Kajwa / fireflies festival Bhandardara

8th Jun 2019
Photo of Kajwa / fireflies festival Bhandardara by Rohit Ghodke
Day 1


Every year during pre-monsoon season this awesome phenomenon can be witnessed in forest, where fireflies during mating season emits glowing fluid to attract the female fireflies and thus produces light. These are present in enormous numbers on trees,making a tree look like decorated for Christmas or Diwali.

This is most prominently seen in Bhandardara forest zone. Every year an overnight camp is organised during this season for Kajwa festival.

One can opt to stay in tents near the forest zone or in hotels which are quite away from main jungle.

Many operators are available in the region.

We particularly opted for

Goraksha Bande Sandhan Valley Trek Camping

Sandan Valley Path, Samrad, Maharashtra 422604

075172 27781

Other options are easily available online.

Even on Google maps too...

Pre-booking would be a better idea.


One can carry their own tent or opt for food arrangements.

As this is located in forest region and secluded village facilities available are basic in nature including sanitary facilities ( usually a common toilet)

For better facilities MTDC resort near bhandardara Dam is good option but again it will require a pre booking to the tune of four months in advance.

There are few resorts and stay facilities available in the adjoining area around MTDC.

Other sightseeing includes

The trip can be combined with other adventurous activities in the surrounding like

1) Trek to Ratan Gad

2) one day trek of descend into the Sandhan valley

3) Trek to Harishchandragad etc.

The journey

After a heavy lunch ,we headed for Bhandardara .

3-4 hour drive on Nashik highway via Kasara ghat will take you to ghoti. A right turn after toll naka and you are on scenic route to Bhandardara.

The view of the mountain range enroute is just awesome and the view of Kalsubai - Highest peak in the Maharashtra is just splendid,cherry on top. The view of windmills rotating with gushing wind and the outline of mountain peaks due to sunrays vanishing behind the mountains pleases you like anything.

We reached Bhandardara MTDC resort in the evening. a quick photobreak and we headed to Samrad village where our camp was stationed.

The narrow road passes through forest zone connecting spread villages enroute. But the event being catching up popularity, we were not alone on the road.

Note: Entry into this forest zone is restricted after sunset so shall plan your ride accordingly.

When we reached at the camp site it was already dark. The organisers did quickly set the tents for us. Now it was time for some fun before the dinner is served.We burned our calories dancing to the foot thumping bollywood mixes and all the Chuhas in the belly started dancing too ;). ????

The hunger games in the belly were scored by the mouth watering yummy chicken dinner????

Then it was the time for the main event of the night the fireflies.These fireflies are observed on specific trees only like jamun.

A guide headed us into the forest. Suddenly he stopped and asked us to switch off the headlights of the vehicle and we were awestruck by the spectacular sight . The tree was lightning like the decorated Christmas tree. Then he took us to another sight and asked us to follow the people entering the forest. Few meters walk and we were surrounded by spectacular 360 degree view of sparkling lights. Everyone just took their seat and settled on the grass to witness this spectacular show. The feeling was like watching a show on 70 mm wide movie screen .

The creepy sound of the forest in the night, a grassy land ,soothing coll breezes of the air and the spectacular Sparkles on the trees , everything was just serene.

Please do watch the shared video link to witness this beautiful phenomenon...

With calmness in our body and soul we waived good night to each other and few slipped into the tents.

Night walkers like us were full awake and it was time to enjoy the starry night. Everyone should enjoy this moment of stars gazing atleast once in lifetime..!!!

Butter on the bread was the sound of ???? strings and equally beautiful singer's voice from the neighbouring tent ..it just made my night...!!!

Next morning

Day 2

Next morning we all woke up to foggy and misty mountains. The sight of Ratangad covered in clouds was simply amazing. It was time for a morning walk. Samrad village where our camp was set up is a plateau sitting on a sandhan valley mountains. Almost a km walk and we were at the start of Sandhan valley the great canyon of India. You will be mesmerized to have first look of it. Descending to the base of the valley is a whole day affair wherein you will trek, do rappelling, cross neck deep water pond,etc, it's altogether a different ball of adventure. This trek is not operational during monsoon but you can visit the nearby echo point and the reverse waterfall point during monsoon.

Even though you don't opt for the whole day trek ,you can enjoy the adventure of rappelling down the canyon wall, which is operational at the start of Sandhan valley at mere price of just ₹2-300/-per person.

With the next adventure already decided for the next trip we left for tent. It was packup time. We quickly wrapped up and left for return journey.

Enroute we stopped at Ghatghar dam to enjoy the clear water catchment of the dam, where the children had their gala time. ghatghar dam is a electricity generation plant and the part of generated electricity is used for pumping the discharged water for turbine back in the dam catchment.

A quick visit to Bhandardara dam on the way to return journey. An earthen dam 170 m height have a discharge outlet from where the water ripples over the rocks during monsoon as the dam fills to the discharge level. This discharged water rolling over the rocks gives birth to the waterfall and because of the shape of gushing water over rocks this waterfall is known as Umbrella waterfall , a scenic spot to visit during monsoon. There are many other waterfalls which come to life in the vicinity during monsoon and are famous among the locals.

The whole journey is covered in the following

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