is one of the 12 Jyotirlings of India, a pilgrimage place approximately 3500 feet high up in the hills. The area around Bhimashankar is covered with thick dense jungle. The Maharashtra Government has also declared it a Wildlife Sanctuary.The sanctuary is small (only about 100 sq. km’s), but it is home to a wide variety of animals Leopard, Sambar, Barking deer, Porcupines, Grey Junglefowls, Wild pig, Hanuman langur, Rhesus macaque and Flying Squirrel etc. The sanctuary is famous as the home of a highly endangered subspecies of the Indian Giant Squirrel – Shekharu (Ratufa indica elphistoni), which is also the state animal of Maharashtra.
The temple of Bhimashankar is around 1200 – 1400 years old and is built on the Hemad Panthi style. There are very beautiful sculptures and paintings on the roof and pillars of the temple. At the front of the temple hangs a huge metal bell cast in 1729. There is also a 15-20 feet high “Deepmala” or lamppost in the outer corridor of the temple. There is also an inscription on stone on this lamppost. It is to be noted that the original name of the river Chandrabhaga at Pandharpur is Bhima. This Bhima River originates at Bhimashankar.
Gupt Bhimashankar :
There is a water stream route going down from the left of the Ram temple. Taking that route, we enter a thick jungle. We reach a temple around 25 minutes through this route. A route going toward the waterfall, left of this temple, leads to the “water sculpted” “Shiva Linga” under this waterfall. This is called the Gupt Bhimashankar. There is a huge waterfall at this place.