In search of vast landscapes – A long weekend in Dandeli

Anyone reading this hooked to vast landscapes? If you are, isn’t it disheartening to wake up to anything that’s ordinary. I need my dose of river, sea, fields, mountains., of openness that takes my vision as far as it can, need my deepest breath of fresh air, the most pleasant or little annoying noise of birds and crickets, my conversations that’s all about travel, I need my mind to think and dream and go to places I have never been to and my heart to crave for so much more!

Perfect imperfections - A fallen tree

Perfect imperfections – A fallen tree

Post Bali, the rude pull back to normal happened when I reached office. I sat at my desk, and the end was 2 feet away from me. I was so depressed the whole of that day but I promised myself as much vastness as I can possibly give. Another purpose of life 🙂

Dandeli was planned to experience Kali river through rafting, kayaking on Day 1, Akalagavi caves which is hidden in the dark jungles of Dandeli on Day 2 and a day trip through the beautiful Karnataka roads on Day 3. On reaching we realised the government had not opened the dams yet and there was not enough water to raft which was disappointing but I made peace with this as the experience of kayaking on my own was fulfilling. We learnt the homestay we had booked could not give us rooms but gave a common dorm for 8 boys and 5 girls but I made peace with this as the view in front of this dormitory was to die for. Akalagavi exceeded expectation with the gorgeous caves that put Yana caves to shame.  And lunch at Basaveshwara Khanavali in Hubli took the trip to another level. The Dharwad pedas from Thakur Sweets I am still relishing.

So much mystery

So much mystery

Travel Tips: Travel, Stay, Food – For someone who has not heard of Dandeli/going there for the first time – Dandeli is a town in North Karnataka, nestled in Western Ghats with extremely dense forests and not too far from the sea either. You will realise this by the humidity in the air. Kali river flows through this town and is famous for its rapids. Anyone looking for rafting adventure must head to this place and if the rumors are true, after Rishikesh, it’s Dandeli. If you are heading out from Bangalore, drive up-to Hubli then Dharwad followed by Dandeli.

A loner

A loner

Bangalore to Dandeli is 410 kms. If you are taking the bus, get off at Hubli and try and hire a cab for the number of days you are there. We were 13 of us and had booked a TT. I would suggest, you plan this trip in advance and book your stay a couple of weeks earlier. There are some really good and affordable options but don’t wait till the last-minute. Our experience with food was not great through the trip but if you find some good eateries, do let me know! 🙂

Taking a break :)

Taking a break 🙂

We were not disappointed for too long about No-Rafting. We completely enjoyed ourselves, walking around Kali river, doing the natural jacuzzi thing, a small boating trip and all that kayaking. I dreamt of asking Jeevan to gift me a Kayak for my coming birthday and taking it to nearby lakes/rivers – Idea suggested by Aishu 😀

The rich Kali river

The rich Kali river

On Day 2, after a 1 hour drive through winding roads of Dandeli, we reached Ulavi village where we packed food for the trek. We found Channu here who was our guide for the hike. The walk to Akalagavi is through dense forests but there is a trail throughout. A trail filled with leeches. They don’t scare me no more so I was totally chilled out :p The onward walk is a descend. Our first stop was a small cave that we could walk through. Inside this cave was a mammoth shivlinga. The second stop was as a small man-made pond. A few kids were hanging around and they told us that if you say Om, you will see bubbles coming up and they were right. We don’t know how or why but it happened. So we stayed here, clapping, saying Om to see the bubbles come up again and again.

The mysterious pond

The mysterious pond

Oh my prettiness

Oh my prettiness

Our next stop was yet another cave which had like a huge room inside. After some climb we reached the main cave, the entry to which was 2 feet high. We had our lunch here to gain some energy to breach the cave 🙂 We crawled, squatted, slid, kneeled till we reached the other end which had light coming from the other side. Exploring Akalagavi was a wonderful experience.

One of the caves

Nature showing off :)

Nature showing off 🙂

We spent our Sunday driving back to Bangalore. Our Sunday highlight was the stop at Hubli and our lunch at Basaveshwara Khanavali. This is by far the best Jolad Rotti meal I have had 🙂 It poured cats and dogs but NH4 is a beautiful and safe stretch and Mahesh a skilled driver who ensured we did not face any inconvenience. Overall, a weekend well spent 🙂

Trip Details:

Date: Oct 2-4, 2015

Mode of commute: Tempo Traveler

Place of stay: Nature’s Nest(not recommended) and State Lodge

Total cost per head: Rs. 4400/-

On our way back

On our way back

Jolad Rotti Oota

Jolad Rotti Oota

The group

The group

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