Sandhan Valley

When life gives you lemon…

Life did seem a bit odd when all of a sudden, I had to move out leaving behind the small town charm of river Ganges flowing by, the green fields, several old British era buildings with classic architecture and off course, the beautiful mess of a hundreds of years old, densely populated and unplanned neighborhood of Howrah behind, into the big bad city of Mumbai.

A woman, a city and a little bit of luck…

A friend clearly told me that being an introvert, I won’t last long in Mumbai. I did not have too many reasons not to believe her.

About a month more, and I am still standing! A major achievement remains the opportunity to get off the track from the Office to accommodation route and go for a short trek.

A trek to document!

As stated many times in different posts, the very reason of writing these posts is to document the experience and read it after a long time when I forget to be or start missing the person I used to be while I went for the trips. This post is no exception.

Silhouettes

Reasons, shall we…?

That friday morning at work had me bored. I did not like the current book I was reading. I wanted to go out and had no interest in the conventional entertainment mediums of going to a movie. Ah, well. It is going to be a sleepy weekend, I said to myself.

I muttered something on the same line as my friend asked me about the weekend plans. She was surprised to know my sorry state of affairs on the weekend front and took it upon her to get me a life! πŸ˜€

I must tell you now, that I always find very good friends even though I myself might come across as an introvert, even snobbish at times. More often than not, that is the result of me being utterly afraid of people situations.

My defective brain is unable to pick up on hints from others. And more often than not, there is a lack of directness in the so called social interaction. I am not very well equipped to handle people and find it very difficult to survive the social situations. Nature speaks to me though. πŸ™‚

My friend here knew of my fondness of the mountains and was herself an avid trekker, sports woman and a supermom and wife of a lucky fellow. She thoughtfully suggested me the Sandhan Valley trek.

I had read about Sandhan Valley trek even before I had come to Mumbai. Infact, it was on the to – do list for me, you know the one I have without any time frame. πŸ˜›

About Sandhan Valley:

Located in Ahmednagar district in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, Sandhan comprises of valleys, canyons, deep narrow pathways and exciting trails. Ours was a full descend trek, which meant rapplling and climbing down rocks. It is a medium to strenuous trek, that needs to be taken seriously as the experience tells. πŸ˜€

And the journey begins…

The journey to the base of the valley takes us to Kasara via train from Mumbai to reach the starting point of the trek via a car journey of around 2 hours from Kasara station. The car route takes one through the winding mountain roads , locally called as “ghats“.

We started our trek very earley, at around 4:30 AM. Though none of us had slept the whole night, we pushed on with the excitement of exploring a place we had never been to.

We had two experienced trek leads who were expert in these areas and pro in technical areas and had the most amazing capability to keep the entire team motivated and together throughout the entire duration of this trek. Initially, there was a short walk through a field overlooking the silhouettes of the nearby hills. There was half a moon and a few stars observing us, perhaps even wishing us best for the remaining part of the trek.

Before long we walked into a stream of water with fishes swimming beside us. As we walked through the waist deep water stepping carefully on the stones underneath us, we felt the slipperiness of the surface underneath beside the unevenness.

And owing to my habit of tripping, I started the trip in proper trippy style by eh..tripping and falling into the water, drenching most my clothes in the process. πŸ˜€ Had I not told you that I was a true tripper? πŸ˜€ If you don’t believe me, check out this post on my Kailash mansarovar experience. πŸ˜›

To my defence, I can tell you that it was still dark and there were others who slipped and fell too. Ahem.

As the night got over to reveal the terrain in front of us, a vast downhill trail full of huge boulders with a valley to the distance came to our view. We were told that was the destination for us. The view of the sky and the valley in front through the gorge was amazing as the sun came up.

The full descend of Sandhan valley

So, we continued our journey getting over the boulders, sometimes bypassing them. It was tiring. Post the first few hours, when the sun rose, the boulders became hot. It was exhausting for my now unaccustomed body to cope up with such labour all of a sudden post being mostly a couch potato for last six months.

Sandhan Valley – the trail

But I felt something else I had not felt for the same amount of time as well. That was peace. The joy that comes from being close to raw nature. It felt oddly relaxing to be there and to keep moving despite other bodily discomforts.

As we neared the two points where the next level is relatively lower and has to be rapplled down using ropes, I enquired how much weight these ropes were capable of withstanding. I was reassured that they were really strong .

When my turn came, I did my best to make a decent climb down, although the embarrassing video says that I was really scared and nervous. πŸ˜€

After two sets of rapplling and a climb down using the rope as a ladder, we took some rest by the side of the trail under the shade of some trees.

Looking back at the trail post finishing always amazes me and makes me assess the effort to achievement ratio. I was not depressed to see the results. Not bad, I said to myself.

And the surroundings..

Post this, a mostly dirt track and walk through plains was all it took for us to reach the village stay where we were scheduled to stay for the night.

Roads to the village

We had an amazing stay here. We received a warm hospitality from the hosts, great local food and slept on the court yard of the house under clear February sky.

The twinkling stars were back to greet and applaud at us on completing the trek. Or were they appreciating our efforts as human beings of trudging through the life despite its apparently non stop flow of problems towards us ?

Stars attract me. They always have, although, the reason keeps changing. Previously it was the wonder. Now, as the age sets in and losses in life are more than the gains, I look towards the stars trying to find path, looking for guidance, trying to find some familiar faces among those small dots of light.

And my imaginary search continued into the depths of the night, until a thin layer of sleep descended upon the entire group which the leads had to get us out of post a long triage next morning. πŸ˜€

The rest of the story is about getting to the train station discussing about the trek and the post trek cramps that had set upon due to over exhaustion and lack of drinking water through the trail.

In fact, the flight of stairs that took us from one platform to another seemed more difficult than the entire previous days trek.

Post coming back to my place of stay in this city, I felt oddly excited. Too excited to sleep actually.

Getting back the absent but much needed closeness to nature was the reason. I felt more at home on the trek and for the first time in the new city, I had a piece of memory worth keeping safe.

Not bad for a beginning! πŸ™‚

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