An Adventurous Road Trip To Dandeli, Karnataka’s Untouched Terrain
Neck deep in work? Well, take a cue from Alefiya Rashiq and head for a short getaway! In December 2015, she decided it was the right time to strikeout white water rafting from her bucket list, with a much-deserved holiday in Dandeli
This is how it went…
It was last December, when I was neck deep in work at office. My family began to plan for a quick getaway and I was in a spot. My first response was “where to?” “Dandeli”, came the answer. I knew that Dandeli offers white water rafting, and that’s something I’ had been dying to try. “And then Goa”, they continue. Now who ever said no to Goa? “And it’s a road trip”. That was the final straw; enough for me to jump in with, “Work can stay. I am coming”.
On a cold wintry day, we set off at 4 am to avoid rush on the highway. From Pune, we drove southwards on the NH4 till we crossed Kolhapur to enter Belgaum in Karnataka. I must say, Karnataka has beautiful roads, with neat lines of flowery bushes and expanses of mountains to keep us company.
I probably said that too soon though, because post Belgaum, the roads just went for a toss. However, as we approached Dandeli by a drive through the forests, it was scenic. A narrow road winding its way through a thick cover of jungles, monkeys chaffing around on the sides and no connectivity of cell phones – it was going to be one hell of an adventurous holiday!
Feeling Spellbound By Dandeli’s Hidden Wonders
Dandeli is a quaint little town in North Karnataka, which is famous for its nature reserves and stunning locales. Dandeli’s river rafting is counted among the best in the country.
By 12 noon, we pushed into our resort, Dandeli Mist. We had deliberately picked this one as it was a little away from the town and was secluded from where all the action was happening.
Our first impression was that of awe. If you are expecting a high-end luxury stay, then this isn’t for you. These are cottages and tree houses, which are well-maintained and comfortable.
In the centre, they have plantations of bananas and other vegetables, which the owner told us, that they sell in the Belgaum markets. A chef humbly serves you the pre-decided menu for the day and happily obliges to cook anything else that you want. You are constantly met by domestic animals like sheep, dogs and goats.
A Magical Evening: A Sunset, A Bonfire And A Jungle Safari
In the evening, we went to a nearby sunset point. And the view was fantastic! Just the sight of the sun setting on the clear blue waters was a reminder that we’re all small beings playing our part in a magnanimous, all-engulfing universe.
We came back to the resort and were treated to a bonfire and hot soup, which came as a much needed surprise in the freezing cold. The owner brought out a telescope to help us stargaze. It was a soothing night; we relaxed ourselves from the day’s journey and realized how we had survived an entire day without technology.
Later in the night we went for a jeep safari, to spot deer and black panthers. But we returned having seen nothing, but blackness. Not to mention the fear of a wild animal jumping out and eating us up in the dark. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary situated nearby allows day safaris and in a rare case you may see a tiger. But mostly many get to view just bison, deers and elephants.
Time For Water Sports At River Kali
The next day, we left for the base camp of water sports alongside river Kali. This was the most exciting part of the holiday for me. There’s something about the water that just draws me towards it.
First we opted for Water Sauna, a rock enclosed space right in the middle of the water, to which you are taken to by a boat to enjoy the flow. If you do not hold on to the ropes, you can be pulled away. Sitting there amidst the gush, with the sun shining right above, it was incredibly overwhelming to feel the wrath of nature hitting upon us.
Kayaking was fun and hilarious too, because I feared I would fall down any moment, and the boats man kept convincing me I wouldn’t.
Riding Over Rapids And Waves: White Water Rafting
Post lunch, we booked a slot for white water rafting hosted by the Government. The trail stretches for 12 km with rapids of Grade 3. This was ideal for us as it was the first time we were rafting. Life jackets, pedals and instructions were given to us.
Before it began, I was quite nervous, but after having completed it, I can gleefully admit that those were the best two hours of my life. As we steered our way through bumpy rocks, narrow passages and whooshing waves of the Kali River, our adrenaline pumped higher and higher.
At one point, they just threw us all into the water. A lifeguard constantly follows you, so safety is not a concern. When our oarsman announced that we are nearing to the end, we couldn’t believe our thrill-filled experience was getting over. At that very moment, I made up my mind to revisit Dandeli very soon.
Our Last Day In Dandeli
The next morning we went for a quick bird watching trail at The Old Magazine House before we left for Goa. Hornbills and Fly Catchers are popularly found here, amongst other birds. Since Goa is only 3 hours from here, we were in no hurry to leave. There are a lot of other tourist spots in the vicinity, like the Syntheri Caves, the monastery at Little Tibet and Dudhsagar Waterfalls, which we’ll try to cover the next time we’re here.
Three days in Dandeli passed in a jiffy. I jotted down a few lines to keep this experience with me forever:
Away from chaos and city life, like nomads we lived,
The only calls we received were of birds and wilderness,
Far off from the world yet so close to dear ones,
Our own little adventure, until eternity we will cherish!
About The Author
A Pune’ite who is in love with the world, Alefiya is a Copywriter and a communications professional. Cracking into jigs, making quirky observations and untimely giggles keep her going when she is not writing. Life is NOW, she believes!