Giant Swing Expedition @ Sandhan Valley, Maharashtra

Sometimes, there are certain things lying in a corner of our mind under a tag called “To do” and it remains absolutely hidden for days, weeks, months may be years and suddenly, we see, read or hear something on similar lines and that triggers the concept and it just raises lie a phoenix from the ashes and emerges as a magnificent challenge in front of you!
In our case “Giant swing” has remained hidden in Arun Sir’s mind for several years. I consider myself lucky to trigger this one by uploading a Giant Swing video on Face book on 5th March, 2013 and tagged Arun Sir on the same. This video was under tag of “The best way to break up with your girlfriend!”…
Guys do watch this crazy video… actually, the best way ever…  lolz. 
I uploaded the above Video and received many shares, likes, comments etc. but, I was waiting for a comment from Arun Sir as I was damn sure that he must be having something in his mind on similar lines and he can precisely execute this concept into reality. I was waiting…waiting.. waiting and he commented saying, “I have seen an ideal place for Giant Swing in our mighty Sahyadri! Tell me who all are ready?” 
Without hesitation Suraj and I volunteered!
To tease us he further asked, “Who is going to jump first?” 
To which again Suraj and me replied, “We will!”  

In the following week I got a call from Arun Sir informing about recce on 17th March, 2013. As usual he picked me up at Thane on 16th Night. Along with me other participants were Jayant Mahimkar, Jayant Kelshekar and our core team member and an expert Prkash Kelshekar Sir were in the car. The place was Sandhan Valley in Bhandrdara region and KalsuBai range. 
* What is this Giant Swing???? 

Do you remember as a child we use to take swings on Banyan tree? 

The concept remains same here. only thing is the rope becomes really long and the wing too.
In our case the rope was 250-300 feet and that made our swing approx 500 feet. 

Giant Swing is a one of the popular Adventure Sports in western countries. In India we have such facility at Hrishikesh in Uttarkhand. The set up at Hrishikesh for Giant Swing is totally artificial i.e. they have an iron diving board or take off point, to reach the take off point they have railings for people to support, a chair to seat, similarly they have a foam mattresses down in case person accidently hits the ground, etc. and this set up is done by a team from New Zealand and they only run the show.  

If we succeed in our venture then it will become India’s first ever Giant Swing based on total natural set up i.e. natural anchoring points (trees) and natural take off point (rock ledge) and that too in a 1000 feet deep valley  with a swing of approx 500 feet. 
Location: Sandhan Valley  सांधण व्हॅलीis known Wonder of nature & splendid of Sahyadri (Western Ghats). Water carved valley average 300-400 feet deep and about 1.5 kms long. Sandhan valley is located on the west side of beautiful Bhandardara region, near Samrad village.

Deep narrow rock floored ravine between the two high walls of mountain range. At some places its width is less than 3 ft so that at some places sun rays unable to reach hence, it’s called “Valley of shadow”  It will surely remind you famus movie ‘127 hours’ At the end of valley you get magnificent view of high cliffs & deep valley. Here, valley at the centre becomes approx 1000 feet deep from the top.

Arun Sir explored this valley 7-8 years back and later conducted Rappelling as well as Valley crossing camps here. Since, then Sandhan is very famous among Trek lovers. Some beautiful snaps of Sandhan can be seen

Valley is surrounded with mighty Alang अलंग, Madan मदन & Kulang कुलंग (Known as AMK- toughest trek in Sahyadri), Ratangad रतनगड, Ajoba आजोबा गड & Kalsubai कळसूबाई शिखर (1646 mtrs & highest peak in Maharashtra). 

We completed our recce operation on 17th March, 2013 and took many snaps from various angles. 

It is a perfect location for our Giant Swing. Here, we decided on our anchoring points i.e. on both the ends there were several trees. Similarly, we could locate a perfect take off point for the swing i.e. a narrow ledge.
We had a brain storming session at the lunch about possible intricacies in the venture.  

Date was fixed which was 12-13-14th April, 2013. 
We came back discussed this concept and execution over and over and a perfect PoA was designed. Imaginary drawing of the same is as follows; 
As you can see the red line joining both the ends is our base line on which entire swing will be taken and you can see the anchoring points on both the edges i.e. Trees. Similarly, the green line is a swing rope which willbe tied to the harness of a person for a swing. 
We came back to Mumbai on 17th March, 2013 and kept discussing about PoA over and over. 
The team members were carefully chosen by Arun Sir & Prakash Sir. In all we were 19 member team. 
Arun Sir and Prakash Sir picked me up in the evening of 11th April, 2013 from Thane. We had 2 cars and 2 bikes that sailed from Mumbai and reached Samrad Village approx 02.00 hrs and we camped at Yashawant Bande’s front yard. 
April, 12th, 2013… Friday
Wake up call at 06.00 hrs. We quickly did our morning parade. Had a tea and breakfast of Thepalas. Later we unloaded our Sacks, ropes, equipments from Cars and quickly mounted the same on 4 Bikes that we had at our disposal and rest of us marched with the remaining luggage to Sandhan valley. 
Bikes went ahead with all the heavy load and we started walking towards Sandhan Valley with Water containers and our sacks, etc. At the beginning of Sandhan valley there is a small water pond with potable water in it so we filled our bottles, containers, cans with it. Suraj and Sagar carried 20 ltrs Water can on their shoulder alternatively. 
We reached the spot and set up our Base camp. Yuvraj Gaikawad, Jayant Mahimkar & Nitin Vinchure became the Camp in charge. In the mean time Prakash Sir, Sagar & Suraj picked up a Nylon sling and reached opposite end of Sandhan Valley. The idea is that they they will tie up a small stone to that Nylon sling and throw the stone to this shore. Once we get hold of that sling we will tie it up and pass on main ropes with the help of it which will be tied to other anchoring points at that end. 
In the mean time on this shore, we were unwinding the rope bundles so that we can pass the ropes to the other end and anchor the same here. 
One by one we passed 2 static ropes of 12 mm which has breaking strength of 2500 kgs each. This ropes were tie at 3 different anchoring points and similarly it will be anchored at 3 different anchoring points on the opposite shore The sling that came to us from other side. The reason being.. what if 1 rope breaks with a sudden jerk or pressure or what if 1 anchoring point steps out of it’s way. This kind of precautionary measures had been taken by us (only experienced minds like Arun Sir & Prakash Sir can think about such a full prof back up plan). Similarly, we tied a heavy ring with a breaking strength of approx 10 tons and for that ring we attached 2 carabineers just n case. 
Finally, by 1430 hrs we completed our set up and moved for Lunch. 
Post lunch the idea was to test the set up before someone from our team jumps. Quickly Suraj, Sagar, Kapil & Sagar went and they brought a huge stone of min 70-80 Kgs which they carried to ur take off point and tied it to the swing rope. We all gathered around to take a closer look at the stone and it’s swing Everyone was excited. Suraj pushed the stone into the valley and it sailed well. We all cheered. 

To be continued… 

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