Few months back, I came across some pictures of Sandhan Valley good enough to fascinate me. On doing a quick research I got to know a little more about the place more popularly known as - "Valley of Shadows", "Valley of Suspense", "Grand Canyon of Maharashtra". The pictures and these names were good enough to put Sandhan Valley into my Bucket-list. I am glad to kick off my New Year - 2016 with this wonderful experience.
Location : Samrad village, Bhandardara, District: Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. It is surrounded by Alang, Madan, Kulang, Kalsubai, Ratangad and Ajoba forts.
Height: 4255 ft
Best time to visit : November to February ie during winters. This trek is not recommended during monsoon.
About : Sandhan Valley is a 300-foot deep cut in the scenic Sahyadri mountains, near Bhandardara which lies 180 kms away from Mumbai and 90 km from Nashik. The Valley is a natural crack some 3000 ft above sea level. It measures almost two-and-half kilometer and goes nearby 500 ft deep in some patches. A unique trek where there is no climbing but only descend, is one the most fascinating treks of Maharashtra. At some places the width between the rocks is less than 3 feet thus obstructing the rays of the sun casting shadows. The trek is so thrilling, at a point the only option to move forward is to rappel down some 50 Ft.
I was with a group of another 25 trekkers and the Trek was organized by Tattva Adventures. Few of us boarded Kasara Local from Dadar at 11:05 PM and met others in the local. We were at Kasara Station by 1-1:30 am in the night, and headed to Samrad village in 3 jeeps. After a fun filled and adventurous jeep journey, we reached the village by 5:00 am.
I would call this a different trek from my previous ones. The earlier ones I did was more about the jungles, trees even snow. Here the only thing that I remember is huge and big Valleys, rocks and stones. Passing through those valleys took me back to the Stone Age. I felt jubilant as I never expected I would get to see such a place, and before that I never knew such a place existed.
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known - Carl Sagan
One will also have to cross a patch with water till waist/neck where you might have to carry your bag on your head. 26 of us made a chain and passed our bags from one end to another which was real fun in that freezing water.