• Jayesh Paranjape

Explore this ‘Sacred’ Forest near Pune

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

Just 50 km from Pune is a patch of ‘sacred’ forest which is protected by the locals - Ajivali Devrai.

The natural areas and forest patches around Pune are diminishing day by day as the city is growing! But there are still some forest patches around Pune and across Maharashtra which are protected by the locals and villagers under the name of a deity. These sacred groves are called ‘Devrai’ in Marathi. Devrai is a forest which is protected traditionally with a belief that a god or goddess is the guardian of that forest! As Punekars we are extremely lucky to have more than sixty devrais around us. One such place is the Ajivali Devrai tucked away in the forests near Pawana Lake.

Ajivali is known for its astounding variety of flora and fauna. The base village is called Ajivali where there is a temple of the Waghjai Devi, who is believed to be the guardian of the Devrai which is a 2 km trek from the village. The climb to the devrai is through numerous waterfalls and stunning views of the Tung and Tikona Forts and the Pavana Lake. At the end of the hike, you enter the devrai or the sacred grove which is a thick, dense forest with trees as tall as 60-70 feet! Here too there is a temple dedicated to the Waghjai Devi. A responsible travel tip – While in the forest, please make sure you don’t litter, don’t disturb the plants and animals and respect nature. It is also advisable to trek in a group.

To get there, from Chandani Chowk, get on to the Pirangut Road to Paud village. At Paud village turn right towards Kolvan. After crossing Kolvan and Kashig villages, take a left at Javan on the Javan-Tungi Road. After 3-4 km of ghat, there is a small road on the left which ends at the Ajivali village.

Photos: Vidyuth Singh

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