Valley of Shadow
Sandhan Valley To Karoli Ghat Trek Travelogue 

सांधण व्हॅली

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Sandhan Valley

About Sandhan Valley सांधण व्हॅली  –                                                                                                                                                                               Sandhan valley 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 Map

Sandhan Valley 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)

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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)

Desend to Dehne \ Asangaon (For Mumbai people)
If you are travelling by public transport, you can use Dehne root for return journey.
You will have to reach Igatpuri by train & take bus / Jeep for Rajur or Bhandardara. You will be able to travel up till Shendi (Bhandardara). From here on, a private Jeep will have to be hire to reach Samrad village but the charges are too high.
From Samrad you will to go downhill through Sandhan valley to reach base of the mountain. From hereon you will have to walk 10 to 20 minutes to reach a point where the route bifurcates (Pl refer Map no.4 below – Sandhan Valley Base Route Map). The right side route will take you to Karoli Ghat .You will have to take the left route which takes you to Dehne. After 1 hr of trek you will reach at Dehne village. From Dehne you will get public transport for Shahapur/Asangaon. At Dehne, public transport frequency is very low. From Asangaon you will get local train for Mumbai.

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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)

 

Bhandardara Map

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

Area around Sandhan Valley

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 Fort पाबरगड, Aswala Fort, Bhairavgad Fort भैरवगड, 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 Map

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

 

6 Sandhan Valley Base Route Map By eShrikant

Sandhan Valley Base Route Map (Map No.4)

 

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

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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

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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

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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.

 

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First meet our team

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.

 

Ratangad

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.

 

Ratangad

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.

 

Ajoba

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

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

 

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

Lonely 

 

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

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Canon EOS 1000D, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, at 50 mm, 1/400 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200, EC 0

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

 

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

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Canon EOS 1000D, Sigma APO DG 70-300, at 300 mm, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200, EC 0

Winter Early Morning

 

18 Sandhan Valley

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

 

Bhandardara

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

Restlessness

 

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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

 

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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

 

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

 

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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.

 

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

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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

 

 Alang Madan Kulang

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

 

Sahyadri

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

 

AMK

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

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