Andharban derives it's name from the words "andhera" and "ban," which mean dark and forest. As the name suggests, Andharban is a forest in the Sahyadri ranges of Maharashtra. During monsoons, there is a thick cover of fog and the added cover of trees ensures it is relatively dark even during the day.
The Andharban trail is famous among the regular travellers of Mumbai and Pune, and is among the easy level trails out there. I wanted to visit the place during the monsoons last year but my schedule never cleared up, so when I got the opportunity I immediately signed up for the trip organized by Tattva Adventures. I was aware that the group I had been to Visapur with last week - The Climbscapers were also organising an Andharban trail with a similar itenary on the same day as I was to leave, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that we were traveling together and for all practical purposes it was as good as a jointly planned event.
I got into the bus hired for the trip from Nerul at 1am. I met Jaal(co-founder of Tattva) and he told me that the organizers of 4 different groups - Tattva Adventures, The Climbscapers, Adventure Geek and Sahyadri Rangers, decided to combine their events because of lack of participation. The alternative was all 4 events getting canned. I was delighted to know that and also due to the happy coincidence of meeting some people I met last week and another guy I met during my trek to Bhimashankar a few weeks back.
I got comfortable in my seat, got acquainted with the people who were awake and without much delay we started a few rounds of antakshari, sing alongs and eventually charades. We reached our destination, Tamhini Ghat at around 4 and were instructed to get a few hours of sleep because it would be a 7-8 hour long trek.
I couldn't get enough sleep and woke up a short while later. I got off the bus and went to look around the place we stopped. Jaal was outside talking to the owners of the place and so I went and joined him. They were talking about how a new accommodation facility was built. We asked if we could look around and they accepted.
Adjacent to the national highway, the Shivraj Palace Resort was absolutely luxurious. Outside the entrance to the resort is a spacious lawn. We walked into the hotel and there was a huge courtyard in the centre surrounded by 8 large and luxurious studio rooms. The ones facing the ghat would have an exquisite view of the waterfalls right outside their balcony. Unfortunately it was dark when when we went there and I could not see this for myself. I joked to Jaal that this should be the venue for the next mafia night, and was in for yet another pleasant surprise that he was thinking about the exact same thing. Achche Din(good days) are going to come after all!