Sunday, August 25, 2013

Trip to Dandeli, Dudhsagar Falls, Karwar from Hyderabad



On a three-day weekend, six of us took a train and reached Hubli the next day around 10am. Given our varied itinerary, it made sense to book a Tavera from Hubli for the next three days.

Dandeli

Hubli to Dandeli is a three hour drive via Dharwad (sibling city to Hubli). En-route, one sees beautiful greenery, multiple plantations, and elegant forest area with dark woods for a stretch before reaching the small town of Dandeli.

Forest road to Dandeli
Dandeli, as a town spans across multiple areas with a fair distance between them. The town itself is where we spent no time at all whilst our resort, Bison was some 20-odd kms away from the town next to the Kali river. The Dandeli wildlife sanctuary (near Kulgi) is in another direction approx. 30 kms from our resort. 


We went over to our resort and after freshening up got involved in the river activities arranged by the resort. The activities included a coraikal ride, kayaking, natural Jacuzzi, and rafting over one rapid (since the other rapids were closed in monsoon time).
Kali river
Each and every activity was a lot of fun and we had a good time splashing ourselves during the coraikal ride, playing in the water at the natural Jacuzzi; fighting the water current when off the raft; swimming and struggling not to drift downstream when in the water and so on. Life jackets help to a great extent; but beyond that it is very easy to panic when inside the water.
Tired and exhausted, we were glad to accept the snacks and tea provided by the resort and later enjoyed the dinner in the resort all in the company of an amiable cat which allowed itself to be scratched and fed within their restaurant.

The next day was a lengthy one. I was up early for the wildlife safari from 6-8am and we went 30 kms in search of the safari entry point. On our way on the dark road itself, in the lights of our Tavera, we were lucky to spot a glimpse of a Malabar Giant Squirrel with its long bushy tail.To my surprise, there were no other visitors (except one other jeep) in the forest; which was later revealed to be due to the monsoon season.
Anyways we went ahead with the safari with it beginning to drizzle leading to even lesser chance to spotting animals. The net worth of the safari was a beautiful jungle, multiple types of teak plantations; different colored trees; a mist in the morning air. The spotting mainly comprised of a few different deers and sambhars, a tortoise, a kingfisher, a magpie-robin, a couple of wooly-necked storks, and a few peacocks.
Wooly-necked stork
Upside: a beautiful place with extensive greenery and good fun activities
Downside: too little time spent, missed out on Syntheri rocks and Timber Yard. Monsoons are not the right time for wildlife spotting.

Dudhsagar Falls

After coming back to the resort and having breakfast, we left immediately for Dudhsagar Falls which is on the Goa-Karnataka border. To go to perhaps one of the most famous falls of India, we made our way to Castle Rock Station which was roughly 50 kms from our resort. On our way, we passed the Supa Dam across the giant Kali river. Thereafter we waited for an hour for a train to Dudhsagar which was 15-20kms away and half an hour’s train ride. The station was filled with many other tourists too and we stuffed ourselves into the train when it finally arrived.

The train journey of half an hour is beautiful itself as we crossed multiple tunnels with the imposing Western Ghats on one side and a beautiful distant valley on the other. We also crossed hundreds of trekkers on the way who were walking to the same destination as ours.

We finally got down amidst a heavy crowd and a flurry of activity from all directions. With a heavy crowd alongside us, we walked for another half a kilometer alongside the railway track and three more tunnels before finally sighting the gigantic and elegant Dudhsagar Falls.

The waterfalls are quite high and we could barely see the top from where the water came crashing and thundering down. We were somewhere in the middle of the falls’ height and could further see the water roaring further down under the bridge (for the train to pass) into the distance beneath us.
Dudhsagar waterfalls

We spent a fair amount of time at the falls (amongst thousands of other people), walked on and went downwards on a small mucky and slippery trail and spent some time at the foot of the flowing water.
After a few hours, we made our way back to the station to catch the train back to Castle Rock in the evening; and finally reached our resort back by 7.30pm. On our way back our driver’s sharpness enabled us to spot a gigantic scorpion on the road in the darkness.
Huge scorpion on the road
Upside: beautiful, gorgeous waterfalls with roaring water especially in the monsoon season
Downside: the crowd (in thousands). Also the heavy amount of trash strewn all over the place in and around the area. It is indeed sad to see such an elegant place go to waste with no kind of civic sense being shown by the visitors.

Karwar
We left for Karwar early next morning at 4am and made our way in the darkness. Again owing to our driver’s sharpness we spotted a snake and a tortoise and a wild boar on those roads itself within the forest area on our way to Karwar.
tortoise on the road
Karwar, around 100kms from Dandeli is a quiet little beach off Arabian Sea in north Karnataka. We reached Karwar at around 6.30am in the early morning.
Having experienced the turbulent Bay of Bengal in places like Chennai; the Arabian Sea was a surprise of sorts. The sea is much calmer and pleasant at Karwar; with a number of nearby islands which make for a picturesque view. We spent some time in the sea; playing, bathing and swimming with the waves rippling past us.

Karwar beach
Upside: pleasant and beautiful beach
Downside: no chance to explore the city

After a good time spent and having enhanced our appetites, we had breakfast and made our way to the awkwardly named Londa Junction where we took our afternoon return train to Hyderabad reaching Monday morning by 5am.

Route:

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