Walking along a stone path laid a thousand years ago, I wondered about the commerce, the warfare and cultural exchanges that may have happened on the roads that I tread. Lonavala to Bhimashankar ( Lo-Bhi ), a trek along the ancient trade route, is a gem of a range trek in Sahayadris that forced me to ponder over the history of this region beyond the exploits of Marathas, Mughals, and the Britishers. It is a long endurance trek wherein we covered over 65 Km in less than 40 hours and with 8-9 hours of sleep. The trek does test your endurance, but in return, it offers the best of Sahayadris - Waterfalls, meandering jungle trails, steep ascends, slippery descents, flowering plateaus and what not.
Lo-Bhi History and Significance:
Lonavala to Bhimashankar (Lo-Bhi) Range trek is part of the ancient trade route that starts in Poona, follows the Ahmednagar range of the Sahayaris and reaches the plateau of Golconda. The route follows the river Bhima and proceeds until the confluence of River Krishna and Bhima. From there it continues to the eastern point of Krishna and Tungabhadra, crosses the eastern ghats and reaches the sea in the Bay of Bengal. The trade route was used mainly for commerce to transport goods from the various ports in Western India viz. Kalyan, Vasai and Surat to Eastern India and abroad. Even today, in some parts one can clearly see the stone laid route in the jungles