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Home > Mumbai Guide News > Things To Do News > Article > Delve into Maharashtras firefly season with this trek guide

Delve into Maharashtra's firefly season with this trek guide

Updated on: 14 May,2024 09:23 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Devashish Kamble | theguide@mid-day.com

As the firefly season in Maharashtra turns the Western Ghats into dazzling spectacles this month, three expert trekkers share their favourite way to experience the magic

Delve into Maharashtra's firefly season with this trek guide

Fireflies at the Rajmachi trail

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Take it easy
The undisputed winners for me are the Bhandardara and Igatpuri sites separated by an hour-long drive. They require no trekking and you can reach the campsite conveniently owing to good road connectivity. This makes them the ideal choice for kids, couples and families. Both sites have offered some of the best firefly sightings historically. Igatpuri stands out as the only firefly campsite that also offers water sports during the day like kayaking and rafting.



Difficulty: Beginner
How to reach: Board a local train from Mumbai to Kasara. Hail a local jeep or join the group transportation vehicle. Alternatively, make the 120 km drive to the base camp via Bhandardara Phata and Kalsubai.


Kuldip Rathore, trek leader, Mischief Treks  

ON 17 May onwards
MEETING POINT Kasara Railway Station; Dogra Food Mall Kasara (for private vehicles)
CALL 7719800777
COST Rs 1,800 (includes food, transportation from Kasara and accommodation)

Views from the valley
For those who wish to take a detour from the hubbub of the city life to spot the fireflies with a short, yet enjoyable trek, Sandhan valley offers the right balance between adventure and leisure. 

This valley is also known as the Valley of Shadows because the sun’s rays don’t reach the ravines. The firefly trail at the base camp on the first day can be followed by a two-hour-long trek. For those looking for a memorable adventure, we also offer guided rappelling activities under our supervision down the valley.

Difficulty: Intermediate

How to reach: Board a local train from Mumbai to Kasara. Avail of jeep services run by locals, or your trek organiser to reach 
Samrad village, the base camp through a two-hour-long drive.  

Vinayak Mahadik, trek co-ordinator, Trek Panda

ON 18 May onwards
MEETING POINT Kasara Railway Station.
CALL 8888771773
COST Rs 1,799 (includes food, transportation from Kasara and rappelling)

On a high note
The Harishchandragad Fort is known for its challenging trek that concludes with a panoramic view from 4,650 ft above sea level. However, not many realise that one of the base villages, Paachnai, offers some great views as well. Boasting dense foliage, the village becomes home to wildlife sightings, including fireflies from mid-May to June. During monsoons, the village is surrounded by scenic waterfalls. I recommend this trek to seasoned trekkers or those with adequate endurance training.

Difficulty: Intermediate/expert

How to reach: Board a local train from Mumbai to Kasara. Make the two-hour drive to Pachnai via Igatpuri and Bhandardara Phata in a private or group vehicle. Alternatively, board a State Transport bus from Kasara to Rajur followed by Rajur to Pachnai. Public transport can be erratic.

Neel Sheth, trek organiser, Treks and Trails

ON May 18 onwards
MEETING POINT Kasara 
Railway Station.
CALL 8591064044
COST R1,399 (includes food, transportation from Kasara, and accommodation)

The Harishchandragad Fort trek features rocky terrain and scenic views
The Harishchandragad Fort trek features rocky terrain and scenic views

Know before the glow

>> Do not expect luxury; all firefly sighting camps are nestled in remote tribal settlements.

>> Give the bonfire a break. Although a camping essential, continued exposure to smoke can harm, and potentially kill fireflies.

>> Avoid playing loud music on your phones. It can disturb the fireflies.

>> Carry a rainproof jacket, quick-drying clothing, an extra pair of socks and trekking shoes with good grip.

>> While photography and videography is usually allowed, double-check if your flash is engaged. Flashes can instantly drive away fireflies.

The Bhandardara firefly spotting camp
The Bhandardara firefly spotting camp

>> Fireflies glow to attract mating partners. Do not attempt to touch or handle the fireflies during this vital phase of their life cycles.

>> Research about the group you’re joining and enquire about the ethical measures in place. Responsible organisers must not overcrowd the sites and allow the fireflies their space.

- Kuldip Rathore

Also check out

>> Rajmachi
This site provides direct access to firefly sightings without a trek. However, situated only 
84 km from the city, 
the site is prone to overcrowded camps.
ON May 24 onwards
LOG ON TO treksandtrails.org
COST Rs 1,199 (includes food, accommodation, and travel)
 
>>Kothaligad Fort Trek
This trail in Ambivali is one of the closest spots to Mumbai for firefly spotting. A two-hour-long uphill trek featuring ancient stone steps ends with clear firefly sightings under the night sky.
ON May 18 onwards
LOG ON TO mischieftreks.com
COST Rs 850 onwards (includes food and accommodation)

A participant engages in kayaking in Igatpuri
A participant engages in kayaking in Igatpuri

>>Purushwadi
Tucked away from the usual tourist spots, Purushwadi provides an unexplored, quaint and tranquil experience under clear skies during the firefly mating season.
ON May 24 onwards
LOG ON TO mischieftreks.com
COST Rs 1,600 onwards (includes food and accommodation)

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