A little about the place: Sandhan Valley in located in the Western Ghats or the Sahayadris. The base village for Sandhan Valley is Samrad village. You can take the local transport from Pune/ Karjat and reach Samrad village. From the village you can see Alang, Malang, Kulang (AMK), Kalsubai and Ratangad.
Day 1: We reached Pune and took the local bus and reached Kasara village. Our initial plan was to complete Bhairavgad Fort trek and then proceed to Sandhan Valley. However, the rain gods were not too happy with us. The weather turned gloomy by the time we stopped for lunch and we decided to change our plans and go ahead with only Sandhan Valley. This change of plan also ensued that we change our starting village and we had to find the bus/jeep/car to go to Samrad village. We reached Samrad village late in the evening by jeep/car. Once, there we stayed at one of the local villager’s house. The hospitality was unmatched. After a long day of travelling we were itching to get to bed to get a good night’s sleep.
Day 2: We had an early morning, and we were all up by 5:30, we finished our early morning routine and started off towards the valley by 6:30. Most treks start off with an ascent and then start descending after a long hike. However, Sandhan valley is the only trek that’s a descent all the way from the start till the end. 10 minutes into the valley and we were greeted by our first water capsule. The water was cold, dirty and deep. For someone who is only 5 feet tall like me that proved to be my first tumbling block. With the help of my group mates I was able to save my bag from getting wet. Once the first capsule is done, you have a long and winding walk down. There are huge boulders and since there is water everyone, they become very slippery. You have to be really careful when you walk. After about 45 minutes of jumping on the boulders, you get the first rappelling point. The first rappelling point is 40 ~ 45 feet. It took us about 20 minutes to set up the ropes and start rappelling down. Once that was done, we again met with water. Climbing down sounds very easy but it puts immense pressure on your knees and toes. We stopped mid-way to eat something and took a couple of minutes off to give our feet some rest. After another 10 minutes of downhill we reached the second rappelling point. The second rappelling point is 15 ~ 20 feet. Again setting up the ropes and getting down took some time. However, this time it was far more difficult because the unseasonal rains swelled up the water in the valley and this gave rise to an impromptu waterfall. Rappelling in the waterfall proved tough even for the most experienced trekker among us. Once that was done, the rain gods again decided to show up. It started drizzling and slowly by the time we made our way further down, the rocks had become extremely slippery. Luckily for us, we found a cave where we decided to camp out.
We were 14 of us and had enough tents to accommodate us, however there was not enough dry land. The cave was wet and moist and was full of bats. The cave reeked of bats and we somehow managed to pass one night in the cave.
Day 3: We could not get a lot of sleep during the night, so we were already tired. We started our trek down to the village by 6:30. After walking down for about 1 hour we reached the pool. The water pool was blue and was inviting. We all decided to go for a dip into the pool. It was refreshing to wash ourselves with the some fresh water. From the pool the walk down to the next village Dehane, is about 2 hours. Once at the village, you can take the local state tourism bus and reach Pune. We reached Pune late in the evening and managed to take our evening bus.
Things to remember:
- Sandhan valley is not a rainy season trek. Refrain from going further if the weather deteriorates.
- There are more than 2 rappelling points. Some places are very difficult to climb down without the use of ropes.
- Carry water/food along with you. The water in the valley is stagnant and is not fit for drinking.
- Do it as a group and do not attempt to do it alone unless you are a strong trekker/climber.
- Lastly, its beautiful place please do not litter.