28th Jan 2017
Photo of EXPLORING THE CANYON 1/1 by Vasundhara Pammi

In most cases, south Indians are stereotyped to be conservative and not so well with Hindi language. But in my case, its’ all reversed. I visited Sandhan Valley near Nashik, Maharashtra along with 48 strangers. It was a group trip organised by ‘Mysterious Rangers’. All their mother tongue was Marathi and eventually it became the medium of communication. I tried to understand it to some extent though. These factors spiced up the trip making it more exciting. It was only two of my colleagues from the passengers whom I knew when the bus started from Pune at 9:00 PM on Saturday.

Day 2
Photo of Sandhan Valley, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India by Vasundhara Pammi

Reached the Sandhan village at 3:00 AM on Sunday. The very first sight was the sky full of twinkling stars that lightened up our way to a dormitory hall where we had a nap. After eating some crispy poha and setting everything for the day’s adventure, we headed towards the valley at 6:00 AM.

Sandhan Valley is one of the largest Canyons in India with steep slopes and hard rocks making the endurance level to medium/difficult in descent trek and rappelling. The walk in between two large mountains seemed pleasant till I tied my shoes to the backpack and carried it over head. Prepared myself to drown in the cold water till shoulder level. Took tiny steps inside water just to prevent myself from getting hit by submerged rocks. As it is a descent trek, covered 2kms by jumping over rocks with the body falling forward in a rhythmic fashion. It was then the sight of deep valley with scattered rocks that questioned my confidence to finish the trek without injuries. The game of freely falling changed to the game where I had to defend myself from falling into the spaces between rocks. This continued for 3kms.

All along the way it’s only boulder rocks that I have met. The cool water flowing over them, when it gleamed by the sun rays was a view worth watching. Most interesting was the natural fish pedicure and manicure by the tiny tadpoles inside the ponds that formed by constant wearing of rock by spouting water. If you forget to carry a minimum of 3ltrs of water, then you will be left with no choice other than drinking water that is down streaming along the rocks as there will be no other source of water on your way.

Photo of EXPLORING THE CANYON by Vasundhara Pammi

At the point where there is no land to take a further step, entered the local guides with hooks and ropes. One by one, all my co-trekkers posed to the lens and started rappelling. Then has come my turn. Tied to the strings I started releasing the rope with left hand and tightened it with the other hand at regular intervals of time. With my legs inclined at 90 degrees to the cliff, I looked down at ground. The very sight of it scared me. At the end, my legs felt no weight on them and I was completely in air for few seconds.

Photo of EXPLORING THE CANYON by Vasundhara Pammi

The best moment after rappelling was lying down on rock surface and listening to gentle music made by tiny waterfalls. The adventure didn’t end over there. Jumping, Walking, stumbling, balancing on the edge of rocks and finally reaching the end. It’s been a wonderful journey of 28 hours with 9kms of adventure arena and the other 48 mates are no more strangers to me now.

This is the most economical adventure trip and I would recommend to visit this place during early winter. If you have lot more time and zest to explore the mountains, then you can camp for a night and Harishchandraghad can be your next destination.

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