It was 25th December and a day to be enjoyed in mountains for us. This trek was the most unique in history of TryTheThrill. The plan was actually something different, we were supposed to do Ghangad this time, but when we reached Lonavala the scene was different.
So according to plan, we all reached Lonavala by Indrayani express train in morning at 8.15 am. We then headed towards S.T stand and we came to know that the first bus towards the base of Ghangad has already left and the next bus is at 12 pm. So we decided to do something else rather then Ghangad, as there is no other option to reach the base except the S.T bus which we already missed. Jeeps also communicate but the frequency is too low. We decided to check out the Canyon valley of Maharashtra, Ulhas valley or Tiger valley.
So I made some phone calls to my trek mates who had done Ulhas valley trek before for the guidance of route etc. All information was gathered and we headed towards the base point which is in Kune gaon, 6.5 km away from Lonavala station on the highway towards Mumbai. We asked some rickshaw walas near the station for how much it will cost till Kune gaon, and they said 300-400 Rs. which was too high. So we decided to move on towards the highway and check if we get any lift or something. On the highway near kumar resorts, we got a rickshaw which dropped us till Kune gaon junction for 10 rs per seat. Cool man, this was it which I wanted.
So we were now on the old highway and in front of us was the flyover of new highway. Below the flyover there is a mud road going to Kune village. We went ahead of this road and as per my friends guidance we looked for a tiled road on left side of this mud road which climbs up to a private property. Soon we came across this road and headed upwards, after gaining a certain height we come across a flat land on left side which we need to walk on now. We left the tile road and went ahead on this flat land. We now have to go ahead on this flat land until we reach a set of pine trees. There is a big plateau over here which has its edges sharply going down in the Ulhas valley. We could now see the vast waterfall of Ulhas valley right down, in front was the express highway, and behind in the background was the Duke’s nose. This is the base for Ulhas valley trek.
So now, we had to search for a dry waterfall on this plateau ahead which slowly goes down in the valley. We got this waterfall which was almost dry, we started the trek now. I guess this was the first time someone was doing a trek of Ulhas valley via this route after monsoons. The way was completely gone and was full of spider and their huge webs. It’s a very dense place and really dangerous for newbie.
This waterfall which is not much steep ends into a small rivulet which runs downhill slowly and then gets converted into waterfall. The rocks were getting huger as we moved down. After coming down almost an hour, we reached a spot from where this waterfall falls into the deep valley right below directly 90 degrees. From this spot you can see Kumshet tunnel in front of you and the waterfall of ulhas valley is on left side down in the valley. Dukes nose can be also seen from here.
The route now goes from the left side of this spot through forest. The way was fully covered with spiders; we somehow managed to cross it. After walking about 5-10 mins, a dry waterfall comes, now we have to get down in the valley using this fall. There are few rock patches where one needs to be extremely careful. This waterfall was completely dry as compared to the previous one which had loads of water.
This waterfall climbs down steeply and we reached the bottom of valley from here in about 45 mins, it was about 12.30 pm. The place where we were right now was just awesome. From here we needed to walk on the sides of river to reach the point where the main waterfall of ulhas valley takes place. We started walking towards the left and after a turn we could see the mighty waterfall. Its noise was like crazy. The decent till here was very thrilling and awesome one. We had lot of photo sessions in the background of this huge fall. We were not in mood to get wet as it was a dangerous place, full of slippery moss and a big pond which deep enough to sink us down. We had our lunch here which was a unique one, we had sandwiches filled up with crack jack biscuits, fruits and butter chutney.
It was an awesome moment, sitting on a big rock near the waterfall and having such lovely sandwiches in the awesome atmosphere. We finished with our lunch at about 1.15 pm and we packed our bags for the ascend. This trek is that’s why unique, usually we climb up first and then get down, but here in the valley you first need to get down and climb up when your tummies are finally filled up…lol.
It’s a bit tough to climb up with heavy tummies, and so we all got slow now, even the hot sun was making us more exhaust. Soon we reached the point from where we needed to leave the river and climb up the dry waterfall. We were climbing nicely and after about 45 mins, we found that something is wrong, because we never saw such parts while coming down. The waterfall was no more a waterfall and it was fully covered with buses full of thorns and loose gravels which made climbing up more difficult. We stopped here and thought what to do now, we were climbing up correctly upto some extent but we were missing something right below somewhere. So we decided to get down a bit and see if we can get our way back. But no way was found, infact we had clicked a mushroom while getting down which was spotted here and it was still here, so we were on correct waterfall route. So we again started climbing up the same thing, we again reached the loose gravels and the thorny bushes, well this was never seen while coming down. But the mushroom thing was a confirm case. So now we had to take a decision, and we decided to climb up from these thorny bushes.
Okay so now the condition was, 4 pm, soon its going to be dark in this jungle, very less water, no torch, and no route to climb up. We were figuring what and where to go and climbing was started. We reached a place from where the top plateau of Kune was right above us 60-70 feet but it was right 90 degrees which we can’t climb up anyway. This was like a dead end. Okay so now some other way, we went more ahead upwards from the sharp edge which was very difficult to take grip, we were literally catching the thorny bushes and taking hand grips, it was a sloping area of about 70 degrees with loose gravels and these thorny bushes. Okay now it seemed like it would be possible to get out from here somehow as we could see a small gulley ahead which might be climbable. But when we reached the gulley, it was like almost impossible. So again a dead end, we tried a kind of rock climbing here but no it was not enough. But if we were able to climb this, we could have reached the top flat plateau in very short time.
Anyway, now we decided to get down on right side in the jungle. Getting down was more difficult, vey less grips and full of loose gravels which are worst in grips. After getting down for some time, we were able to hear a noise of waterfall, and we headed towards it, right now we had only some 100 ml of water and we needed it the most. Finally we reached that waterfall and at least one tension was over, the water was filled up and we refreshed ourselves. We decided to move ahead using this waterfall as it was heading upwards.
After few minutes we all were thinking that this is the same waterfall which we used to get down initially from the plateau. And we all got some proofs where we had done photo sessions and yes it was sure that we were back on the right route. All happy, and no tension of getting dark. It was now 4.45 pm and we reached up the plateau finally. We had some more photo sessions here and then headed towards the highway. So basically what we did was, we bypassed the spot where this waterfall drops down into valley straight 90 degrees.
Anyway when we reached the old highway junction we quickly got a rickshaw for Lonavala market and we had a very good food in a hotel. Then we went to station and took intercity express to get back to Mumbai. Ulhas valley was done finally, it was one of my dream trek and I did it nicely. People say it needs technical equipments to do this trek, but I did not found any such patches. Yeah there are some patches where good tricky rock climbing is needed, but they are not too difficult that you need ropes.
We all enjoyed this trek very much, specially the superb sandwiches which are actually invented by us. The waterfall down in the valley is just awesome and one can see it from highway itself. It drops from a very huge height and hence the noise is also like crazy.
Click here to see pictures of Ulhas valley trek.