Monsoon Adventure: Exploring Sandhan Valley
Sandhan valley also known as the "Valley of Shadows," the Sandhan Valley trek is located in the mesmerising backdrop of Bhandardara, near Samrad Village. This water-carved valley runs 200 feet deep and is 1.5 miles long, surrounded by the three mighty and toughest treks in Sahyadri, also called AMK (Alang, Madam, and Kulang), located in the Ratangad, Kalsubai, and Ajoba mountain ranges.
There are places where the valley becomes narrower—less than 3 feet—and even sunrays fail to enter. Hence, the name "Valley of Shadows." To get to the other side of the gorge, you must cross 2-3 water pools and levels.In winter, the water level comes up to the waist, while in summer it remains at knee height.
The Sandhan valley trek in Monsoon presents a lot of sightseeing and adventurous opportunities like rappelling and freehold rock climbing, which are only reserved for experienced trekkers. We recommend you stay away if you have yet to gain experience in trekking.
When is the best time to visit Sandhan Valley?
Sandhan Valley is generally open all year. However, avoid visiting in the summer, as the temperature is pretty hot and humid, making you easily tired. Not only will you end up exhausted from the heat, but it may also negatively impact your health and ruin your trip.
The best time to visit Sandhan Valley is during the monsoon, autumn, or winter. The temperature remains around 20–30 degrees Celsius during the monsoon, and in winter, it goes as low as 10 degrees centigrade.
How to reach Sandhan Valley
You can enter Sandhan Valley from Igatpuri or Kasara to reach Samrad Village. If you are coming by train, bus, or flight, you can catch a shared jeep or book a cab from the village. It is 190 km from Pune and 200 km from Mumbai and can be reached within five hours if coming by car or bike.
Take the Kasara fast train from CSMT station and come to Kasara, or the CSMT Manmad Spl to Igatpuri. You can easily find a shared jeep and cab from Kasara or Igatpuri to the Samrad Village, where you need to take one more cab or shared jeep to reach the valley.
There are plenty of public buses running between Mumbai and Pune and Igatpuri and Ghoti. From there, you can catch a shared jeep or walk to Samrad Village.
Sandhan Valley Route
Your journey to the Sandhan Valley begins in the Samrad Valley, where you must walk for several hours through shallow water bodies.These water bodies run 2 to 4 feet deep, so wear suitable shoes.
Then comes the Tarzan swing point, where you can rappel, go for the giant swing, or use the rope ladder to get down. After that, it's time to explore the shadowy darkness of the cave by crawling through it.
Then comes the hiking, where you have to hike across several rocky spots, wade through the deep pool, and climb over the large rocks to reach the camping spot.
Once you arrive at the camping spot, a new world will await you. You get to see the magnificent beauty of the Bann Pinnacle and Ajoba Hill. Spend the night around a bonfire, gazing at the clear, beautiful sky.
You can spend the whole night camping or return immediately. While returning, you have two choices: the same route or the second route to Dehne Village. You need to descend from the pond and cross the mild hills and a river bed to get to Dehne Village. From there, you can take a bus to Asangaon Station.
Best Places to Visit in Sandhan Valley
Ratangad Fort: The Ratangad Fort is a 2000-year-old fort located 4.7 km from the Sandhan Valley. Located at a height of 4355 feet, it gives you a wonderful view of the highest peaks of the Sahyadri range. Since it is at a great height, you can add it to your trekking list.
Amruteshwar Temple: The Amruteshwar Temple is located 10 kilometres from the valley on the beautiful banks of the holy river Pravara. The river and its surroundings are pretty clean and well-maintained, thanks to the Archaeological Survey of India team, which upkeeps the place and drives several tourists across the world there.
Nanhe Ghat Waterfalls: It is one of the strangest waterfalls you will ever see as the water flows in reverse, which looks breath-taking and appealing. However, the place is 120 km away from the Valley, so you can either visit it before you visit the Valley or after you leave it.
Things to do in Sandhan Valley
Sandhan Valley offers a wide range of thrilling and adventurous activities. Some of them include the following:
Giant Swing: It is the showstopper of the Sandhan Valley adventure. Unlike the ones in Rishikesh and Uttarakhand, which are artificial bridges, the one in Sandhan Valley is completely natural. While in Rishikesh, you go face first, and you will be facing the rock surface of the hill while in the giant swing in the Sandhan Valley. Once the rope is released, you will see a beautiful view of the valley.
Sandhan Valley Rappelling: There are more than 100 feet of rocky patches to do rappelling in the Sandhan Valley. The best part is that there are multiple points to start with. Make sure you have the necessary equipment and an experienced guide.
Stargazing: You get to camp and create a bonfire inside the canyon and enjoy the beautiful starry night sky.
Food in the Sandhan Valley
There are no food items available in the shadow valley. However, you can pack your own food or get them from Samrad Village or Dehne, where you will find several delicious Marathi dishes, including upma, poha, bhakri, dal, and rice.
Cost of the Sandhan Valley trip
Trek Package: Most operators charge around 1600 to 2000 INR.
Travel: Booking a self-drive car from Mumbai to Bhandardara (including a return trip) will cost you between 5000 and 8000 INR. Train tickets for each person (including return) will cost around 1000–1200 INR. Bus tickets for each person from Mumbai to Bhandardara will cost around 600–800 INR.
Accommodation: You can self-camp at Bhandardara, but finding a spot would be an issue as the locals monopolise it. You can buy their services for a buck. Preferably, buy some wood from them. It will cost around 300 INR and be used for the bonfire.
However, if you are with family, it's better to pay extra money for a private campsite for security purposes.
Unfortunately, the valley doesn't have any hotels or resorts nearby. However, several locals offer homestays, which cost between 500 and 800 INR. Although it won't be a luxurious stay, you will get a comfortable place to crash and eat authentic homemade Maharashtrian meals.
The other option is to book a hotel or resort in Anandvan or Bhandardara, both of which are 22–25 km from the valley.
Food: It will cost you between 200 and 600 INR per person.
Mandatory equipment to carry with you:
- A torch or nightlight with extra batteries if you decide to camp
- Sleeping bag and jackets in case it gets cold at night
- You'll need some ready-to-eat food because there isn't any in the valley
- Mosquito repellent cream
- A first-aid kit
- You will get wet while wading in the pools of water, so bring an extra set of clothes.
- Good-quality trekking shoes
- Power bank
- There is no restroom on the trail (ask an operator to help)