DANDELI …… SATIATING
I remember as a kid visiting my grandparent’s place in Sivakasi during my summer hols. The scorching heat wouldn’t deter us from playing the whole day with friends and cousins. This place is famous for the crackers and the match industry as its climate is favourable for manufacturing both these commodities. As is today Tamilnadu has always been famous for its power cuts. It would be difficult to sleep in the night without electricity and the mosquitoes feasting on us.
So we would take our bedding and lie down in the terrace under the stars …the OPEN SKY. Its a different experience I shall tell you. 15 years later I got to experience this wonderful feeling of openness, smell the fresh air, feel the chillness of the night, gaze the stars, watch the moon gliding past the clouds, hear the sound of the insects. This time the location was different – DANDELI …… a wildlife sanctuary in Uttara Kannada.
Sometime in Feb we decided to take a trip post my son’s exams. We zeroed in on Dandeli after I had heard about it from few of my office friends. We did our study online and shortlisted on Bison and Hornbill Resorts. Later we opted for Hornbill’s Tree house and freezed on the itinerary. My husband wanted to drive down but for a 3 day trip from Pune to Dandeli which is around 450 kms I didn’t want to take the road as by the end of the trip you wouldn’t find it relaxing but tiring. The long weekend during Good Friday served our purpose and we took the Chalukya Express early morning at 1 a.m. on Friday. We reached Londa a town close to Belgaum at 10 a.m. Mr. Umesh the owner of Hornbill resort drove us to the resort which is 35 km from the station. An avid photographer of birds, I found huge camera and tripod in his car which he carries with him wherever he goes …like his wife 🙂
We checked into the resort and were taken to the tree house which is the icing on the cake I would say. The tree house has been set up on 2 trees. Flight of stairs leads you to the house and you find the tree trunks inside. The room also has a clean attached bathroom with a tub. The house is made of logs on 3 sides and is open on the 4th side. You just gaze into the endless stream of river Kali’s flow. She wasn’t wild but she was full in abundance. The release of water from the Supa dam was 3 gates over the last 1 month. 2 days before we reached the place, it had rained and it was pleasant, else it turns out to be a bit warm in the summers. Nov to Jan are the favourable months when greenery is to its best and the climate is cool. You could get to watch many birds during this season. The huge Malabar Hornbill can be seen in this area and we were lucky to catch a few.
|Inside the Tree house|
We hit the river wearing the life jackets which is mandatory. My son would love to float around for hours together and ensured he played in the water twice a day during our entire stay. The water was cold but then it didn’t deter the tourists from getting into it.
It ain’t commercialized at all, you wouldn’t find any water sports games except for the white water river rafting, which one shouldn’t miss. 9 rapids across 9 kms is an exhilarating experience which shouldn’t be given up at any cost. 1300 INR per person you are taken by road to the starting point and then trained for around 15 minutes on the basics of rafting. The rapids in Kali are Class 2 and Class 3 and ain’t violent. The river is gentle and you hit the rapids intermittently. Kids below 10 years aren’t allowed, hence we decided to take it turn by turn as one of us had to be with our son.
Food in Hornbill Resort is decent and you get buffet for all the 3 meals. There is 1 non- veg item for lunch and dinner and its mostly chicken. You can also go boating from the resort to an island close by which also has a natural Jacuzzi. Night trails are arranged by the resort and a guide takes you on an hour’s trek through the jungle. We were told that sighting wild animals wouldn’t always fruitful hence the safari is not always recommended.
But whatever be it I came home satiated to the fullest. We had devoured the most of it and I couldn’t ask for more.