What comes to your mind first when you hear the word “Fireflies” ????
Well! this blog is all about reliving your childhood by witnessing the ongoing magical fireflies festival in villages near Mumbai. ????
Before getting into details, let us first talk about fireflies. Fireflies, also called as Glow-worm, Jugnu (in Hindi) and Kajwa (Marathi); are winged beetles which chemically produces light from lower abdomen ( Scientifically known as Bioluminescence phenomenon) to attract mates or prey. More than 2000 species of fireflies are found all over the world.
In India, May and June are best season to spot them as they hatch during spring, and flicker in pre-monsoon season for mating, lay eggs and eventually die. During this season, one gets to see millions of these magical things flickering in villages. In Maharashtra, many villages are suitable site to witness kajwa aka fireflies festival. As travelers, we were eyeing this festival since last couple of years, but were unsure of the outcome. Will we get to see the fireflies in good number? are the pictures on internet are real or just photo shopped? these questions kept bugging us.
Summers are in full swing in Mumbai, and no one is daring to step outside, leave weekend getaway aside for that matter. But internet suggested, this pre-monsoon season is best time to go for camping and witness fireflies in great number. After much discussion and planning, this time we decided to experience it by our own and went on a weekend trip to a remote village in Ahmadnagar. Allow me to take you back with me on my last weekend trip to spot fireflies and related adventures.
The planning and journey
As we are slowly spreading our wings as travelers, we unanimously decided to do this trip by our own and not by any event or host travelling group. We chalked out our plan, route, stay, and contacted a local guide for spotting fireflies. The important point here is no matter what, you need to have a local guide to help you with spotting fireflies. The place we zeroed down is Bhandardara in Ahmadnagar district, famous for resorts and lakeside camping. We were planning to rent tents and stay near lake side. Our local guide Mr. Sanjay Giri, is a cool man, he cleared our doubts and offered us tents on rent so we do not have to carry them all the way from Mumbai. He advised us to carry torches as we have to walk in dark forests to spot fireflies.
As the weekend came closer, two of our friends also joined us and on Saturday 10 A.M. four of us left in friend’s car for our destination. We still were anxious and nervous as now we have two more people who are betting on us for a great weekend. It was around 170 K.M from Mumbai, Kharghar to be specific, a four and half hour drive in total.
The roads were good, and traffic was smooth. We stopped midway to have lunch in a highway dhabha, and the moment we stepped outside the car reality hit us, the scorching heat! We finished our lunch and left for Bhandhardara.
Sanjay’s (local guide) village was a half hour drive from Bhandardara, As we had plenty of time in hand, We decided to see the lake first and then head to his village for stay. We reached Bhandardara by 3 p.m., the dam was inaccessible as per officials, so we went to nearby viewing point to get the panoramic view of the huge lake.