Sandhan, Valley of shadows – As the name suggest is a valley embittering different shadows of nature. Affectionately also known as Maharashtra’s very own “The Grand Canyon” – it is perfect blend of a rugged canyon and lush valley situated in the western Ghats of Sahayadri.
It is located near Semrad village, the west side of Bhandardara at 3000 ft. above sea level. The valley is surrounded by beautiful sights of Kulang, Kalsubai, Ratangad and Ajoba mountain range. Its offers a beautiful challenging trek of Rock climbing bouldering, there are some big rocks of the size of 18 feet and above. This trek is largely an art of balance and not strength.
Maharashtra provides some of the unique trek destinations for adventure lovers and sandhan is one of it. Normally every trek starts with climbing & then descending, but it is a trek where there was no climbing, only descending till the end. Trek to sandhan are organized by various professional trek groups – Konnect Events and Aberrant wanderers are few of them.
Our Journey started on 25th November 2016 – 10 pm from Borivali – Mumbai with a group of 60 unknown people together to explore the amidst sandhan valley. All were excited and fresh in the bus. Team execution and co-ordination by Konnect Events was amazing. First halt was taken by bus for 15 mins on a highway at around 12.45 am for refreshments and bus fuel refill. After a long travel of about 6 hours we reached the base village Samrad around 26th November 2016 – 5 am. Journey began immediately after light snacks and friendship belt team introduction.
The sight of Kalsubai peak visible from the base village looks amazing. Early morning sunrise in between the peaks gives an essence of divine serenity. The walk from village to the starting point of sandhan with amazing sight of Alang, Madan and Kulang mountains surrounding is a “Walk to remember”.
Entire trek is divided into 4 phases with three big rock patches in between which needs to be crossed by Rappelling and two streams of water. First rappelling spot is 150 feet deep while second and third are very much marginal about 30-40 feet deep .From the starting point of valley, initial patch of 20 meters is normal with small rocks and easy grip on rocks. Thrill begins when wading in cool creek waters starts that range from calf-deep to chest-deep – first stream of water.
In between there are slippery boulders and narrow walled crevices. The entire valley is nothing but Surreal Rock Formations which has taken over millions of years. As sunlight flickers though the moss-covered crevices and the sound of your own footsteps echoes throw narrow walls.
First Rappelling patch is deep like 150-200 feet and needs proper professional Assistance. We reached the first rappelling spot around 12.30 pm and easily descended with the help of expert crew members. Valley has undeniably amazing view of nature. Time management is very important and you have to keep moving to reach the base camp before its dark night. We reached our second rappelling patch around 3.30 pm in afternoon. Lots of reptiles, insects, honey bees and bats are visible around this second patch of rappelling – Mid of valley. When visitor like us thinks that the canyon couldn’t get any grander, it’s stumbling to see some surreal waterfalls hidden in the cool, lush green crevices of the canyon.
After lots of ups and downs, tired and some injured, we all managed to reach the last patch of rappelling around 6.30 pm, then after a small water patch we all reached safely near to our base. It is said “Difficult roads often leads to beautiful destinations” – the sight of base camp was one of the best sight.
In the mid of Stars – colorful tents, mini water pond and water fall by the side, with soothing air blowing. Camp-site have basic amenities such as Tents which house 3-4 people along with carry mats and a tent light. The evening was spent round the warmth of our camp site by the camp-fire cooking the meals. Camp-fire and songs over guitar was the desert of entire trek. All were happy and enjoying like never before.
Sandhan is one way – only descend with no way to go back once started ,holds a lesson
“Journey of Life is one way, there is no going back once started,
you are not the only one in pain /alone , there are many similar around you ,some ahead and some behind , some being tired , some being sad , some regretting to choose a wrong path, some happily enjoying the thrill, focus and learn new things around you – keep moving is the spirit of life “
No morning was as beautiful as 27th November 2016 was. Each face had different conqueror smile and satisfaction .Bowls of hot Maggi and Tea was like 5 star breakfasts 🙂 After some pastime, games and bunch of selfies, we all started toward the base halt of our bus for return journey and reached the bus by 12.30 pm.
‘A journey is best measured with friends, not in miles.’ – Tim Cahill
When the journey started all were unknown, but today we all had stories of our own and with new friends and besties. Memories to cherish for life and a journey of experience to remember – after all we were Sandhan Conquerors 🙂
Best time to visit: October – February
Difficulty level: Medium
How to reach: Take train and reach Kasara then from their Local Jeep /rickshaw between Kasara to Samrad village.
Things to carry: Complete spare set of clothes and towel/napkin etc., Water bottle (at least 1.5 liters) and Lights snacks, Torch with extra batteries compulsory , Proper footwear is essential for this activity – E.g.: Action trekker shoes , Electoral/ Glucon-d energizers and personal medication (if any), A sweater/warm wear , Caps ,Camera (Optional).
Things to avoid: Strong Perfumes as it distracts honey bees and bats, Alcohol, floaters, fashion shoes and sandals.
‘Challenges are what makes life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful’