The saying “Jobs fill your pockets, but adventures fill your soul” is true to the word. However in my scenario, both my pocket and soul were empty! I couldn’t do much about the pocket as salary day was still 15 days away; filling my soul with a new experience seemed like a good option. Adventures like Rafting, Paragliding and others require you to spend quite a fortune; fortune worth enough to pay my 3 month electricity bill but Hiking or Trekking don’t require much of one’s forever disappearing moolah. With a budget of mere 1300 bucks, I decided to take a Trek to Sandhan Valley which one of my friend marketed to me as the ‘Fireflies Trek’.
Did you know Sandhan Valley Trek is a unique experience combining adventure activities such as Rappelling and staying amidst nature. Sandhan valley is a water carved valley around 200 feet deep. Sandhan is located near beautiful Bhandardara region near village called Samrad. Sandhan Valley is also known as the Valley of Shadows, because at some places, the width between the rocks is less than 3 feet and even the sun’s rays seem to elude it.
In order to get to Sandhan Valley, one needs to reach the base village called Samrad. My journey to Samrad began from taking a local train to Dadar station at 7 a.m. in the morning and hopping on to a Kasara local from there. As the train advances towards its destination, more and more of Rural Maharashtra is revealed. The sudden realization of the drought affected area dawned upon me. It haunts me to even think how drastic are the lives that we live. The entire journey was a pointless debate in my head supported occasionally by Coldplay screaming from the headphones.
Once we reached Kasara, we took a local jeep cum taxi to Samrad village. Sitting inside the jeep was too mainstream, few fellow trekkers decided to sit on top of it. The feeling of sitting on the roof was similar to that of sailing in the cruise. I must have resembled a dog whose half head is out of the car! Background Music: “On Top of the world”
At Samrad, the villagers stared at us like we stare at the foreigners in Sarojini Market. We met Jagdish, our guide, who welcomed us to his village. In the village of 200 people, Samrad has a reasonable number of guides who provide trekking tours. Extremely tired and famished as we were, we barged on the food which had a typical rural Marathi menu with chapatis made out of rice flour and delectable vegetables (words I couldn’t understand or pronounce well enough to remember their names).
Trekking is never meant to be easy and that is the beauty of it all. Once the trek was over, we headed to Konkan Kada falls which had not even a single drop of water (Blame the drought). But we did manage to see the reverse waterfall magic as my friend threw his cap down from the top and it came back flying to us. Background Music: ‘I call it Magic!’
After quite a long stroll, we came across trees where a few fireflies were gleaming. But as we moved forward, we found entire trees blinking with fireflies, just like a fully lit Christmas Tree. The view was worth every stressful day I had this year. All the fireflies in one tree followed a similar pattern of the blinking. Looking at the fireflies, I cherished the beauty of nature and for a brief moment there were no thoughts in my head for I just wanted to revel in the moment. Right there, Right then. I being me got a little curious and shook the firefly tree. Obviously some fireflies started flying everywhere and got stuck in my hair and shoes. Background music: “I get a thousand hugs, from ten thousand lightning bugs.”
The trek and the afterward singing and dancing, humming to the tune of the mountains are the things that make your adventurous soul crave to travel as much as possible. Waking up to the clouds caressing the mountains is a picturesque edged in my memory which I take back as a souvenir.
While I sit back in my comfortable couch and reminisce at the same time write my experience, I wonder why and how we have drifted from our basic instincts. The nature and all that is has for us has been a forever ally of humans. After all don’t we all evolve from the same matter.
Here I promise myself to go back to where I belong again and again and again, to let the mountains embrace me while I embrace my traveler soul!