Vasota is a tiger reserve located in the Satara district in Maharashta. This trek is on every trekker's wishlist. it takes you to the vast open visually appealing Vasota fort through a dense forest. It remains closed in monsoons and then opens up in September.
This trek had been on our bucketlist for a very long time and finally, we decided to tick it off :)
We booked our self drive car and packed our bags to leave by 3.30am to Bamnoli, the base village for the trek. It took us 6 hours to reach there. The drive itself was amazing with open highway and sky full of stars. Stopping near an army area with no street lights for company, switching off the lights of our car and watching the stars in all its glory with "yellow" playing as the background score was a perfect start to an eventful day. Watching the sunrise in khas plateau(the valley of fowers) and clicking pics we reached our destination.
Bamnoli is the small village where passes are issued to reach the base of the jungle by the forest dept. It being a Saturday and 2 large groups coming in, there was a queue at the counter. We had to get passes and then get it stamped in a different office 200mtrs away. People who had taken the passes the previous night left for the trek early, but we took sometime to get over with the formalities. We started our journey to the jungle only by 10.30am.
From Bamnoli, one has to take a boat to the base of the jungle to start the trek. The boat ride is for 1.5 hours and the boat waits there for you till 5 in the evening. The price of the boat is fixed and it takes 12 people, so it is advisable to form a group before taking the passes and put all 12 person's name in the pass. This will help you get a boat faster and cheaper otherwise separate boat will cost you the price of 12 person. Additionally, after getting the passes you can't form a group.
Moving on from the informational part to the boat ride. The boat ride was amazing, with clouds and sun playing hide and seek, it formed beautiful patterns on water. Excitement to reach the jungle was growing with every passing minute.
Although it took 1.5 hours, we were excited to see the entry point for our trek. At this point, the number of water bottles that we had were counted. It was counted again when we exited in the evening, making sure that the area remains plastic free. This is a great initiative on the part of forest dept.
We started our trek at 11.45pm. The jungle was so dense that at 12 in the afternoon it looked like its 4pm. There was very little sunlight touching the base of the jungle. It was a beautiful trek with inclinations, steps and more inclined walk. The jungle was full of different varieties of birds and trees. We were told that there are animals but they don't come close to the trekking path as they keep away from people.
Trekking for 2 hours, we reached the fort at 2pm. The fort gave some spectacular views of the shivsagar lake and the mountains. We were mesmerized by the beauty and the sheer grandness of the place. The vast stretch of jungle and grandness of the mountains explained why this fort is in every trekker's bucket list. Just sitting there and having vada pao and bun muska, gave a better feeling than eating out in a fine dining restaurant. The beauty of the place can't be described in words.
We roamed around the fort for a bit and did not realize that it is 3.15pm. We quickly started descending as the boatman gave us time till 5 to come down. The jungle started getting a bit dark and we somehow did not have people for company. At one point we felt as if we were lost but recognizing the signboards we figured out that we were on the right path. Even after all this, we decided to stop at a small stream for 5 mins as it looked beautiful and we couldn't stop ourselves from relaxing our legs by putting them in water...:-P
Somewhere we knew that we needed to rush down, so we quickly made our way back to the boat and reached there at 5.15pm.We realized that there are only 2 boats left and our boat guy and the other group members (whom we meet at bamnoli) were a bit pissed, but it was worth it..:-P
Tired but mesmerized we made our way back to Bamnoli and left for Pune after chai and vada pao to fill our empty stomach.
It was a day well spent and we promised to come back to go to NAGESHWAR TEMPLE, which is another 1 hour detour on the way to vasota.
Please form a group before getting the paases.
The cost of single boat is 2000rs.
The whole process of the passes will cost you around 150 per person.
If you could stay at bamnoli for the night, you can get the passes the previous night and start your trek early and cover nageshwar temple as well.
Wakad to bamnoli 5 hours
There are 2 bamnoli's, this Bamnoli is after the khas plateau