Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sandhan Valley summer trek


A long time ago I had heard about this valley from many of my trekker friends and known about their experiences while trekking this route. The photographs of this valley left me astonished and the design of the rocky route left me willing to trek this route & then came this time in the month of April that I joined my friends at TMI for this beautiful trek called the ‘Sandhan Valley trek’.

Sandhan Valley is a wonder of nature that cuts open the land from Samrad village, goes deep for some 200-300ft and stretches for a kilometer and a half in length. It looks as if the land has been cut open to give way for us trekkers to test our limits while ascending & descending the mighty rocks that stand in our way. The monsoon trek through Sandhan valley is the biggest challenge for any trekker as the rocks are all covered by moss to make it slippery well enough & the slope of the valley brings in enough water coming down with force to wash away any weak thing that stands in its way. Such is the might of this valley as I’ve heard from all the passionate trekkers I know. But I would surely wish to admire the beauty of Sandhan valley just after the nature is done pouring in rain and the whole valley would be green and cool and Oh! So beautiful. I’m really looking forward to do so and photograph the whole beauty of this valley just after the monsoon.
Sandhan valley is situated in the Bhandardara region, a place in the western ghats of Maharashtra, amidst the Mighty Sahyadris. You have to reach ‘Samrad’ village which is an hour long jeep ride from Kasara on the Kasara-Bhandardara road. We left towards Kasara by the last Kasara local from Thane and then travelled to Samrad village by jeeps. A total of 34 trekking enthusiasts in 3 jeeps and around 4am we reached Samrad village. Trekkers can accommodate themselves in the verandas of the village school for the night.

6am: we start with the morning breakfast and an introduction session as a ritual at TMI and around 7o’clock we start the trek towards the valley and reached the entry way to the valley in around half an hour. The valley can be best described by the following photographs.
Its is a huge and deep valley that stretches for a long distance with rocks of all sizes placed naturally at such places so as to make the route difficult & get you tired soon. The valley is filled with water deep enough, when it rains here. We trekked in the month of April in mid summer, we crossed the a water pool just as we entered the valley which was not more than 2 feet deep, that was all the water available in the entire valley (a few small streams run from various places in the valley even in mid summer which can be used as drinking water).
The photographs explain much about the valley.

Rappelling down the first rock patch: it took us some 2-3 hours for 34 people (not so known with rappelling) to cross the first patch. This patch is around 40-45 feet deep rock foundation. For my trekker friends, it is advisable to carry extra slings to setup the rope to rappel down rather than searching for huge rocks to tie the rope upon. The problem with setting up the rappel on the rocks is that, as more people rappel down the rope gets stuck with the gaps in the rock making it difficult for the last person to free the rope out, so the sling is a better option at this patch.

Somewhere around 2:30pm, we were done with the first rock patch. The second rock patch is an easy on that can be done without a rope setup, for safety reasons, a rope tied around the waist with a belay on top is a simple option. Another hour and we reached the third patch.

4pm: we were half past the last rock patch. It is a 20-30ft rock patch, but the trick is that there is a way below the biggest rock on that patch. You can crawl and pass this patch but remember to clear the place above these huge rocks and not shake any other rocks. It is like around 10mt crawl below the rock and another 8ft descend with is not difficult anyways.

6pm: we were done crossing the Sandhan valley and near the pond that serves as the base for the night. Even in the mid summer, this pond is filled with water deep enough for a dive and cool enough to refresh our bodies of the tiresome activities that we had been through for the whole day. I say, a bath in this pond is must after this trek. All of us enjoyed the water, diving and swimming all the time long. And in an hour we were off to prepare dinner for the night.

Around 9:30pm, we were done preparing the dinner for the night. After such a tiring trek we had our stomachs full with the food. I say, our body deserved every last bit of food that we had. And around 11pm most of us were off to sleep leaving some of us chatting and enjoying the feel of the night in a valley and chatted all the time and finally slept around 2am. The sky was all filled with twinkling stars lighting up the environment in the absence of the moon on our side of the valley. With not much views to look at and nothing else to do after a chat with my friends Vikram, Prasad & Vishal, we all slept of in the silence of the night. This part of the valley does not get any cool wind, but still the temperature wasn’t hot, so we could sleep well even in the absence of any cool breeze.

Woke up around 7o’clock. We had good Maggie prepared by Vikram and some good tea to refresh our bodies in the morning. A few of us had a bath in the pond again in the morning & so did I. The dip in the water was so refreshing that is drained the tired feeling off my body.

Around 9am, a clear look at the Baan pinnacles & we were off from the place we had camped and walking towards Dehene village. The walk is all straight over the dried river that goes through the valley. It took us around one & a half hour to walk the route till the village in the soaring sun & hot wind. Fortunately, we started very early so as we could skip the afternoon heat.

11am: we finally reached Dehene village and still the sun hadn’t started pouring down all its might on the land, lucky enough to be able to skip the high temperatures, we reached and rested in the courtyard of a villager’s house. This place was just like the one I always wanted to live for a while, a simple house with a courtyard which was clean plastered with a mixture of cow dung & water (for all those who know what I’m talking about, you know how cool it feels while sleeping on such ground). The villager folk had a herd of cows, bulls & buffaloes. A hand pump just outside the courtyard and a river some distance away, what a place to live at!
As the rest of the crew arrived slowly & exhausted, we had already finished up freshening our bodies under the water from the hand pump. It’s a totally different experience I wish my readers try once. We had a lot of water to quench the thirst of our dried up bodies as we walked under the sun. Slowly & steadily, the rest of the gang reached the village safely within time and we all rested as we waited for our transportation to arrive.
The transportation from Dehene village towards civilization was the 2pm ST bus that we could have boarded, but we had jeeps booked as we had arrived too early. But for good trekkers who wish to spend a lot of time enjoying the village environment, waiting for the ST bus is a very good option, because when you arrive early from the trek, you have a lot of time to explore the surroundings. I say, this village can be explored as a very good monsoon spot to get out from the high life of the city. With the mountains surrounding its sides & the river that runs besides the village from the Sandhan valley, this place would just turn Oh! So beautiful in the monsoon.  We waited at the village for an hour or so chatting upon different things as we waited for the next jeep to arrive.
A final see off to the village and we were in the jeeps towards Shahapur. Local rickshaws ply to Asangaon from Shahapur. Transportation is also available up to Pune from Shahapur. A share rickshaw from Shahapur takes you to Asangaon railway station from where one can board the Mumbai local trains towards Thane & Mumbai CST.

For all my readers who have been reading my blog articles & watching over the trek photographs, this was one of my most beautiful treks I had been for & I would really wish to do this trek just after the monsoon are over. This place is like a wonder of nature waiting to be explored just after the monsoons or in between, I don’t think its easily possible to trek this valley amidst the rain pouring in with all their might but a see forward trek just as the rainy season is off. The nature would be mindboggling, just perfect for a passionate trekker to test his limits and abilities with descending on the slippery rocks of Sandhan Valley.

Nimish S Patil
(Livin up the Divine Moments of Truth)
Life is Beautiful…


MJ said...

the information was really really very useful. thanks for sharimg. keep going!!!!!!

Sunil Pawar said...

Very Nice Photos......!!

mehul savla said...

Hey .goid one...u revived the memory...i could recollect the whole trek while reading the blog...

Cassi said...

Nice pics..thanks for sharing

Praveen Thakur said...

All the adventure lovers now can Enjoy a beautiful and exiting trek to the astonishing sandhan Valley by clicking on the following link....Books your event now and join this life changing Trek... :)


Praveen Thakur said...

All the adventure lovers now can Enjoy a beautiful and exiting trek to the astonishing sandhan Valley by clicking on the following link....Books your event now and join this life changing Trek... :)


Vineet Gupta said...

Sandhan valley trek is one of the best short trek. A must visit for trek lovers.


Umesh S said...

Good trek account and photos.

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