There is such a forest, the peculiarity of which is that it is always ‘on fire’. Its location is in the Bhimshankar Sanctuary of the Western Ghats or Sahyadris of India. This forest is spread across the Western Ghats of Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.
This forest is called ‘luminescent forest’ in scientific terms. Luminescent seas are heard of in some parts of the world. Its beaches and the waves crashing on the sand at night look like countless jewels. When you see this bright blue scene in the dark, it seems like they are shining in the night sky. The world’s 11 luminescent beaches are popular with tourists. Luminescent seas are rare. But this type of forest is rarer than that. Bhimshankar Sanctuary in the Western Ghats is one of those rare monuments. This form of forest is most abundant and best seen in the monsoons. When excess water vapor accumulates in the air, it reacts with Mycena bacteria to create a bright light. Although the leaves and branches of the trees accumulated on the ground of the forest start to rot in the monsoons.
There therefore Mysena germs propagate rapidly. This sanctuary becomes bright due to the reaction of water vapor with these microbes. Jonaki is another reason for the night glow of the Western Ghats. In the months of May-June of the year, just before the onset of the monsoons, this forest turns into a habitat for jonakis. Many go to different parts of the mountain to see that otherworldly beauty in the darkness of night. But night trekking is not allowed there unless you are an experienced trekker. The Bhimashankar forest is sacred to the local tribes. The sanctuary is home to the Indian Giant Squirrel. Apart from this, permanent inhabitants of the forest are different species of jackal, hyena, leopard and different species of birds.
It takes five to six hours by car to reach this sanctuary at a distance of 213 km from Mumbai. One of the attractions of this forest is the temple of Bhimashankar. According to legend, the forest is named after this temple of Mahadev. The mechanism behind glow in the dark is ‘bioluminescence’. Bioluminescence is an organism or fungus whose body is a source of light. Misena and Jonaki are examples of bioluminescence. This genus also contains some fungi. The presence of this bioluminescence in nature brings a dazzling glow to deserted beaches and deep forests at night.