22-Mar-2014: We were woken up by temple ghanta sound at 6:00 am. We got ready quickly, packed our things and were ready to go. We first took Shankar darshan in the Amruteshwar temple and clicked some pics. Poha and tea was being prepared for the group by the local vendor. It was ok and once we were done with our breakfast, we had a little talk session from the organizers about the plan and dos/donts etc and then we left for the base village Samrad in our bus. Samrad is around 30 mins from the place we were staying and en-route is very scenic. You can watch some of the magnificent mountains in the Sahyadri range, like Mt Kalsubai (I and G had been to), which is the tallest in Maharashtra and the famed AMK (Alang, Madan, Kulang mountains). Such a beautiful sight! Hope one day I am able to scale them all 😉
We finally reached the base Samrad and started for Sandhan valley. The mouth of the valley is around 15-20 mins walking distance from the village. And then we entered the den! Its spell bounding to say the least. Nothing like it I have ever seen. There and then I realized why it is also called the valley of shadows.
The valley cuts across 2 hills which are at the height of over 200 meters. It is narrow at most places and very narrow at some, where you can hardly pass by. Sun light hardly reaches the ground and it’s such a cool and at the same time creepy place. There are boulders, some very big, some small all across and you can see freshly fallen rock cliffs as you trek along. We started the trek and it was great to muddle across this place.
We had to sometimes climb the boulders, jump over them or pass through the gaps between them. There are 3 water bodies on the way and the only way you can cross them is through it. One being so deep that you are submerged waist down. No wonder you cannot go there in monsoon season as it is said to be impossible to cross the valley then. The water was very chilled in the summer month also as hardly any sun rays reach there. Other interesting thing is that many water streams were still flowing as late as this month of March. If you look up, you can only see small part of sky, through the slit in the valley surrounded by tall wall of rocky cliffs on either sides.
We went along the route and were feeling great just to be there. Our group was the only one that day visiting and so the surroundings was quite and silent . After trekking for over 2 hours we finally reached the end of valley. We thought this was it and we have seen all, but the view from that place was just unbelievable. The valley falls rapidly in height in the decent to the plains from that point, which provides clear and great view from that spot. Just amazing!!! We took rest there and had our lunch. Lunch was packed food which included parathas, shrikhand, haldiram snacks and frooti, which was provided to us when we had started for the day. It was getting bit hot by then as it was noon and sun was directly above us. This would be the only time sun rays would reach some parts, still excluding a large part of the valley. There was no mobile range surprisingly as I get range where others don’t ;), so called home from friends phone. We took lot of pics there and also en-route. They are few of the amazing pics I have from my many travels.
Then we started back as it was already 2:00 pm and we had to be back in Pune by 9:00 pm as per the plan :). On the way back, I slipped a bit and had minor injury on my right leg below the knee. That was the only dampener in the trip and I need to be more careful going forward. Actually my shoes were wet crossing the water bodies and so afterwards when I was crossing the boulders I lost grip and slipped. There were couple of injuries to other members of the group, but we reached safely back to Samrad, where one of the villagers gave us mast hot tea and then we started back.
We reached Pune well after 10:00 pm .We had taken one break on the way for vadapav and tea. It was great 2 days trip, though we were quite tired and I bit injured, this trip will remain in my memory forever.
PS: The real adventure happened after I reached home :). I freshened up in the bathroom and was getting out. As my right leg was injured I had a weak grip and as there was some water on the floor just outside the bathroom I slipped (yes again 🙂 ) and injured my left feet 😦 . So I was down left and right and it took me whole 2 weeks to recover to some extent ;).