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Friday, December 28, 2012

Trek from Samrad -Sandhan valley-Karoli Ghat-Ratangad-Ratanwadi




The world was preparing for the Doomsday 2012 and here I was thinking what I should I be doing if  I survived this holocaust to live another day. The Doomsday passed away without ruffling any feathers and I said Buddy it’s time to celebrate As my bro once said to me “Tere ko to bas bahana chahiye , Pahado per jane ke liye” and I have realized one thing that what you think on your mind screen Toh puri qaynat lag jati hai aapke us khwaab ko pura karne ke liye aur mere sath bhi kuch aisa hi hua.


View from Karoli Ghat
I got this call from nowhere(sadhana I mean) as to can I join her for the trek to Sandhan Valley. For me it was like Christmas cake delivered to me in advance and to make this event more merrier.. Santa Claus added few more goodies in form of additional trek from Sandhan Valley to Karoli Ghat, Samrad Village to Ratangad via Trimbak Darwaja. I simply could exhalt and say Wow !!!
Trimbak Darwaja of Ratangad Fort
21st Friday,2012
Someone has very rightly said that there can always be a Slip between a cup and the lip.This idiom almost came true on Friday night. I was informed that we were to catch 11.04pm Kasara Local and being a stickler for punctuality I was at the Dadar Staion at 10.35pm. Sunil and me kept waiting for eternity and yet there was no sign of Kasara Local. In the meanwhile I get a call from Sadhana who is waiting at Ghatkoper “Sir in which compartment are you” I said "Arre what compartment, I am at the station itself, Ghadi toh aayi hi nahi abhi taj “ she replied “sir baki sab to train me hai” now I panicked , laga ho gaya mera kaam tamam, Gayi bhais pani me I soon realized the blunder that I did, Actually no one told me it was a fast local and here like a stupid person I was waiting on Slow Platform. Dil se awaaz aayi Beta Dimag ki Bhati jala, warna Sandhan Valley Trek ka khawab, Khawab hi rah jayega.
Beta Dimag ki Bhati jala, warna gaya Sandhan Valley Trek 

My trek mate Sunil and I decided that we will take the train to Ghatkoper and meet up Sadhana and Rohan there, Embarrassed I called up Sadhana and told her I am joining them at Ghatkoper( as they gave the train a miss because of our blunder) and from there we will go to Kalyan and take outstation train to Kasara.

 Bas ab kya tha  only fulltoo action for me.... Bhag bhag DK Bose.. Jumped into the Thane local, lept out of train at Ghatkoper station,made a dash to overbridge and took the first local to Kalyan Phew !!!

Kalyan Station:
The struggle continues for us (All thanks to me !!!) to understand which train will go to Kasara. Anyways we were informed that Amritsar train will go towards Kasara. The Action continued for us , The Amritsar train arrived and we were suppose to get into a general compartment. Ab Mumbai ki local ki aadat thi,Therefore we survived another doomsday and got into the train, Inside the compartment the view was no view Kuch dikta hi nahi tha,Public bhar bhar ke thi, lagta tha Mumbai khali ho rahi hai. Mai toh kisi circus artiste se kaam nahi lag raha tha what with one hand holding the bag, balancing my whole body weight like ballad dancer on one leg because Doosri tang kaha rakhu kuch samaj me hi nahi aa raha tha. Baba Ramdev must have felt proud of me if he saw me in this yoga posture. "Ab compartment ke andar toh aa gaye the, but bahar nikal payenge ya nahi,pata nahi Lekin Sandhan Valley toh paka jana hai, jaha itna manage kiya thoda aur karlenge." So like a true Gladiator Sunil,me,Rohan,Sadhana were swishing our swords(I mean our bags) we cut across the crowd and jumped on to the platformand I let out a grasp of air and exclaimed “Phew” Made It !!

Kasara 2.15am: 
Once we reached Kasara Station rest of the gang i.e Anthony sir,Shashi,srikantji, and Karan joined us and from there we moved on to catch jeep which was to take us to Samrad village.The 2 hour jeep journey from Kasara station had its own share of discomforts. As I was sitting at the window seat so never slept Kyo ki nazar hati toh Durgatna ghati, the context here is with reference to these local jeeps whose doors are very unreliable,  there is always a fear of them opening up and you ending up on the roadside ditch or even the valley. Bhai log agli bhaar jeep me bhaito tho iska Dhayan rakna , mere personal experience se bol raha hoon”.

Samrad Village at 6.30 am
22nd Dec 2012:Samrad Village

It was 04.15 am when we reached the village, It was pitch darkness when we touched down at Samrad Village and the moment we stepped out of the jeep the chill in the air made us shiver to no end. Here we were met by a local guide who was waiting for us like Ramsey Brother’s Horror Movie style with a lantern (Chinese wala re, don’t get excited) in his hand and some dirty muffler wrapped around his face.He took us to his house where in a jiffy everyone spread their sheets,newspaper,sleeping bag etc and manage to catch a wink for an hour.
Sadhana and Anthony sir checking ropes

5.30 am: We woked up ,quickly had our tea and started preparing for the trek. Sadhana and Anthony sir checked out the ropes, meanwhile we shifted our bags removing all unnecessary things. We were told not to carry much water as lots of water sources are there along the valley.


6.30 am: We were on the trail. Sandhan Valley trail opens up from a large field and at 360 degree view one can see mighty Alang, Kulang,Madan,Kalsubai, Ajoba,Khuta and Ratangad.
On the trail with the panoramic view of mountain range

After walking for around 20 minutes we entered  bushes


 and suddenly you are drawn into a mouth of a valley 


and next moment one find himself staring at a rock valley.A gigantic black stone wall of mountain. 
Valley of Shadow

One look and you wonder at the creation of nature. It is nothing but a water carved valley of around 150-200 feet deep. The width between the mountain keeps varying at some point it is very narrow say 3-4 feet and at some place it is wide
 eerie darkness
The best part was that one can actually feel that he is in valley of shadow especially with the eerie darkness enveloping the entire surrounding with just a gleam of sunlight like a swish of a sword cutting across this darkness . 
Upon entering the valley we moved on jumping from one stone to another because the entire valley is in a way for waterfall.Stones and Rocks littered everywhere.
1st patch of Water pool

Walking little ahead we came across a small rock patch near the 1st water pool,which can be easily crossed, In some blogs that I had referred to mentioned that water levels here could be between 2 to 3 feets in oct/nov month. Luckily for us we didn't have to negotiate deep water here.Bas pant upar chada liya aur nikal liye.
Light from the top of the Valley
If one looks upward one can see narrow daylight opening.The endless narrow valley has its own enigmatic feeling. After covering few distance we came across the second pool of water
Second Pool 
Water at this pool was deep say upto than 4.5 feet, Luckily for me i was saved another discomfort because I was prepared to encounter this  deep water here (thanks to some reading on net about this trek)  My second set of clothing came handy here.In one minute trek suit was down and shorts up.Now the big moment was coming up for me, i.e the walk through this chilled water, 7.30 am in the mornings and in half Chadi, & baniyaan I was ready to take a dip, full fatti padi thi,
Watch shashi holding his bag and you will understand the depth
and shashi is little taller than me

 I saw Sadhna, going into the water and when the water came upto her neck level  I had a shiver running down my spine, I have this phobia of deep water, (thanks to 26th July Mumbai floods). Next was my turn, now to handle myself along with my bag was a tougher task for me Saala ek to height chota hai apna, upar se bag dala hai peeche, gila toh hoga hi na..ab bag sir per rakhu ki apne aap ko sambhalu the choice was very difficult.
Thanda thanda pani !!!
I gave up the idea of carrying the bag on my head and called out to Karan who being a taller guy among us ,He took my bag and I managed to cross this pool with goosebumps all over my body due to excessive chilled naturally refrigerated water.Ab yeh aur bat hai ki I still managed to give pose for photograph. 
One pose for this waterpool
( See karan behind me going back into the water to take Shashi bag)
 The march through the valley continued with lots of rocky section,We kept moving in & out of narrow rocks,
Large rocky section

























 Passing through these rocky patches we had an unfortunate event when Anthony Sir, slipped and had a fall which resulted in a cut just above his forehead, I must say he bravely said that he want to carry on, because actually those cuts required stitches, somehow he bandaged his wound, hoping the blood to stop flowing and kept moving forward 


Wounded Anthony sir been taken care 
and now a new obstacle, 50 feet Rapelling to reach next level.  The whole experience of this trek was nothing short of a Video game, where the difficulty level keeps going up a you reach next level and the game becomes more tougher.
50 feet rappelling
50 feet rappelling
50 feet Rock patch

We were well prepared, Sadhana and other team members made a joint effort and soon we successfully negotiated this 50 feet rock patch.

After the rapelling we had a short break for our breakfast. Ab itni mehnat ki hai to rest toh banta hai na bhai. The pleasure of trekking is such that you can have Kanda poha in one hand and dangle your legs over some cliff or rock.
What a place to have your breakfast !!!
The splendors of mother nature surrounding you.... it simply can overwhelm anyone. .Kyo sahi bola na , ki koi shaque !!! 

Treacherous rocky path
The trek kept moving forward negotiating more and more treacherous rocky path and

 ultimately reached second rock patch where again rappelling is to be done. This patch was of 14-15 feet , 


Getting down the 2nd Rock Patch
the only catch was the overhang at the end which leads you to a kind of blind spot...Yeh samaj me hi nahi aata ki pair kidhar rakhoo and you end up with jumping into water pool below this rock patch. Mera toh camera hi idhar pani me gir gay tha... 
Arre pair kider rakhoo kuch dikhta hi nahi yehan se !!

Walking further for more than 40 minutes we ultimately reached the Water pond.  Where we all rested for a while, had a photo session, filled up water bottle from the pond, and prepared now for the arduous climb to Samrud Village from Karoli Ghat.
Near the base water pond

The climb from Karoli Ghat was becoming more and more tedious for us because now  we were out of the valley, the sun was heating us hard, and further the  decent part was over, and the climbing part was on. 
Climbing the Karoli Ghat

 The rest breaks became more frequent, but like brave soldiers we kept moving on.
Anthony sir and me
The climb took more than the normal time for us as 2 member shashi & shrikant were not feeling well.  Anthony sir with his head injury was moving forward bravely.

As the climb was getting on everyone's nerve we all took rest, and planned as to what we will have for dinner, Dinner ke naam sunkar sab motivate ho gaye, and unanimously decided that kisi na kisi Murgi ko shahid hoana padega, for dinner, so chicken with rice was the menu for the dinner time.  Shashi & me being veggie lovers, were given respite by Anthony Sir, Who said he will prepare fried rice, it is a different story how fried rice got converted in Veg Biryani, as they say too many cooks spoil the broth. Anyways Sab ko dinner ke, chicken ke kwaab dikakar we pulled off this climb and reached the top plateau of Samrud Village.

Getting refreshed at the Plateau
Bodies were almost on the verge of been termed an dead bodies by this time, luckily for us we found a small pond of collected rain water on the plateau where everyone had little bit of shower, splash etc.  and suddenly we felt rejuvenated. It took us hardly 10 minutes  from here to the Village at our local guide's home.

The dinner was superb, I felt sorry for the two hens who were now residing in the stomach of my co-trekker, and by 10 pm it was good night sleep time as we have to move to Ratangad next day.

Tomorrow will be another day and another trek and of course another blog. Till then wait for the next part of this blog. 

Thank you all


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