Samrad village is about 200 kms from Mumbai. It is located in Bhandardara region and is gateway to the majestic Sandhan Valley. It is one the darkest night sky areas in Maharashtra. However, with big cities nearby, I was not sure if stars would be visible from the campsite here. Nevertheless, couldn’t resist the temptation to be with the diamonds and there I was!
Sunset over Bhandardara lake was indeed beautiful and soothing after a 5 hours journey…a good beginning! During the night, weather was cold and sky a bit hazy. After a while, it started clearing up. Normally, first thing I try to spot is the Polaris (Dhruv or North Star) as it defines the directions and location of interesting twinkles shining up there. With the help of Saptarishi (Ursa Major or Big Dipper) that task was easily completed. I wanted to capture the rise of Milky Way, which was expected around 11pm in the South-East horizon over the hills of Sandhan Valley. From 10:30pm to midnight, I was busy taking pictures but there was no sign of Milky Way as sky was not clear enough. No problem…if not the Milky Way, I will surely get the star trails!
At around 4am, the camp was active again because Milky Way was visible though not very clear. Took some pictures of ‘the Tiger of night sky’ and turned towards Polaris. Saptarishi was nicely positioned to the right of Polaris and would disappear in about an hour. I found that more interesting so got busy with them till day break. The twilight colours of the sky were changing rapidly making the environment serene. Soon, it was time for the Sun to conquer the sky with golden to bright white light. It was just another dusk to dawn cycle but Samrad made it special…
Dusk to Dawn is a time-lapse video of my experience. Hope it makes you pack your travel bags!