Trekking Down the Valley of Sandhan
Some treks are adventurous, some are thrilling, some terrific and some are tough; but some treks are just enjoyable, it has got a mixture of adventure, thrill and largest share is taken by fun. In this rapid way of living, where is the time to stop and have senseless conversation, that don’t mean anything or where is the time to sit down and argue on your favourite topic, where is the time to sit with your loved one and gaze the stars above endlessly, timelessly, infinitely? On such treks like Sandhan Valley, where the ever distracting technology is not with you, where one is not constantly swiping through cell phones to get latest updates on messages and mails; or where one is not constantly bombarded with unnecessary questions. Finally Small Steps Adventures had organized this famous trek of Sandhan.
Start of Journey
The journey to Sandhan started with the train from CST to kasara. People boarded the train from respective stations and we gathered all into first boogie of train. We reached kasara at around 1.30 am.
From kasara 3 trax were booked which took us to base village. We were around 30 people. Reached the base village at 4.30 am, rested for a while and at 6 am, refreshed ourselves; and were served with delicious breakfast of ‘kande pohe and tea.’ A little introductory session and we were set to start the trek.
Trekking through the Valley
We moved forward towards the valley. Sandhan is a great combination of canyon and valley. There are 300 feet rock walls on both sides. Once started with descend one could literally feel moving through mystic environment. Rocks on all sides, walking on stones and rocks, walls of carved rocks. The valley is deep enough for not reaching the strong sun light, which is a pleasure. Walking in shadows provide a cool climate. We were divided into 3 groups. Every group had a leader, The first group was led by Shreeharsha, The Second was led by Sushant and Sagar was leading the last group at the back. Chaitrali and me were connecting the groups and gaps.
Walking further we could see many pools of water formed. Fishes are also present in them. After sometime we reached a spot where there was water till waist length and the rock walls were very close to each other forming a narrow gap. We pulled our track pants up, took our bags on head and walked through it. The water was icy cold. It literally was freezing. After crossing this we had to walk further straight.
Just walking in the valley is a diverse experience. Long ahead one could see the opening of the valley and besides there were natural carvings formed on the wall. Sometimes I feel reality is an amazing experience. Well places like these are heaven for photographers and platform for people who like to get photographed. Every 5 min of walk and we all clicked pictures. As now-a- days people are obsessed with their display pics, everyone was choosing the spots to get clicked and upload. Here our photographer of Small steps has to be patient and click pictures that would satisfy everyone and also satisfy him.
Descending further in the Valley
We had walked nearly for 4 hours, now further descend started. Here the rock patches were tricky. One had to look carefully and step down. We were approaching the first rappelling patch. We had to cross 3 rappelling spots to reach camping site. The descend was pleasant change from just walking between the rock walls. Although just walking down them interacting with one another, having fun, didn’t realize how much time had passed. Rock walls now had widened the gap and it was sort of opening.
The 3 Rappelling Spots
We reached the first rappelling spot at about 12.30 pm. It was 60 to 70 feet rappelling. The equipment was carried by the villagers who had lead us in the trek. Rappelling at this spot needed harness, carabineer and figure of 8 to be worn, in addition to gloves and helmet. For many of us who had trekked with small steps rappelling has become usual business now. Although there is a little flutter in stomach every time I start going down backwards but, it goes away quickly. We rappelled respectively as our groups reached the spot. I was present in the group which rappelled first. We descended and awaited for others to join us, until then we had lunch bhakri and sabji. Now the adventurous part of trek had started.
As we moved further we had to descend through rocks carefully taking grip sometimes; or just sliding through them. At some places water was percolating from rocks. The cold water satisfied our thirst.
Ponds of water with fishes in them could be seen frequently. There was one spot where we had to enter through a small hole in the rock, and then slide down further. It was kind of some ride.
The second rappelling spot was small in height. Rappelling by the rope was not actually required here. But for safety rope was tied, no equipment. The height was about 10 feet. But there were no crevices to take grip hence we had to leave our legs freely in the air and completely take grip of rope and push ourselves down. Also as it was a narrow spot. Bags were passed down directly.
A narrow stream of water was flowing here; we refreshed ourselves from dirt and sweat trekking for almost 6 hours now. Rested for a while and moved forward to the 3rd rappelling patch.The 3rd rappelling patch was moderate it wasn’t high as first also not as simple as 2nd. Rope was definitely required but no equipment. It was around 20 to 30 feet. With rocks cut in between.
Thus the 3 rappelling patches were completed, now the camp-site was not far away. Half an hour of walk further and we reached a beautiful plateau, situated exactly in the center of hills. A stream of water was flowing down the rock and into the pond situated down the plateau, into the rocks. It was not approachable. We had carried tents with us, and started pitching on good spots before other groups could reach.
Camping at a Plateau in Sandhan.
Tents were pitched, mats were rolled off, bags, luggage was gathered aside, twilight in the sky and we all rested for a while. After the rest, tea was served by villagers, and people took out the food they had brought for the trek. What a wonderful feeling it is to sip the tea during the saffron light of evening.
It was becoming dark, we all had engaged ourselves in fun conversations pulling each other’s legs and making fun of each other. As we sat around hearing each other’s experiences of treks, of their professional and personal lives, etc. dinner was ready; again prepared by villagers. Chapati, aloo sabji, dal and rice are perfect meal after exertion of trek.
After the meal, the favourite game antakshri was initiated by trek leaders. The game was fun. Variety and diverse songs were sung. The sound was echoing in the valley. The other groups also replicated us after some time. There were many funny moments while the game was being played, as some moments are inexplicable in the blogs, those are situation based. Soon the game turned into just singing random songs instead of teams playing antakshri. We all were singing till midnight loudly, so much that some songs got once more from other groups. The voice was getting echoed in the valley.
At almost 1’0 clock we stopped singing and decided to sleep for a while as next day we had to descend to base village. So most of us slept outside tent as it wasn’t that cold. But what a starry night it was. Now- a-days due to pollution one can hardly even see a polestar.Places like these away from cities, in the valleys and mountains, the sky is clear with millions of stars visible. We could actually even spot the satellites encircling.
Gazing into the starry sky
Of infinite universe
The night descended on us
Through the mountains
And darkened the valley
Brought peaceful sleep in our eyes
that carried our dreams.
Descend from Sandhan
Wakeup call at 5.30 and the dreams broke into the sunrise. The light was spreading, as we got up, and engaged ourselves in morning activities. Got refreshed and breakfast was served. A hot Maggie and tea , perfect breakfast for descend.
Packed the tents, packed the bags and ready for few clicks; which eventually turned into many because people were still in the mood of enjoyment.
Small Steps had carried out a wonderful gesture, while trekking we had collected all the waste and the plastic bottles into trash bags to clean the valley. While descending there were many trash bags, that need to be carried, everyone helped.
Descend was not that difficult, again we created 3 groups to descend. Ours was in middle this time. All the groups were coincidently were playing songs on speakers, and each group of different themes. Ours was party theme “mahol” we call it in hindi or Marathi. No silent songs in our speakers.
Walking through jungle was fun. Variety of trees with different fruits and flowers on them; just makes a realize importance of bio diversity in trees.
Finally we reached the base village and rested there for a while, had tea and Parle G biscuit.
The return journey began through trax till Asangaon station. Everyone boarded the train and got down at respective station, now what resides are memories and photographs of the wonderful journey.
It’s been many years now that I am trekking. Every trek gives me a different experience. Every trek I meet new people, new faces. The world is a big place, every new person I meet teaches me something different than before, gives me a different experience. This trek as said earlier was most enjoyable. Many people I knew because I had trekked with them, but the bond that was formed in this trek has emerged stronger. It’s like being in friendship for many years. 2 days of trek, and friends for lifetime. Thus these adventurous activities have got their own significance, especially in today’s world that has dark corners on every turn and enmity on every road.
Small Steps Adventures
It is a group founded by Sagar, Yogi, Sushant, Ravi, Prashant and Rashmi. The small steps adventures is a group, that take people on adventurous expeditions. The purpose of such expeditions is to spend a little time away from our busy life into peaceful and calm nature, where people from different walks of life join you, and one can make new relations.
Sandhan Valley: In Nagar District, Approximately 70-90Km from Kasara.
Base Village: Samrad
Transport: For Mumbai, Train till Kasara, and further Private vehicle, For Pune Private Vehicle preferred till Base village, or till Mumbai and then further.
Descend Base Village: Dehane and reach Asangaon by trax or private vehicle about 1 to 1 and ½ hours.