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Dandeli - The Adventure Capital of South India

Karnataka is blessed with Western Ghats along with a beautiful coastline adjoining the enigmatic Arabian Sea. Within those ghats, one can bump into numerous adventure destinations that are unexplored and unheard of earlier. One such attractive destination that will reward you with that edge-of-the-seat experience and spark that wanderlust in you is Dandeli.

Something about Dandeli?

Are you hearing it for the first time? Dandeli is a quaint little town blessed with lush green jungles lying in the lap of the Sahyadri mountain range. This town Dandeli attributes its name to a local deity named Dandelappa, a servant of the Mirashi landlords. Reach Dandeli at an altitude of 1551 feet above sea level.

Nestled in the stunning and evergreen Western Ghats, Dandeli is the untouched beauty that slowly unravels the gems of nature with its exotic flora and fauna, fantastic trek trails and an impressionable rich green environment. Though a small town, Dandeli is full of activities, places to see and visit, and have a lot of fun with loved ones.

Dandeli is the hub of adventure sports and activities such as white water rafting on the River Kali, exploring the wildlife at the Dandeli wildlife sanctuary or hiking onto the Syntheri rocks. Enjoy boat rides, kayaking, rock climbing, canyoning, therapeutic natural jacuzzi, wildlife safari, tent stays, hiking trips, trekking, camping, and lots more. Think of any more adventure sport, and you have it at Dandeli.

Adventure awaits at Dandeli

Dandeli and adventure are synonymous. Uncountable trekking trails, diverse wildlife, and gushing streams present a heady mix of fun, making it one ideal location to experience adventure in Dandeli.

Dandeli adventure sports include kayaking, canyoning, white water rafting, natural jacuzzi bath, zip-lining, camping, wildlife safari and much more.

Excitement awaits on the banks of ferocious River kali, famous for the Dandeli Anshi Tiger reserve, making it a desired destination for wildlife lovers and adventure fanatics. You can camp overnight at the reserve and listen to the nocturnal sounds of nature, which will give you the creeps. Or embark on a night safari inside the reserve forest if you are game enough to spot a Tiger, an extinct species of Black Panther and various other wildlife animals.

There are also elephant safaris and jungle safaris, bird watching treks to Ganeshgudi to watch 350 species of birds, fishing and nature trails available in the forest. For a more fantastic experience, one can stay at Kali Adventure Camp on the banks of the beautiful River Kali. And do not miss to try out the Coracle ride on the River while spotting snakebirds and darters.

From the many adventure options available, a few of them are Dandeli Adventure Trekking, Dandeli Jungle Safari, Kali Adventure Camp, Mountain Biking in Dandeli Jungle, Jeep Safari in Dandeli, Rappelling in Dandeli and lots more.

Trekkers paradise

Jungle trekking is an adventurous journey to explore the thick Dandeli forests where the trekkers can have a rendezvous with nature, wildlife & birds. It is the most sought-after adventurous activity in Dandeli Forest, usually undertaken by young tourists making it one of the top-rated things to do in Dandeli.

Dandeli offers an innumerable variety of treks. The trekkers can trek to Sada Falls, just two hours from Dandeli. A variety of terrains, crisscrossing streams, and huge boulders make trekking at Dandeli interesting, exciting, and challenging. All this sums up trekking.

Other popular trek spots worth checking out in Dandeli are Kavala caves, Huli Gudda hill, Potoli-Shiroli and Kulgi-Nagzari Valley. The Kulgi-Nagzari Valley trek is challenging and is about a 15 km long trek which takes about 8 hours. Potoli-Shiroli is a 13 km medium difficulty trek and takes about five to six hours. These treks begin from Kulgi Nature Camp, and yes, boarding facilities are available.

The forest department organizes a single trip daily at six in the morning to Kavala Caves. The guided tour begins with a ride into the gated forest reserve, followed by a three to four km downhill walk and a further 350 steps down takes you to the caves. Visitors can either opt for a private four-wheeled vehicle inside the sanctuary or rent a jeep. The latter is the preferred mode of transport here due to the undeveloped roads.

Trekkers need to pay for the permit and guide fees at the Kulgi Nature. The trekkers must care to wear full boots, as leeches are big trouble, especially during monsoon and winter months. There are also a few short bird-watching trails around the camp in addition to the day-long trekking routes.

Do you want to conquer your phobia of heights and challenge yourself? Then Dandeli is the place for you. Try rappelling on the stiff stark rocky cliffs of the Sahyadri mountain ranges. The croc trek and the nature walk are not to be missed.

Some of the most stunning trek routes are Dudhsagar and Dandeli Jungle Trek, Dudhsagar and Dandeli Trek and Camp, Explore Western Ghats with Adventure Drives, Syntheri Rocks Waterfall-Dandeli and much more.

Camping fun at Dandeli

Dandeli camping is quite a popular tourist activity as it offers both nature camping and jungle camping. Both the campings are coupled with adventure sports and treks. Surrounded by brooks, ravines and lush green foliage, Dandeli becomes a perfect camping destination. A variety of camping options attracts visitors. Why not try all of them when you have a choice!

You can choose from an array of water sports camps, photography camps, and stay-at-jungle camps. There are various camping sites with basic amenities or simplistic facilities and with some top-notch services. Some campsites also include a jacuzzi on their premises. Usually,​ the camping packages include meals, accommodations, and activities that revolve around your kind of camp stay.

Activities include water sports like Kayaking, River Rafting, Boating, Zorbing, Swimming, Archery and Cycling. The nights are often dedicated to bonfires and having family time together. Many campsites welcome families as well as couples together but none for only couples.

Some of the most popular camping options are Adventure Jungle Stay in Dandeli, Dandeli Jungle Camping, Treeland Homestay and Camping -Dandeli, Wild in Resort – Dandeli, Dandeli Adventure Zone, Jungle Retreat Dandeli and so on.

Things to do and places to visit in the Dandeli

Apart from hiking, trekking, camping, and adventure sports, Dandeli has a lot to offer. It has many places of interest that one can indulge in while in Dandeli. Some of the places worth visiting are Supa Dam, Kulgi Nature Camp, Sykes Viewpoint, Ulavi Temple, Moulangi Eco Park, Dandelappa Temple, and Molangi Falls. A few more are Sri Mallikarjuna Temple, Shivaji Fort, Sathod Falls, Magod Falls, Kavadi Kere, Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, Kali River, Kavala Caves, Syntheri Rocks, Shiroli Peak and Anshi National Park.

While in Dandeli, one can go on a shopping spree for buying bamboo craft items. Delicate and finely crafted bamboo art and craft items reflect the rich and unique heritage and culture of the place. Some of the must-buys are bags, flutes, handwoven baskets, and body gears made out of bamboo.

Those with a liking for experimenting with food can always try the local cuisine available here. Though it does not have an elaborate cuisine, Dandeli does have certain delicacies that stand out to provide an authentic South Indian dining experience. Dandeli is home to several restaurants that serve a subtle variety of South Indian platters and the traditional snacks of Samosa and Kachoris. One can relish the lip-smacking local cuisine made up of Jolada Roti (Jowar Roti), Ennegai (brinjal curry), Pithla, Vangi Bath, Bisi Bele Bath, Kesari Bath, Uppittu, Ragi Mudde, Akki Roti, Idli, Vada, Dosa, Sambhar and traditional and local sweets like Chiroti, Mysore Pak, etc.

How to reach Dandeli?

Dandeli has a good road connectivity, with regular bus services connecting the place with the rest of the country. However, Dandeli has no direct trains or flights.

  • Dandeli by Air: Hubli is the closest domestic airport to Dandeli. It is at a distance of 73 km and a drive of about two hours from Dandeli. There are flights from major cities across India such as Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Tirupati and Kochi that connect Hubli.
  • Dandeli by Road: Though located in the forest area, Dandeli has excellent road connectivity with important cities in Karnataka, including Belgaum, Dharwad, and Hubli. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) runs regular buses connecting Dandeli with places like Belgaum (100 km), Hubli (72 km), Bengaluru (412 km) and Goa (160 km).
  • Dandeli by Rail: Dharwad (46 km), Alnavar Junction (23 km) and Londa (38 km) are the nearest railway stations to Dandeli for those travellers who come from Maharashtra and North India. For tourists travelling from South India, Hubli is a convenient railway station located 80 km away from Dandeli and takes two and a half hours of driving. Upon reaching these railway stations, the travellers can book taxis to reach Dandeli.

Best time to visit Dandeli

Dandeli is surrounded by dense forests that benefit it with a moderate climate throughout the year. Due to the thick foliage, the weather remains pleasant all year round. However, the best season to visit Dandeli is the winter season between October to May, when the weather is most appealing at that time of the year. Pleasant and windy weather encourages adventure enthusiasts to participate in various adventure sports without getting tired. The water is cooler during that time of the year making water sports and River Rafting much more fun.

One can also visit the Dandeli during summer if one wants to catch the amazing sight of migratory birds. Monsoon, on the other hand, is a bit tricky. As the water level rises and the roads become muddy and inaccessible at specific points, it becomes challenging to travel to Dandeli in the monsoon.

FAQs

1. What is the best time for white river rafting in Dandeli?
White water rafting is taken up in River Kali from October to May. During this time when River Kali experiences great water rapids making River Rafting an exhilarating experience.

2. When should one visit Dandeli to watch exotic bird species?
A. The months of January, February and March are the best months to visit Dandeli for all interested in watching exotic bird species, including the migratory birds, making it a visual treat.

3. When should we plan a trip to Dandeli to spot the Tigers?
A. Dandeli boasts of two wildlife parks, namely Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and Anshi Tiger Reserve. Summer months from April to June are the best time of the year to spot these Wildcats in their natural habitat. These animals are usually found at nearby water sources.

4. How many days are enough for a trip to Dandeli?
A. Approximately 3 to 4 days should be enough for a trip to Dandeli where you can enjoy as many activities along with places to visit with your family and friends.

5. Is Dandeli a safe place to visit?
A. Yes, Dandeli is absolutely a safe place to visit. The guides and instructors are helpful and friendly. The local people of Dandeli are also helpful and welcoming by nature. The locals​ greet tourists with much warmth and let them explore their locality. Although during night time, certain areas can get deserted and should be avoided entirely.

6. What should one pack while planning a trip to Dandeli?
A. While planning a trip to Dandeli, make sure to pack the following essentials –

  • Don't forget to carry sunscreen, lip balm, cotton clothes, sunglasses, water bottles and a cap or hat for the summer months as it can get sunny.
  • Keep mosquito repellent to protect your skin.
  • For walking across the hikes around Dandeli, have some comfy sneakers or sturdy boots at the ready.
  • Are you going to water sports? Don't forget to pack your beachwear and swimsuits.
  • Tourists are usually prone to sunburn and sunstrokes. So, apply high SPF sunscreen.
  • Keep the first-aid kit while vacationing at Dandeli to treat primary injuries on your own.
  • For maintaining basic hygiene, keep hand sanitisers and necessary toiletries.

What are the best attractions to visit in Dandeli?
The top attractions to visit in Dandeli are:

  • Sykes Point – Sykes Point is a fantastic viewpoint from where one can get a stunning view of the surrounding mountains and the river below. It is a great place to capture the spellbinding sunset in the camera.
  • Shivaji Fort – This old fort is a jewel of Dandeli and is believed to have belonged to Maratha ruler Shivaji. Here you can gain an insight about the ancient military and war tactics while exploring the lush green forests surrounding the fort.
  • Sri Mallikarjuna Temple – It is Karnatka's one of the most significant temples, famed for its beautiful architecture. It holds a Navarang mantap inside it, making it a place of spiritual significance. It is located at 20 km from the Dandeli bus stand.
  • Supa Dam – This beautiful dam over the Kalindi river offers an excellent spot for some clicking pics with the family of the quality time spent together. A scenic trail with birds and animal spottings will lead you to the dam.
  • Anshi National Park – This is a tiger reserve covering 1300 square kilometres. One can explore the trekking trails in the forest with camp out at night.
  • Mini Tibet – If you are a history lover with an interest to explore different cultures, you must head to Mini Tibet and experience the Tibetan culture's richness.
  • Moulangi Eco Park – This Eco Park is famous for activities like rock climbing and trekking with several animal and plant species to see as well.
  • Sathodi Falls – This rectangular waterfall with the water pool beneath is an excellent spot for a picnic. Exciting jungle trails lead to this beautiful spot.

8. Which are the top must-do things in Dandeli?
A. Dandeli is the Hubspot of adventure activities. These fun activities will keep you on the edge of the seat. Here is a list of the top must-do things in Dandeli for you:

  • White Water Rafting
  • Kayaking in Dandeli
  • Rock Climbing in Dandeli
  • Ziplining in Dandeli
  • Rappeling in Dandeli

What should one wear in Dandeli?
A. While in Dandeli, instead of wearing one thick sweater or a windcheater, it'll help you to wear layers of clothes. During winters, the treks might warm you up, and it would be a better idea to shed layer- by- layer of clothes to make you feel comfortable.

Ipsite Sinha

ipsita.sinha85@gmail.com

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