Sandhan: The Valley of Shadows

Tripoto

The Sahyadri mountain ranges nestle within them some of the most intriguing and aesthetic natural wonders. The hills stand against the south-west monsoon and bring huge rainfall to the region. The glory that Sahyadri creates when it romances with the monsoon, is Sandhan.

Photo of Sandhan: The Valley of Shadows 1/2 by Kanj Saurav

Sandhan is a narrow valley situated on the border of Pune, Kalyan and Ahmednagar districts in Maharashtra, next to Bhandardara dam. Not very far from the valley are some of the most popular forts of Maharashtra, such as Alang, Madan, Kulang, Harishchandragad and Ratangad—all of which lie on top of hills in the Sahyadri mountain range.

What to see and do?

Trekking – Sandhan Valley is best explored by trekking.

Photo of Sandhan: The Valley of Shadows 2/2 by Kanj Saurav
Day 1

Reach Samrad, the base of the trek, early in the morning. Relax and recharge yourself in the village.

You should begin the trek by afternoon from the base. It is only then that the valley starts seeing sunlight. It is advisable to start the trek during mid-day. You can hire a local guide too if you are not trekking with a group.

The initial trekking can be done effortlessly as there is no uphill climb. After walking for a km, you see the entrance of Sandhan Valley. The valley is five to seven metre wide, blocked on the sides with vertical rocks of a height up to 30 metres. The narrow valley is also the course of a seasonal river which floods it during the monsoons, when the valley is shut down.

Photo of Samrad, Maharashtra, India by Kanj Saurav

The trek through boulders takes about two hours. Once you reach the end of the valley, you can follow the same route and come back. This round-trek takes a maximum of five hours. You can reach your stay at Samrad—relax for a while, and head on.

Day 2

If you wish to do a two-day trek, you can reach the second base of the trek from the exit point of Sandhan Valley. You can also sleep here in one of the hanging tents, which is a thrilling experience.

Next morning, leave for Samrad through Karoli Ghat. This is a five hour trek.

How to get there

By Air: The nearest airport is Nashik (90 km). From here you can take a private vehicle to Samrad.

By Rail: The nearest railway station is Igatpuri on Mumbai- Nashik route. From Igatpuri road transport is available.

By Road: Take a bus from Igatpuri to Bhandardara, and get down at Shendi village in Bhandadhara. Private and shared vehicles from Shendi are available for Samrad. The distance is about 22 km.

Best time to visit:

November to February is the best time to visit Sandhan Valley. The weather is cool and dry in the winter season. Summers can be very hot, while it rains heavily during monsoons, making it challenging to navigate through the valley.

Expenditure:

A camping package with a tour-planner may cost you about Rs 350 inclusive of food. If you plan to visit the valley yourself, a round trip from Mumbai/ Nashik / Pune might cost you anything between Rs 2000 and 4000.

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