Andharban Trek 27/09/2015

Photo of Andharban Trek 27/09/2015 1/1 by Vatsal Nandu

Andharban is a trek through a dense forest as the sun rays don’t hit the ground, it’s considerably dark in there. The Andharban trek is entirely a descend as we start from 2,100 ft. The base village for the trek is Pimpri. The trek is almost 16 km long with 65% being the Andharban and the remaining 35% being the descend towards Bhira Dam. It is one of the most beautiful treks in Sahyadris, and there are just too many things to explore. The Andharban trek was a last min decision for me and turned out a very good decision to for the trek.

We were asked to assemble at Dadar by 10:30 pm and from there we would leave for Andharban. Usually, all the bus journeys which start at night are quiet ones because you have to be fresh for the trek and the bus journey to Andharban was the same. We started off from Dadar, Mumbai at 11:00 pm and left for the base village of the trek, in between we were going to take few stops to pick other trekkers along the route, but most of us got in at Dadar. We reached the base village around 4:00 am, we were given two options: either to sleep on the bus or in the villager’s house, obviously given the cold weather all chose the house but few decided to stay back in the bus.

After a short nap, we all got up at 6:00 am in the morning the cold weather was completely unexpected! We all were shivering as much as the chill of the early winter morning. Everyone did their “morning rituals” and freshened up. We had our breakfast, clicked few pics of the beautiful scenery, and we moved on towards Andharban. After 30-40 mins drive, we reached Andharban. Had a quick introduction session and our trek guide instructed us about the dos and donts. He had trekked Andharban NINE TIMES IN THE PAST TWO MONTHS! I was pretty sure he could walk the entire trek with his eyes closed by now; he made his instructions crystal clear, and we started our trek from Pimpri Damn. As we started, first was crossing the dam and we moved towards the jungle, walking on a narrow rocky path and a bit slippery of the water streams on the left was Kundalika Valley and on the right were the beautiful mountains of Tamhini Ghat. There were a lot of wildflowers along the route; we reached a point from where one could see the entire view of the valley and believe me the view was breathtaking!

Just after that view, it was the first of the three major water streams and a classic spot for good photo opportunities for everybody. Along the route, most of us lost our balance and slipped many times because of the slippery rocks, but that’s just part and parcel of any trek, no shoe can avoid these embarrassing moments. :p After enjoying the first stream we moved into to forest and as expected the light got dimmer and the forest became much denser, the best part of the trek was a trail, walking through the forest, plants and trees making an arch-like structure, all this was just beautiful and kept us all going. As we reached the midway of the forest can another water stream! WOW, this one was splendid! If it would have been raining the water flow would be much stronger, but nevertheless, we were happy with what we got to see. We crossed the stream and walked towards the village, we had covered most of the jungle and were entering flat lands.

The weather conditions were becoming from bad to worse and the heat was becoming unbearable at times as we were reaching the end of the forest we had to walk through fields of crops and flowers, on the left there was Plus Valley(because it looks like a + sign) and on the right were the three forts. We were supposed to take our break at the midway point of the trek in a temple and have our lunch there. The 2nd half of the trek just the descend till the Bhira damn.

After our lunch break and 15 mins of power nap for some, we were supposed to start our 2 hours of descending. (Which we completed in less than 2 hrs.) We all knew it was going to be one hell of a task in such scorching heat, but everyone was motivated by just one thing; the water stream at the end of the trek. The entire descent was outside the forest, and it passed through the village, so the chances of shades were very less. We started the descend through the fields, no signs of a cool breeze even at such height was a bit shocking. The leader kept us going with, we laughed and joked amongst ourselves, which made it a bit easier to walk. At one point time, I just thought, I don’t care about the nature trail or anything else, I just want to get down! But if I wanted to go any further I needed motivation much more strong than the feeling of enjoyment in the last water stream and what more could be better than some EDM in such harsh weather? Thanks to Nicky Romero’s Protocol Radio and Hardwell on Air, the rest of the trek was a bit easier for me and the fellow trekkers. We were about half an hour away from the water stream, but the thought of just getting there made us walk a lot quicker than expected. We came closer and could hear the water flowing down the mountain. THIS WAS IT! There was just one more obstacle before we could get into the water stream and enjoy ourselves. We had to cross the bridge to get on the other side of the stream. All of us just kept our bags down and dived in! That was pure bliss! The feeling was worth all the pain and fatigue. I could feel the fish biting me, but that was just like a tickle.

After enjoying in the stream for about hour, it was time to head back to our bus where we could change, get fresh and leave for Mumbai. All said and done we left for Mumbai around 4:00 pm, in between, took a stop near Pali village to have our evening refreshments. The ride back home was very tiring consider no one got proper sleep the previous night, everyone was just tired and wanted to relax. It took us around 4-5 hours to reach back to Mumbai and luckily the bus was going to Goregaon, so I got down at Goregaon instead of Dadar.

This trip was originally published on VATSAL NANDU