Sandhan Valley Trek
Sandhan Valley Trek
Sandhan valley is a natural wonder, and a hidden gem in the Western Ghats. This water carved valley is a known as the grand canyon of Maharashtra, and is 200 feet deep and 2 km long.
Being a combination of a valley, and a canyon, it is thronged by passionate trekkers, avid walkers and photographers. The whole experience of trekking here is like a dream, where you will feel the wilderness to the core as you walk into the 'Valley of Shadows'.
Sandhan valley is located at Samrad village near the Bhandardara region and is surrounded by the Alang, Madan and Kulang mountains.
About the Trek
Normally every trek starts with climbing and then descending. But in the Sandhan valley trek there is no climbing but only descending till the end.
The first route covers the entire route and is a 2 day trek, which starts from Samrad village and ends at Dehne village near Asangoan. This is the most preferred route as during the trek you will be able to explore different beautiful spots in the valley and enjoy breathtaking scenieries all around and above all enjoy an overnight camp under the stars.
The second route cuts short the Sandhan valley trek and takes you back to Kasara ending the trek in a day. This trek is ideal for trekkers who want to experience the trek in a day and would not prefer to camp at night. In this route trekkers will miss out on many spots and beautiful sceneries around the valley. But is ideal for first timers.
Trekking at Sandhan Valley
On reaching Samrad valley, it is absolutely essential to hire a guide from the village. Remember this is not an ordinary trek. A local guide is the only help available in this region, who will provide assistance in rappelling, making arrangements for food, exploring the valley, and bringing you down safely from the valley.
Without assistance this trek is not safe, as it could be dangerous and risky for most city dwellers. Since the villagers are familiar with this place they make the best guides, so do not hesitate and hire them.
The trek starts from the base village Samrad. Initially the trek is easy as one has to walk on plain ground. After a 10 minute walk trekkers will reach the entrance of the valley. The actual trek starts from here and stretches for 2 km and passes through a deep narrow rock floored ravine which is surrounded by 2 high walls of mountain ranges.
At certain places the width between the 2 walls is less than 3 feet and even sun rays are unable to reach hence this place is also called as the valley of the shadows. This passage is accessible throughout the year except in monsoons.
From here on to the end of the gorge, trekkers will have to cross 2 - 3 water pools. The water levels in these pools changes according to seasons. During winters the level is up to waist height and in summers it is up to knee height. At the end of the gorge trekkers will get magnificent views of the high cliffs and deep valley.
At this point trekkers generally take a lunch break and after that begin with the rappelling activity and descend further. Here trekkers will experience 2 small rappelling patches of varied length the first being 12 feet and the other 25 feet. After climbing down the second rocky patch trekkers will reach a flat plain (Karli ghat) where trekkers can camp for the night. Near the campsite (Karli ghat) there is a small stream of fresh water which flows into a huge pond.
Camping at the Sandhan Valley
After a long day of trekking, trekkers can now camp at the campsite (Karli ghat).These campsites have basic amenities such as tents which houses 3 people along with carry mats and a tent light.
Trekkers can spend the evenings around the warmth of the campsite cooking their meals and enjoy deep conversations followed by dance and music making it a memorable night.
Furthermore, trekkers can enjoy star gazing activity as the skies above the Sandhan valley are darkest in Maharashtra and offers imposing view of the heavens above thus making it an ideal place for photography and astronomy.
Later in the morning, trekkers can freshen up, have breakfast and proceed towards Dehne village, Asangoan. After reaching Dehne village, trekkers can have lunch and then proceed to Asangaon station by public transport. From Asangoan station trekkers can board a train towards Mumbai or Pune(via Kalyan).
Alternate camping: As an alternative it is possible to return back to Samrad village from the campsite (Karli ghat), which will take 3 hours again to reach Samrad and camp at the village. But make sure arrangements for the stay have been made at the village in advance.
Total trek time: 5 - 6 hours.
Best time to visit: Sandgan valley is accessible from November to May. Not recommended during monsoon.
How to reach:
Trekkers generally take an overnight journey from Mumbai towards Samrad village by boarding a Kasara local starting from CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station). They reach Kasara Station by 03:00 am and proceed to Samrad village by a private jeep.
After a 3 hour drive, trekkers reach Samrad village early in the morning, they freshen up and have their breakfast by 07:00 am and then start exploring the Sandhan Valley.
The best way to reach Sandhan Valley from Mumbai is to take a Central Railway train bound for Kasara. The train journey will take around about 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Another way would be to take a train to Igatpuri; however Kasara would be a preferable option as there are plenty of local trains to choose from as compared to Igatpuri where only out-bound train are available.
Furthermore, it is more convenient to take a jeep from Kasara to Samrad village which is at a distance of 80 kms and would take about 2.5 to 3 hours to reach the base village. Since the train reaches early morning arrangements for a private vehicle should be made before hand to reach Samrad village.
There is also an option to take an ST bus from Kasara or Igatpuri station but one should be fully aware about the ST bus timings as it is very important to reach the village early in the morning to start the trek to Sandhan Valley.
Hiring a private vehicle would be the most suitable and suggested way of getting to Sandhan Valley as this place is not well connected and a bit secluded hence getting public transport is difficult.
via Igatpuri & Bhavali -> (Total Distance - 181 km)
Kalyan -> Shahapur -> Kasara -> Igatpuri -> Bhavali -> Ambewadi -> Vasali Phata ->Varaghushi Phata -> Shendi Bhandardara -> Panzare -> Udhawne -> Ghatghar Dam -> Samrad village.
via Ghoti (Ghoti- Bhandardara Road) -> (Total Distance - 199 km)
Kalyan -> Shahapur -> Kasara -> Igatpuri -> Ghoti (Ghoti- Bhandardara Road) ->Vasali Phata -> Varaghushi Phata -> Shendi Bhandardara -> Panzare -> Udhawne ->Ghatghar Dam -> Samrad village
via Sangamner -> (Total Distance - 248 km)
via Bota - > (Total Distance - 200 km) Recommended Route
Pune -> Narayangaon -> Alephata -> Bota -> Bramhanwada - >Kotul - >Kotul Phata -> Rajur -> Randha falls -> Ratanwadi phata -> Shendi Bhandardara -> Panzare -> Udhawne -> Ghatghar Dam - > Samrad village
via Otur -> (Total Distance - 200 km)
.........The Otur route is single lane route but a scenic pass.
Where to stay
Samrad is a remote village; hence there are no hotels, or lodges here. But the locals at Samrad can help in making arrangements for a home stay. Most trekkers opt to stay in their own camping tent which is a thrilling experience and undoubtedly the best stay option.
If you have booked your trip with a trek organizer, then they will take care your stay, which will be at a campsite along with other facilities. Furthermore, there are no shops in Samrad, hence it is recommended to carry snacks, packaged drinking water and medicines.
Where to eat
The villagers of Samrad are friendly, hospitable and helpful people, alongside farming they earn a livelihood by making food and stay arrangements for trekkers and picnickers at a very nominal cost. There is home cooked, local Maharashtrian fare is available consisting of Bhakri, Bhaji, Dal, Usal, Rice, Thecha and pickle.
The breakfast menu could be Poha, Upma or Maggi with piping hot tea all cooked on a clay oven. There are no shops or eateries at Samrad village. Trekkers are advised to make their own arrangements with the villagers before starting for the trek.
Duration: 1 day/ 2 day.
Places of Interest near Sandhan Valley:
Giant Swing at the Valley:
The Giant Swing is an activity conducted by a trekking group in the valley. It is one of India's first natural giant swing set-up wherein a participant swings from a height of 500 feet. This is an extreme adventure sport activity and is done under professional guidance and assistance.
Note: Please check the credentials of the organizers before you indulge in this extreme sport activity.
Things to carry for Sandhan Valley Trek
- Camping tents
Important things to know
- Sandhan Valley FULL DESCEND TREK is not advisable for first timers or unfit participants.
- Wear good quality trekking shoes
- Trek here in a large group this ensures safety in case of extreme situation.