Bhandardara October 2016, Part 2

This is the second of two posts describing a lovely weekend in the hill country of Maharashtra outside of Mumbai. The first post covered our trip from Mumbai to Bhandardara, a small resort village about 115 miles north-east of Mumbai. After a nice trip to Rhanda Falls and a good meal and conversation, we awoke the next day to a beautiful morning.

Bur first, the teaser photo of one of the places we visited later that day. This is looking southwest from Lake Ghatghar from the KokanKada1 overlook. There is a lake behind us that is used to create electricity as the water flows to the lake seen in the picture. Apparently, this water is pumped back up during electricity surpluses so it can be re-used to supply peak demand. In any case, the view is wonderful.

This is the view looking southwest from near Lake Ghatghar

But the day started at the Andavan Resort in Bhandardara, with the morning Sun shining in the window.

A pretty view out the window of my bungalow

We had a nice breakfast and a great view of Lake Arthur.

A view from the resort of Lake Arthur

The resort is very well maintained.

The Anandvan Resort is in excellent condition on the beautiful day

We had arranged for cars instead of the bus for the day’s travels. As we waited, the morning traffic passed by.

As we were waiting for our cars, some morning traffic came by

Locals were coming into town for their business. I suppose this is the precursor to Uber, Lyft, and Ola.

I think rural India discovered ride sharing way before Uber or Lyft

We headed off the the northwest. The highest mountains of Maharashtra are ahead of us (although we will not climb them), including Kalsubai Peak, the highest point in the state with an altitude of 5,400 ft / 1,646 meters.

Off on our adventures. The moutains in the background include Kalsubai Peak, the highest point in Maharashtra

We hired a guide for this expedition, Mangesh Sonawane, who knows the area very well. He took us to the locations pictured below and provided good information about the area. I found contact information for him on Google Maps.

Mangesh Sonawane is an excellent guide in this area

Arriving at the KokanKada, Ghatghar Lake overlook, there is a fantastic view to the northwest. The mountains are impressive and, with the monsoon recently completed, nice and green.

With the monsoon recently ended, the views were beautiful and green

This is the small reservoir mentioned at the top of the post.

Another view of the small reservoir with a bird in flight

Our previous day’s trip was slow in a moderate sized bus. These two SUVs did a much better job of getting us across the countryside.

These two SUVs were much more effective than our bus for getting around

With many pretty trails, I am sure one could spend a day or more exploring in the area.

There is very nice hiking / trekking in this area

Looking back toward the upper plateau and mountains

The edge of the plateau has many beautiful features

Close to the edge.

Here I am, next to the edge

We then headed off past GhatGhar lake to visit Sandhan Valley.

We headed off to see Sandhan Valley

Sandhan Valley is a deep, narrow canyon that drains water off the plateau to the plains below. Most of the links I could find are advertisements from travel firms, so just Google it for yourself for more information. Starting off from Samrad village, we headed toward the canyon.

The trail to Sandhan Valley starts from Samrad, a small village

Down we went, along the creek bed.

The first walk down gave no hint of the impressive canyon ahead

Slowly, we climbed over the rocks.

The canyon narrows rapidly. A good opportunity for pictures.

In the narrowing path, another tourist checks their cell phone picture

We reached the low point of the upper canyon. From here, the water got deeper than I wanted to deal with, so I did not proceed. We should have been better prepared, but this stop was a last minute addition to the trip.

Our excellent guide took us down into the impressive Sandhan Canyon

Others from our group went further on.

The water was fresh from the monsoon, but I must admit I stayed out of it

The canyon continues for several hundred meters until it opens out onto the cliffs above the plain. The next four shots are a wide then narrow view down the canyon. In the zoomed views, you can see the light shining where the canyon opens up. This was a very pleasant hike and I am happy that I was able to see this amazing canyon.

Looking down Sandhan Canyon, first of several shots. It opens up to a drop off to the plateau in the distance

This closer shot shows the light from where the canyon opens up

A wide view looking downstream

A closer crop of the prior picture, showing the beauty of that narrow part of the canyon

From here, we returned to the Andavan Resort for a nice lunch, then headed back to Mumbai. A very satisfying weekend.

1I suspect that kokankada means viewpoint or overlook as it is used in many places in Google maps to reference viewpoints. However, I could not confirm this after much searching in Google. I could not find a program that translates from Hindi or Marathi written in Latin letters to English. Not knowing Hindi or Marathi script, I could not phonetically enter it to get a translation.