Sandhan Valley is also known as Valley of Shadows (as the sun’s rays don’t reach the ravines). It is a spectacular canyon in the Sahyadri mountains. It is one of the most challenging and enjoyable treks in Sahyadri.
Located near Bhandardara near Igatpuri, Sandhan Valley offers adventure experience like no other. You don’t just trek, you rappel, rock climb, enjoy bonfires and camp under the starry sky. The natural gorge of Sandhan is between AMK forts – Alang, Madan and Kulang, thus the name AMK. This trek is famous for its unexplored status, excellent photo ops and a trail that is off the beaten path.
- Location: Samrad village, Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra.
- Altitude: Descending valley trek around 200 feet deep and 2 kilometres long
- Trek Time: 5 hours
- Difficulty level: Moderate to difficult
Best Time For Sandhan Valley Trek
Any time of the year is good to trek to Sandhan Valley, except summer. It gets hot and humid and all your energy is sapped by enduring the heat, making the trek less enjoyable. Winter, autumn and even monsoon treks to Sandhan Valley are extremely memorable and enjoyable.
How To Get There
To get to Samrad village, you will have to reach Kasara or Igatpuri first.
- Road: Book a self-drive car and drive down to Samrad village. The distance from Mumbai to Sandhan Valley is around 200 kilometres that can be covered in 4 to 5 hours. Or else, from Mumbai or Pune, you can take a state transport bus to Igatpuri-Ghoti from where buses are available to Bhandardara and take a shared jeep from there to Samrad village.
- Rail: Take a train from Mumbai to Kasara. Take a Kasara Fast train from CST. Get down at Kasara and book a shared jeep to Samrad. Plenty of shared jeep rides are available. You can also board a long distance train which stops at Igatpuri.
- Flight: There are no flights to Sandhan or nearby villages.
Start your trek at Samrad and within the first few hours, you will be trudging through shallow water bodies 2 to 4 feet high. Upon the descend you will come across Tarzan Swing Point, you will rappel and use a rope ladder after which there will be some cave crawling.
Then you will slope down and hike among rock patches. There will be deep water pools to wade in, followed by wide rocks and then you will reach the camping spot. Your views will include Bann pinnacle and Ajoba Hill.
Keep descending from the pond through gentle slopes and a river bed trek and reach Dehne village, from where buses are available to Asangaon station. Alternatively, return through the same trail back to Samrad and jake a shared jeep back to your destination, or stay at Bhandardara for an extended vacation.
- Travel: A self-drive car from Mumbai to Bhandardara (return trip) would cost you from Rs 5000 to Rs. 8000. Train tickets will cost anywhere between Rs. 1000 to Rs. 1200 (return fare).
- Shared jeeps charge Rs 50 per person. Bus tickets to Bhandardara from Mumbai will cost anywhere between Rs. 600 to Rs. 800.
- Accommodation: Camp overnight in your own tent in the gorge campsite. Homestay in Samrad village can cost from Rs. 500 to Rs. 800 per night. Bhandardara budget stays start from Rs. 1000 onwards.
- Food: Food will cost anywhere from Rs. 200 to Rs 600 during the journey.
- Sandhan Valley Trek Package: Trek operators will charge from Rs. 1600 to Rs. 2000.
Places To Stay
You can camp overnight at the Gorge for the best camping experience ever. There are no hotels or lodges nearby, but homestays through locals are available around Samrad. These are moderately comfortable. If you’d like to not camp there overnight, head to a more comfortable hotel stays in Bhandardara. Try MTDC resort, it is quite popular. You can also check out a few plush hotel and resort options (like Anandvan resort) in Bhandardara to revel in luxury after a day of roughing out.
There will be no food enroute as it is a shadowed ravine trek, with no habitation around. But there are plenty of home cooked meals offered by Samrad village locals who cook fresh and hot Marathi cuisine, including bhakhri, poha, upma, bhaji, dal and rice. Have a healthy and full breakfast before you start the trek, carry food with you for night and upon descent, have a good lunch in Dehne or Samrad. Trek operators will provide food if you travel in a group trek.
Places Of Interest
Trek uphill to discover the ancient forts of Alang, Madan and Kulang, only if you’re not exhausted completely from the Sandhan Valley Trek. These are demanding climbs, so maybe rest in Bhandardara for a day and then go trekking again.
Undertake yet another exhilarating trek in Bhandardara to Ratangad Fort, through a moderately steep ascent.
Nanhe Ghat Waterfalls
Visit this beautiful waterfall in Ratanwadi, a few kilometres away from base camp.
Visit the numerous and picturesque waterfalls in Bhandardara, such as Umbrella Falls, Kalsubai Peak, Randha Fall and also visit Wilson Dam, Arthur Lake and walk around the charming village of Ratanwadi.
Travel to Igatpuri which is a couple of hours away and explore Myanmar Gate, Tringalwadi, Ashoka Waterfall and Thal Ghat.
Safety & Travel Tips
- First-time trekkers should not attempt this trek without a guide or a trekking operator.
- The trek tests your stamina to a great extent. Avoid if you have a medical condition or a weak heart, or blood pressure.
- Carry energy bars, mosquito repellents and a windbreaker.
- Pack light and carry a comfortable backpack.
- Carry a power bank and a DSLR camera if possible.
- Carry enough water from Sandhan village. Water from the trail streams may not be pure to drink.
- There are no restrooms on the trail unless the trek operator has set up a porta potty.
Do not miss the opportunity to explore this trek at the earliest. It has rave reviews from trekkers, adventure enthusiasts and regular travellers too. Leave comments below.