Monday, May 12, 2014

Ratangad and Sandhan Valley Trek

Ratangad and Sandhan Valley “The valley of Shadows”

Finally the trek been done by us .This time, we did Ratangad from Ratanwadi village and descended to Samrad for the Sandhan valley and then came to Ghatghar to get the bus to start our return journey to reach Pune.I was accompanied with Kiran and Ajit.Total 3 members in the trek

On Day 1 (Climbed Ratangad with just one short break of 5 minutes)
We started around 6:30 am from Pune by bus going to Rajur which is 20 kms before Bhandardara. We reached there till 11:45 am .Further, we came to know that bus to Kumshet , its timings are unknown. We spent time till 1:00 pm at Rajur and came to know that there is only one bus to Kumshet around 5:00 pm and also we tried for jeeps but all in vain
Finally we decided that we will be going to Ratanwadi and then climb Ratangad from there whatever the time may be but our destination for day 1 was “the cave at Ratangad top”.We got one jeep towards Bhandardara and in about 30 minutes, we were near the road going towards Samrad and Ratanwadi hence instead of going towards Bhandardara, we got down at this point.
Now there were no jeeps further to Ratanwadi.Jeeps were supposed to operate after 4:00 pm hence the option was only to walk till Ratanwadi which was 15 kms. After walking 4 kms till Mutkhel, some local people told us to take a boat which will drop to a point from where we can reach Ratanwadi .We got a boat by which we came to Koltembhe village and further 7 kms walking through dried region in Bhandardara dam, around 4:45 pm, we reached  Ratanwadi
After 5:30 pm, we started to climb Ratangad along with local person Nathu Zade and his son accompanied with us. These 2 people provide food to trekkers in the cave and on the next day, he was supposed to prepare food for 15 people from Mumbai hence along with all the materials, they both were accompanied with us
We started climbing and in around 1 hour, it was getting dark and since we were in midst of dense forests, there were couple of sounds of animals. This local person said that once forest officials caught an leopard and left him near Ratangad area hence sometimes, his roar is heard but there is no danger. The leopard is far away from us.Among the river route,along the dense trees and steep climbs,we finally reached a junction point of Ratangad-Harishchandragad trek route. At this point, We took a short break of 5 minutes and headed towards the ladders.It was 7:00 pm and it was quite dark in the forests.We started moving and in around 15 minutes, we reached the ladders and then in 5 minutes, we reached the caves.We had  the food prepared in the cave at the top edging on the valley
Total walk on first day : 5 kms till Mutkhel+7  kms from Koltembhe to Ratanwadi+6 kms walk till the cave from Ratanwadi
Total 18 kms walk on day one

Day 2( Descending Ratangad to Samrad->Sandhan Valley -> Return journey)
Got up early in morning .Even in the month of May, it was quite colder like a normal winter day. It was very much foggy and cold .We just traversed the whole Ratangad top from where we were getting views of the Sahyadris near Katrabai,Ajoba Parvat and Kalsubai,Alang-Madan-Kulang and Ghanchakkar,Muda along with the backwaters of Bhandardara backwaters
Around 8:00 am, we had our breakfast and started heading towards Samrad our next destination where we were supposed to go to Sandhan valley. The route from Trimbak Darwaza was a difficult one because the there are rock cut steps and a narrow slit in rocks. The steps were directly into a 4000 feet valley to your front hence one needs to be careful while descending from here. This route is not recommended for novice persons and also experienced persons must be cautious while descending from here
After that, we came near the pinnacle. From here, there are 2 routes.Right towards Ratanwadi and Left towards Samrad.We took left to descend to Samrad. This route descends towards Baan Lingi Pinacle and at one point,There is a big rock in our way.From here, we have to take right to samrad and the straight route goes in the forests. From here, after descending completely, finding Sandhan Valley is difficult.
You will have to keep walking on the fields and you will find a house in dense trees to your left(There is only one house outside Samrad Village).Approx 300 meters before this house, you will see the route going towards the river bed in dense trees .This is the route to Sandhan Valley
Sandhan Valley(Valley of Shadows) is a small slit between 2 mountains with a steep descent into valley with very big stones, boulders in the way of river bed. This slit is of approx 2 to 3 kms .It takes around 1 hours to reach here. Further, there is a steep descent and a 40 feet big rock patch which can be descended only by rappelling .At very few spots, sunlight reaches hence there are shadows everywhere hence called Sandhan(सांदण दरी) which means shadows.
We went in this valley for 1 hours till the rappelling point and again came back to Samrad.
From Samrad, we went walking till Ghatghar dam approx 4 kms. During this walking, we were able to see a Deer in the forests.

Total walking on second day : 8 kms to Samrad+ 5 kms to and fro Sandhan Valley + 4 kms to Ghatghar
Total 17 kms walking

Total walking in 2 days 35 to 38 kms

We came to ghatghar and got a jeep to Bhandardara  and further to Rajur,Akole and Sangamner from where, we came to Pune

Start of the trek

Katrabai Khind on way to Ratangad

Night time in forests

Junction Point of Ratangad-Harishchandragad route 

Ladders in rocks


Cave on the edge of valley.Our night time halt on Ratangad

Night time in cave.I did succesful testing of my LED torch.This torch was sufficient for light in night time and still working fine on 1 battery

Morning time at cave

Clouds floating 

Katrabai and Ajoba rock walls

Pravara River Orignation Point


Needle Hole on top of Ratangad

Trimbak Darwaza of ratangad

Baan Lingi Pinacle.We entered in this valley to proceed to Samrad

The route marked in red.Its unbelievable but we came from here

Sandhan Valley Entrance point

Around 3 kms length, this slit is like this 

Water pool in Sandhan Valley

Direct descent in valley.We went till here.Further, there was a a big rock patch .We came back from here

Deer in forests.Please zoom and see the area marked in red.You will see Deer here

Ajoba Parvat from Samrad