If Gaganbavda is suddenly attracting the attention of filmmakers from Bollywood, there has to be a solid reason to it. It’s simple: Gaganbavda is one of the most beautiful hill stations of Maharashtra. Located in Kolhapur, it offers a fantastic view of the Konkan coastal region and the lush green Karul Ghat apart from emerging as a favourite destination for trekkers. In fact it is quite easy to travel to Konkan from the two passes nearby.
There are a number of routes going towards the Konkan region by descending the Sahyadri ranges. All of such routes necessarily go through different passes, known as ‘ghats’. Given this topography, the village or town located on the top of the pass, especially in the Sahyadris, is always enriched with natural beauty. Gaganbavda is one of them. Just 55 kilometers from Kolhapur, exactly at the crest line on the Kolhapur-Kharepatan route, this beautiful place commands a prime location with an abundance of natural beauty. There are quite a few villages in Maharashtra ending with the word ‘bavda’ which are affixed with another name to differentiate between them. Gaganbavda has been so named because ‘gagan’ means sky and the name implies that it is at a great height from the sea level.
Such is the natural scenic beauty of Gaganbavda that is has begun to attract not just tourists but also producers and directors from the Marathi and Hindi film industries. What also adds to the charm of this place is its salubrious weather all throughout the year. Those who come here seeking trekking opportunities usually head to Shivgad and Mudagad. The amazing splendour of Gaganbavda must actually be experienced during the monsoon when the heavy rainfall lends a chill to the atmosphere and a blanket of fog envelopes the place. It is at such times that you must soak in the view with some hot ‘pakodas’ and a steaming cup of tea. Gaganbavda is easily accessible and state transport buses are available from Kolhapur. For accommodation, Gangabavda does not have much to offer but it’s easy enough to stay in Kolhapur and visit this tranquil hill station for the day.
Things to Do
Take off on a Trek
One of the popular destinations for trekking is a medieval fort named Gagangad which is located at some height from the town of Gaganbavda. An entire trekking circuit could take in Gagangad, Shivgad, and Mudagad. A dense forest trail makes the experience all the more enjoyable.
Visit a Mutt
At Gaganbavda is the mutt of Shree Gagangiri Maharaj, a saint. Visitors come here to seek blessings as also enjoy the view of the valley and the Konkan coastline. The combined sight of the curving pass of Gaganbavda, the green canopy of the forest and the high hills of the Sahaydris makes for a photographer’s delight.
Explore the Monolithic Temples
Another interesting location just 10 kilometers away from Gaganbavda is the existence of the Palsambe monolithic temples. There are three such temples in a water stream near the village Palsambe. Just next to them is a big cave with ‘shivlingas’ carved on its inner wall with one huge shivling situated in the centre. The area is kept clean by a person who has been staying here in a hut for a long time. The monolithic temples are not only beautiful but mysterious too because none of them have any deities in their sanctum sanctorum.
How to Reach
The nearest airport is at Pune.
The nearest railway station is at Kolhapur which is 55 kms away. Miraj is also a major rail junction at one hour distance from Kolhapur.
Kolhapur is well connected to all the major cities. Kolhapur is linked to Pune- Bangaluru highway. There are regular ST buses as well as private buses plying to Kolhapur. Local transport is available from Kolhapur to Gaganbawda.
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