretty easy to find the location.
It took us another 30 mins. to reach the famous banyan tree. The entrance to the area is impressive with two large trunks of the tree in the middle.
You can park here (there's no shortage of shade, obviously). There is a small temple inside the tree as well.
The sheer size of the tree is staggering. It has multiple trunks at large distances, connected with huge branches. It's fun to stroll under the shade and enjoy the atmosphere.
Some more of the tree trunks spread around, forming a mini forest.
The tree is HUGE. It has its own ecosystem and it literally a forest in itself.
There is also small stream which flows down from the nearby hills.
We had a great time splashing around in it..
Of course, I couldn't leave without taking a few clicks with my Jeep as well :)
There is a small shop close-by and the uncle there was very kind and offered us his private washroom. He served us freshly made tea, biscuits, cold drinks and box juices. He closed up as soon as we drove off, as we were probably his last customers of the day.
The drive back also gave us a few photo op opportunities, which I gladly took :)
We had lunch on the highway during the return journey to Nashik. There are very few dhabas / restaurants between Sangamner to Nashik stretch, so choose wisely or head into Sangamner town for food.
It was a fun Sunday drive. We returned home in about 6 hrs. and came back refreshed and with fabulous memories of the family drive.