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Valley of Shadow
Sandhan Valley To Karoli Ghat Trek Travelogue
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                     Heaven!!! Has any one seen heaven, when he is alive?  Majestic mountain ramparts crowned by snowcapped peaks, crumpling alpine slopes draining into wild mountain streams of foaming cascades of immaculate water, deep river valleys with yawning canyons & powerful rivers, blue lakes with the reflection of tranquil mountains, awesome huge glaciers and piled moraine, oasis of green fields swathe by cream-colored desert mountains that all beyond the imagination of human mind and the charm bestowed on this land by the god. That's all I am speaking about heaven on earth i.e. Ladakh, my heaven’s bike ride. But wait for one minute....Just imagine when you travel hundreds of miles in barren & no man’s land, devastated & suddenly disappeared roads...................


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sandhan Valley To Karoli Ghat Trek - Page 1



Valley of Shadow
Sandhan Valley To Karoli Ghat Trek Travelogue
सांधण व्हॅली

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Valley of Shadow
Sandhan Valley To Karoli Ghat Trek Travelogue

PAGE 1 (of 5)
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    About Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली -

         Sandhan valley सांधण व्हॅली is known Wonder of nature & splendid of Sahyadri (Western Ghats).   Water carved valley of 200 ft deep and about 1.5 long. Sandhan valley is located on the west side of beautiful Bhandardara region, near Samrad village. Valley surrounded with mighty Alang अलंग, Madan मदन & Kulang कुलंग (Known as AMK- toughest trek in Sahyadri) Ratangad रतनगड, Ajoba आजोबागड & Kalsubai कळसूबाई शिखर (5400 ft. highest peak in Maharashtra) mountain ranges. Brilliant & deep narrow rock floored ravine between the two high walls of mountain range. At some places its width is less than 3 ft so that at some places sun rays unable to reach. So it’s called valley of shadow. You can enter in Sandhan valley but it is accessible throughout the year except monsoon. To go at end side of gorge you have cross 2-3 water pools, water level changes according to seasons, in winter it is up to waist & in summer it is up to knee height. At the end of valley you get magnificent view of high cliffs & deep valleys. To reach up to this point you don’t need any trekking equipment. This is called Sandhan Valley trek.
                From that point ahead to reach the base of Sandhan Valley & Karoli Ghat you have to go ahead on the same path. This is known as ‘Sandhan Valley to Karoli Ghat’ trek.  This is a challenging phase of that trek which has steep descend with big rocks as we reach closer to Karoli Ghat. That route look like a Harishchandragad “nalichi vaat” हरिश्चंद्रगड नळीची वाट. You have to rappel down 3-4 small patches (max height. 40ft) to reach Base camp. Very few people have taken up this phase as it is considered to be very tough. From base camp its takes 4 hrs trek to reach back to Samrad Village via Karoli Ghat or else from Base camp we can head south towards Dehane village (Base of Ajoba fort) in Thane district.







Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली From Pune & Mumbai Road Map (Map no .1)
Route shown in Yellow marking

  
   Location : Samrad Village, Bhandardara, District: Ahmednagar, State Maharashtra, India

   Getting there:
   1. From Pune -
      Via Sangamner  - (Total Distance - 248 km)
Pune - Narayangaon - Alephata - Sangamner - Akole - Rajur - Randha falls - Ratanwadi phata- Shendi Bhandardara - Panzare - Udhawne - Ghatghar Dam - Samrad village   (Pl. refer Map No.1)

     Via Bota - (Total Distance - 200 km) Recommended Route
Pune - Narayangaon - Alephata - Bota - Bramhanwada - Kotul - Kotul Phata - Rajur - Randha falls - Ratanwadi phata - Shendi Bhandardara - Panzare - Udhawne - Ghatghar Dam - Samrad village  (Pl. refer Map No.1)

     Via Otur - (Total Distance - 200 km)
Pune - Narayangaon - Alephata - Otur - Bramhanwada - Kotul - Kotul Phata - Rajur - Randha falls - Ratanwadi phata - Shendi Bhandardara - Panzare - Udhawne - Ghatghar Dam - Samrad village 
(Pl. refer Map No.1)
(Otur route is single lane route but scenic pass)


   2. From Mumbai-
      Via Igatpuri & Bhavali - (Total Distance - 181 km)
Kalyan - Shahapur - Kasara - Igatpuri - Bhavali - Ambewadi - Vasali Phata - Varaghushi Phata - Shendi Bhandardara - Panzare - Udhawne - Ghatghar Dam - Samrad village   (Pl. refer Map No.1)

      Via Ghoti (Ghoti- Bhandardara Road) - (Total Distance - 199 km)
Kalyan - Shahapur - Kasara - Igatpuri - Ghoti (Ghoti- Bhandardara Road) - Vasali Phata - Varaghushi Phata - Shendi Bhandardara - Panzare - Udhawne - Ghatghar Dam - Samrad village   (Pl. refer Map No.1)

   3. From Nasik - (Total Distance - 93 km)
Nasik - Wdhiware - Ghoti (Ghoti- Bhandardara Road) - Vasali Phata - Varaghushi Phata - Shendi Bhandardara - Panzare - Udhawne - Ghatghar Dam - Samrad village   (Pl. refer Map No.1)
 
   Point to note - This is a circular route
Ratanwadi phata - Shendi Bhandardara - Panzare - Udhawne - Ghatghar Dam - Samrad village - Ratanwadi - Ratanwadi phata - Shendi Bhandardara   (Pl. refer Map No.1) 




Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली Route & Spots Around Sandhan (Map no .2) 

  
   Area around Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली
   Spots to visit  along with Sandhan Valley –
Randha waterfall, Bhandardara Dam, Amruteshwar Temple @ Ratanwadi, Kokan kada कोकण कडा @ Sandhan Valley (pl. refer Map no.3), Bhandardara backwater near Samrad village, Ghatghar Dam, Kokan kada @ Ghatghar, Ghatnadevi temple & Kokan kada कोकण कडा

   Spots around Sandhan Valley –
Pabargad पाबरगड Fort, Aswala Fort, Bhairavgad भैरवगड Fort, Ghanchakkar (Mountain), Katrabai walls, Aajoba Fort, Ratangad Fort, Ratangad Khuta (Pinnacle),Bann (Pinnacle), Karoli Ghat, Alang Fort, Madan Fort, Kulang Fort, Kalsubai (5400 ft. Highest peak in Maharashtra)


Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली & Karoli Ghat Route Map (Map no .3)

  
   Time to Reach :
   For Sandhan Valley –
From Samrad Village to Sandhan Valley entrance = 30 min
From Sandhan Valley entrance to end of the Sandhan Valley gorge = 1 - 1.5 hrs.
Total 3 - 4 hrs are sufficient to explore Sandhan Valley

   For Sandhan Valley To Karoli Ghat Trek (For group of 10 persons)
From Samrad Village to Sandhan Valley entrance = 30 min
From Sandhan Valley entrance to end of the Sandhan Valley gorge = 1 - 1.5 hrs.
From end of the Sandhan Valley gorge to Sandhan Valley base (Karoli Ghat) = 4 - 5 hrs.
Back to Samrad village from Sandhan Valley base via Karoli Ghat = 4 hrs.
Total Time=11-12 hrs 



  Grade:
   For Sandhan Valley- 
   From Mid June to September - Not accessible
Due to Heavy rainfall in that region you cannot enter into the valley. There is huge waterfalls & heavy flow of water in Sandhan Valley gorge.  
   October - 4/5 (Tough)
In October water level is too high & water is still flowing at high speed. Huge force of water is falling dawn from both side of high walls of Sandhan valley gorge. 
   November to Mid March - 3.5/ 5 (Slightly Tough)
In November & December at 1st water pool, water level is 2-3 ft high & at 2nd water pool water level is 4-6 ft high. In January & February level of water in both water pools decreases by 1-2 ft.
   Mid March to May - 3/5 (Medium)
Water level in both water pools is ok so you can easily cross it. At 1st water pool, water level is 1 ft & at 2nd water pool 2-3 ft.
 
   For Sandhan Valley To Karoli Ghat Trek -       
   From Mid June to October - Not accessible 
   November to May - 4/ 5 (Tough) Trekking equipments are must


   Best time to visit:
    For Sandhan Valley - November, December, April & May (winter is always best for changeling treks, floral beauty with green landscapes with great atmosphere.  In hot summer if you want some chill out with adventure, Sandhan valley & Bhandardara backwater is best place to visit)

   For Sandhan Valley To Karoli Ghat Trek - November, December & January


   Stay Facility: 
   For Sandhan Valley Trek - School & Temple at Samrad village
   For Sandhan Valley To Karoli Ghat Trek - Near water pond at base of Sandhan Valley, Karoli Ghat

    Point To Note: For Sandhan Valley trek take a Guide from Samrad village.




First meet our team of Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली To Karoli Ghat Trek


       If anyone asked me what is your favorite trekking spot? Without doubt it will be Sandhan valley. Sandhan Valley is like my second home. It was mid January 2011, Last week we finished our Vishram Gad trek and I was contemplating about my upcoming weekend plan. At that moment Hrishikesh came online and ask me, are you coming for Sandhan valley track for coming weekend? Next day immediately I called Hrishikesh and confirmed to join for Sandhan valley trek. On Friday night I reached Hrishikesh home and I was introduced to Michaela & Lene. Both are Hrishikesh’s friend, Michaela from Germany, she is Yoga instructor and Lene is from Denmark. Both are adventure lover and have traveled in Europe on bicycle. They have covered nearly 2000 Km on their cycles. Then I met Mr.Sanjay and Mr. Ankush. Mr. Sanjay is businessman & Mr. Ankush is retired captain from Indian Army. Hrishikesh’s sister Amarja & my friend Sumant also joined us. Then we collected all trekking equipment & went ahead towards Kalyan from Pune, there we pick up Mukul and Anand. They came from Banglore especially for this trek via flight. We gather from different location, different country and different state for Sandhan valley trek. Around 1 am we left for kalyan & move towards Sandhan Valley.


Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 31 mm, 1/160 sec, f/9, ISO 200, EC -0.3
Crack of dawn
Good morning Sandhan. View of Khuta of Ratangad  रतनगड fort from Samrad village, Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली, near Bhandardara

       We reached Samrad village at 6 in the morning. This was the time where I could see the Sun coming through the mountains and there were different shades of colours spread all over the sky. I was overjoyed and exited to capture this moment in my camera. 
       There we met our guide Mr. Yashwant, who was waiting for us. This was my forth visit to Sandhan. First time I visited Sandhan it was December 2008, I was with my six friends. Second time I was here in July 2009 for Sandhan to Ratangad Trek. I was here again for “Pilot Rappelling” around June 2010 in Karoli Ghat with my other four friends. At that time of the year it was early days of monsoon and the water level was rising in the Sandhan area so we could not go ahead in the valley, so we decided to return from there.


Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/30 sec, f/9, ISO 200, EC -0.7
Mighty Alang अलंग, Madan मदन & Kurang कुलंग (Known as AMK- toughest trek in Sahyadri) & Kalsubai ( 5400 ft. Highest peak in Maharashtra ) mountain ranges on north side of Samrad village, Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली, near Bhandardara.

In February 2008 I was here for AMK trek with my five friends. I was back again in February 2009. It took us only 2 days to complete AMK.


Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 25 mm, 1/100 sec, f/9, ISO 200, EC -1.33
Ajoba Fort आजोबागड @ south side of Samrad Village near Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली

In august 2010 we were here on our bikes for Ajoba Fort trek from Pune. We were just two of us for this trek.

Canon EOS 1000D, Sigma APO DG 70-300, at 238 mm, 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200, EC +1.0
Lonely 

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 35 mm, 1/30 sec, f/5.6, ISO 500, EC -0.3

I saw old man sitting near fire log. I took this photo with my latest Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens.

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, at 50 mm, 1/400 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200, EC 0
Samrad village, Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली, near Bhandardara

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 22 mm, 1/25 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400, EC -0.33


Canon EOS 1000D, Sigma APO DG 70-300, at 300 mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200, EC 0
Winter Early Morning
Samrad village, Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली, near Bhandardara

Canon EOS 1000D, Sigma APO DG 70-300, at 300 mm, 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200, EC 0
Cool charm of winter

Canon EOS 1000D, Sigma APO DG 70-300, at 168 mm, 1/2000 sec, f/5, ISO 200, EC 0
Restlessness

Canon EOS 1000D, Sigma APO DG 70-300, at 238 mm, 1/2000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200, EC 0
Magic of Sigma APO DG 70-300 Macros

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, at 50 mm, 1/25 sec, f/1.8, ISO 800, EC 0
It's fun being a kid.
Yashwant’s Son

At Yashwant’s house we had “kanda poha” & tea for breakfast 

For Dinner @ base of Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली, Karoli Ghat 
At Yashwant house we packed raw material for dinner. We also carry live hens with us for a dinner

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, at 50 mm, 1/3200 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100, EC 0
Another Aajoba (Grandfather) at Samrad village near Aajoba fort आजोबागड

Unknown old man came near us and enquired about us.


Canon EOS 1000D, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, at 50 mm, 1/4000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100, EC 0

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 50 mm, 1/20 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400, EC 0
Enjoy the Every moment of Life

Yashwant’s wife was cleaning rice and I took this snap by changing the camera mode to shutter priority 

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 40 mm, 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 100, EC -0.3, Total Frames 8
Bhandardara backwater near Samrad village with stunning view of Alang अलंग, Madan मदन & Kurang कुलंग Forts & Kalsubai कळसूबाई Range

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/250 sec, f/9, ISO 100, EC -0.3
Bhandardara backwater near Samrad village, Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली, Bhandardara

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 35 mm, 1/200 sec, f/11, ISO 100, EC -0.3
Alang अलंग with Backwater of Bhandardara
Samrad village, Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली

Let’s Go….. My trekking Avatar

I had to carry a lot of stuff with me. There was rope and camera tripod in one hand and camera bag with lens in the other hand, with all this I also had to carrying two days tracking sack on my shoulder.  

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/800 sec, f/9, ISO 100, EC -0.7
Ratangad रतनगड calling

We start our trek at 10 am for Sandhan valley along with Yashwant and his brother 
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This Blog contains total 5 Pages of 140 images.


You are at Page 1 ( of 5 )
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Sandhan Valley To Karoli Ghat Trek - Page 2



     Page 2

Valley of Shadow
Sandhan Valley To Karoli Ghat Trek Travelogue
सांधण व्हॅली

Page 2 (of 5) 

Please have patience, loading image takes time.

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/320 sec, f/9, ISO 100, EC -1.0
‘Reflection’ of tranquil mountains, Ratangad रतनगड & its Khuta (Pinnacle)
Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली, Bhandardara

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/250 sec, f/9, ISO 100, EC -0.7, Total Frames – 7
Kokan kada कोकण कडा near Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली

We left Samrad village and reach Kokan kada after half an hour trek


Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/100 sec, f/9, ISO 100, EC -0.7, Total Frames - 7
Breath taking scenes of Sahyadris, the high cliffs, deep valleys
Kokan kada कोकण कडा near Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/60 sec, f/9, ISO 100, EC 0, Total Frames - 5
F.R.I.E.N.D.S
Kokan kada कोकण कडा near Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली, Bhandardara
.
After watching Kokan kada Michaela, Lene & other friends were very glad


 
Kokan Kada of Sandhan Valley
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Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/40 sec, f/9, ISO 100, EC -0.3, Total Frames - 2
Top view of Kokan kada @ Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली
Miniature version of Konkan kada कोकण कडा of Harishchandragad हरिश्चंद्रगड Fort

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/100 sec, f/6.3, ISO 100, EC -2.0
Designed by god crafted by nature
Top view of Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली.
Water carved narrow gorge between the two high walls of mountain range, 200 ft deep and about 1.5 long.
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From this point you can get full top view of Sandhan valley

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/40 sec, f/8, ISO 100, EC -2.0
At entrance of Sandhan valley सांधण व्हॅली

Around 11 am we reach entrance of Sandhan valley.

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 46 mm, 1/50 sec, f/8, ISO 100, EC -2.0
Valley of Shadow

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 34 mm, 1/400 sec, f/8, ISO 200, EC -0.33
Snake’s shed Skin

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/8 sec, f/9, ISO 100, EC -1.33
Rock patch near 1st water pool
.After entry to the valley there is rock patch near 1st water pool which is not difficult to descend
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Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/13 sec, f/8, ISO 200, EC -0.33
1st water pool of Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली
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          In November & December at 1st water pool, water level is 2-3 ft high. In January & February level of water pool is decrease by 1 ft. In mid-March to May water level is around 1 ft. so you can easily cross it.
          After crossing the rock patch there is 1st water pool which is not easy to cross. At the right hand side there is narrow route along the rock. By taking support of rock using both hands, we balance our body and walked on narrow route until we reached in the middle way. There is small wood stick lying. By taking support of that wood stick we cross 1st water pool by balancing our body on it.

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/50 sec, f/8, ISO 100, EC -2.0
Shooter

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/25 sec, f/8, ISO 320, EC -0.7
Great Valley of Sandhan

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/4 sec, f/8, ISO 400, EC -0.7
Narrow passage through the 2 walls of mountains 

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/4 sec, f/9, ISO 100, EC -0.7, Total Frames - 2 vertical
‘Majestic Splendid of Sahyadri’ - Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली
The valley is carved through rocks and cliffs stretching along more than 1.5km and around 200ft deep

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/125 sec, f/9, ISO 100, EC 0
Silhouette

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/3 sec, f/9, ISO 100, EC -0.33
‘Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal’
Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली


Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 55 mm, 1/5 sec, f/8, ISO 400, EC -0.33
Big Rocks on the way….Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/13 sec, f/9, ISO 100, EC -2.0
2nd water pool of Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 53 mm, 1/50 sec, f/8, ISO 800, EC -0.3
At 2nd water pool
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At 2nd water pool water level is 4-6 ft high. We reach 2nd water pool after crossing big rocks. Water level up to 6ft. Yashwant and his brother carried our trekking sacks on their head and crossed to the another side   

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/6 sec, f/8, ISO 800, EC -0.7
Thrilling experience of crossing 4 ft. deep & freezing cold at 2nd water pool of Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/4 sec, f/8, ISO 800, EC -0.33
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At 2nd water pool of 4-6 ft high
We take half an hour to cross 2nd water pool and we continue to our journey 

Sanjay Nalawade & Capt. Ankush Pawar enjoying the thrill 

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/320 sec, f/8, ISO 200, EC -1.33
Shaft of light

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/30 sec, f/8, ISO 100, EC -1.0
Moving ahead, 500ft. height on both sides

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/80 sec, f/8, ISO 200, EC -0.33
We come & go…..

Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/40 sec, f/8, ISO 200, EC -0.7
Rays

Michaela, Capt. Ankush Pawar, Amarja, Sanjay Nalawade (At 1st row from Right to left)
Lene & Sumant (At last row from Right to left)
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Canon EOS 1000D, Canon 18-55, at 18 mm, 1/80 sec, f/8, ISO 200, EC -0.7
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This Blog contains total 5 Pages of 140 images.


You are at Page 2 ( of 5 )
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