Once in a year, go some place you have never been before – Dalai Lama
Few months back, I came across some pictures of Sandhan Valley good enough to fascinate me. On doing a quick research I got to know a little more about the place more popularly known as – “Valley of Shadows“, “Valley of Suspense“, “Grand Canyon of Maharashtra“. The pictures and these names were good enough to put Sandhan Valley into my Bucket-list. I am glad to kick off my New Year – 2016 with this wonderful experience.
Location : Samrad village, Bhandardara, District: Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. It is surrounded by Alang, Madan, Kulang, Kalsubai, Ratangad and Ajoba forts.
Height: 4255 ft
Best time to visit : November to February ie during winters. This trek is not recommended during monsoon.
About : Sandhan Valley is a 300-foot deep cut in the scenic Sahyadri mountains, near Bhandardara which lies 180 kms away from Mumbai and 90 km from Nashik. The Valley is a natural crack some 3000 ft above sea level. It measures almost two-and-half kilometer and goes nearby 500 ft deep in some patches. A unique trek where there is no climbing but only descend, is one the most fascinating treks of Maharashtra. At some places the width between the rocks is less than 3 feet thus obstructing the rays of the sun casting shadows. The trek is so thrilling, at a point the only option to move forward is to rappel down some 50 Ft.
I was with a group of another 25 trekkers and the Trek was organized by Tattva Adventures. Few of us boarded Kasara Local from Dadar at 11:05 PM and met others in the local. We were at Kasara Station by 1-1:30 am in the night, and headed to Samrad village in 3 jeeps. After a fun filled and adventurous jeep journey, we reached the village by 5:00 am.
I would call this a different trek from my previous ones. The earlier ones I did was more about the jungles, trees even snow. Here the only thing that I remember is huge and big Valleys, rocks and stones. Passing through those valleys took me back to the Stone Age. I felt jubilant as I never expected I would get to see such a place, and before that I never knew such a place existed.
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known – Carl Sagan
One will also have to cross a patch with water till waist/neck where you might have to carry your bag on your head. 26 of us made a chain and passed our bags from one end to another which was real fun in that freezing water.
We came across 3 rappelling patches, the first one being the longest. The other two were small ones but tricky enough to put our technical team into work.
Walking only on stones and rocks drained me up completely. Till I reached the first rappelling point, I had cramps in my legs and my stamina gave up. But the rappelling session boosted me. We had some first time trekkers, so we were little behind the schedule, but I liked the way the team worked together and stood for each other which made it a successful trek for all. We reached our camping point by 5:30-6:00 pm.
We had some awesome tasty food cooked by a local who joined us there. It was crazy to sleep under the Open sky in the sleeping bags without any tents, star gazing was heavenly, the windy breeze was nail biting, but didn’t stop us from doing our campfire fun. The gang sang all the old-new Bollywood songs.
Next morning we had Maggi and Tea for breakfast and started by 8:00-8:30 am for the base village.
Coming back to the village was easier as we walked through plain plateaus, came across very few rocks and stones. We reached the village by 12-12:30 pm, where we had some amazing lunch cooked by a local family.
I would not call this a very easy trek, probably not for the first time trekkers, though we had some first timers with us who did it successfully.
- Since it is a winter trek, it is very cold here during night. Carry enough to protect yourself from the cold.
- It becomes difficult to walk in the rocks and stones with heavy Bag-pack, don’t carry unnecessary baggage.
- If mosquitoes bother you, carry mosquito repellents.
- There is a water point till neck or waist, make sure to pack your things in plastics. We did not wet our bags as we passed them forming a chain from one end to another.
To sum up, my Sandhan exploration was more than what I expected. Not any pictures can show of what I had experienced. This trek gives me a sense of accomplishment.
Someone said it true for this Trek:
” The deeper you go, the higher you feel”
I am thankful to Tattva Adventures for organizing this trek so well. The expertise and technical guidance of these people made it just more perfect.
Visited Sandhan Valley on 2-3rd January 2016