‘Gadad’ means the caves of Lord Shree Ganesha also called Ganesh Leni in Marathi (Leni is a holy shrine, mostly in a cave carved out of stone)
This caves are formed in the mountain surrounded by mesmerizing waterfalls at 3000ft above sea level.
Blooming with greenery in monsoon, it is one of the most awaited trek in the Sahyadri.
Ganpati Gadad, for being so isolated, has a rich history.
It is also believed that Pandavas built this caves 2500 years ago. There are mentions of Pandavas hiding period in the Mahabharata when they traveled to many unexplored places and had stayed there for the particular duration.
Many archeologists believe that Ganpati Gadad is one of those caves Pandavas carved for their shelter purpose during that period. Therefore, Ganpati Gadad is the icon which summarizes Pandavas royal culture.
Pandavas carved those caves in such way that it gives filling of a real ancient house. They divided whole cave into small partitions like small rooms and Ganesha idol is situated between two rooms.
Ganpati Gadad is a little below the half-way mark (around 500 m) of a giant 1200 m tall portion of the Ghats which continues as Naneghat to the north.
Ganpati Gadad was built in a convex arc within it, probably a natural cavity formed by an ancient cascade that exposed the bedrock – the igneous Deccan trap – which was then chiseled by hand.
There are about seven caves, built side-by-side, at places one-upon-another, with a few water tanks and what appears to be granaries or storerooms.
The main cave, which lies above the smaller caves, is the largest, containing two smaller rooms on each side.
A door with minimalist artwork welcomes visitors.
Cave houses idols of Lord Ganesha.
Stone pillars composed of intricate symbols and designs bearing the weight of the mountain.
Roughly around the center of the caves, a famous Ganpati Gadad’s Waterfall tumbles down into the valley, but the cave system remains dry even throughout the Monsoon season.
HOW TO REACH
Unfortunately, there is no direct bus to Sonavale or Palu which is base village for Ganpati Gadad.
But on the other blogs research and personal experience, I have found three ways to reach Ganpati Gadad
1)KALYAN – MURBAD – SONAVALE – GANPATI GADAD
This is most convenient yet not popular route to reach Ganpati Gadad.
Kalyan is always starting point of this journey from where number of State Transport(ST) buses ply towards Murbad.
From Murbad ST stand, catch ‘Singapur’ village ST (refer above timetable) which directly drop you to the Sonavale village entry gate.
From entrance, you have to walk 20 minutes on tar road which is later followed by natural trail route of Ganpati Gadad.
If you rely on the public transport like ST buses then follow this route. Although public transport is pocket friendly, but you also have to rely and plan your journey according to timing of Singapur ST bus.
2)KALYAN – MURBAD – DHASAI – SONAVALE – GANPATI GADAD
After reaching Murbad from Kalyan, there is number of ST buses as well as 6 seater Tum Tum auto ply to Dhasai village.
From Dhasai village, there is local Vadap or tum-tum auto that directly drop you to Sonavale village where trail towards Ganpati Gadad begins.
If you coming in a group and you have planned journey as per your time schedule then follow this route as it will also give you several transport option from Murbad to directly Sonavale village.
3)KALYAN – TOKAWADE – SONAVALE – GANPATI GADAD
This route I have found out by personal experiences when I visited Ganpati Gadad.
From Kalyan ST stand, you can catch any ST buses that going to the Ahmednagar via Aalephata route and get down at Tokavade village.
At Tokavade village, you can do breakfast and then hire private auto directly to Sonavale village which will charge you about Rs 250-300.
TREKKING & ADVENTURES
Trek to Ganpati Gadad Caves one of the easy level trek for all.
Coming from any above three route, you will first come across signboards from where trek to Ganpati Gadad begin. You will also get glimpse of Ganapati Gadad cave from here.
Since route to Ganapati Gadad is not prominent from starting to certain point, so I advised to take local guide or whenever you find local villager throughout journey, ask and confirm with them about right direction.
From sign boards, walk on the small tar road that goes through local villager’s home.
Midway on the road, you will first find two unknown sculptures in the farm field at distance and then a small local temple with well on the right side.
While you continue walking on the straight road, you will witness a scenery of surrounding Sahyadri mountains range around Ganpati Gadad
While moving towards Ganpati Gadad, you will came across this is a signboard which is placed by Maharashtra Mountaineers Rescue Coordination Centre (MMRCC). For safety point of view, keep this number always with you during any treks into Sahyadri mountains.
Now next is from this tar road, you have to take left towards Ganpati Gadad where you find a natural trail.
But please verify first by asking any local as there as several crisscross trails that may be confuse you.
Later on it will become one prominent trail when you see Ganpati Gadad on your straight direction.
From the starting point to till here, you have to keep in the mind the position of Ganpati Gadad while walking.
Now you have to follow a single well-made widen trail and as you progress ahead, the trail will take some elevation and goes directly to the Cave.
This route having orange color arrows in regular intervals indicating right direction.
In the midway journey, there are number of beautiful streams flow in the monsoon.
And for safety, local authorities made a path or bridge by small rocks with nets and placed it on the stream portions in the trail route.
Following same trail route, you will come across number of man-made soil steps that takes you to the end patch of the journey.
This final rocky patch route become slippery in the monsoon so you need to careful here.
After crossing this patch, you will reach 1st cave of Ganpati Gadad from the left.
Finally, after reaching the caves, the cave will greet you with a small milky waterfall.
My squad for this trek : Prathmesh Main at right and Abhimanyu Patwardhan at center
Apart from trekking and hiking, there is thrilling 50ft waterfall Rappelling activities also organized at Ganapati Gadad in the monsoon season.
ACCOMMODATION & WATER FACILITY
Even though there is no food and water facility in the caves of Ganpati Gadad, you can stay in middle cave if you carry your own food and enough water.
There are also solar panels facilities at main cave.
Ganpati Gadad caves are take care by local ‘GaneshLeni Charetable Trust’ of Sonavale village. There is one person from this trust name Balu Pawar who can also arrange food for visitors on special demand.
Balu Pawar: 9307094445, 8329285135
BEST SEASON TO VISIT
This is a spiritual place where people mostly visit on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi and Mahashivaratri. Mainly it is the attraction of people in monsoon. Because it is also famous for waterfalls and rivers.
By walking on tar road towards Ganpati Gadad, one can see the scenic view of ‘Ahupe Ghat’, ‘Siddhagad’, ‘Gorakhgad’ and ‘Machindragad’ on the right hand side.
After reaching Ganpati Gadad, one can also see ‘Dhakoba’, ‘Jivdhan’ and ‘Naneghat’ on right.
Along with Naneghat, Ganpati Gadad lies in the part of the Ghats which formed a trade route between the low-lying Konkan region and the Deccan plateau of India above the Ghats.
FINAL THOUGHT ABOUT GANPATI GADAD
“The abundant greenery of Ganpati Gadad can surely change a mood and gives filling of spirituality.”
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CHECK OUT MY VIDEO OF GANPATI GADAD