Dandeli is a small tourist destination in Western Ghats. It is a treat for nature lovers with water activities, trekking and jungle safari.
We visited Dandeli during monsoon so some of the activities were off. We couldn’t go for river rafting as water level in the river was low. But traveling through Ghats region during monsoon always has its perks. Lush green forest areas and beautiful paddy fields stretching to horizon are treat for the senses.
By end of the trip we were so happy that we had hired our own vehicle rather than relying on public transport. We could stop at so many places for photo op.
The ride from Dandeli to Ganeshgudi was amazing. Cruising through forest with river flowing alongside. On one stretch it seemed as if crops have been raised on the river bed. There were paddy fields in the middle and forest on either side. So beautiful!
The area near Mondgud had large stretches of paddy fields. And at that moment there doesn’t seem anything better than looking at lush green paddy fields.
We stayed in a holiday home which was secluded from rest of the world. We booked 3 of the 4 rooms for us, so pretty much we had the place to ourselves. Setup near fields and forest, the property was green and clean. There was a bakery in the compound which provided fresh bread for breakfast.
The rooms were big, clean and basic but we were left wanting for nothing more. The traditional vegetarian meal served to us was delicious. We had meals on the porch which also served as activity area. They provided some indoor games for leisure time in evening.
The service was SUPERB! The owner as well as the staff provided one of the best services we had in India. They were very helpful with good advice regarding itinerary and even drew maps to reach our destinations.
Water activities are managed by the river side resorts at Ganeshgudi. We went to one of the resorts suggested by our host.
We started with kayaking. As both of us had prior experience, we opted for single ride kayaks instead of double. We were not allowed to go too far from the jetty, but moving freely on water was a fun experience.
We had waiting for the other activity so next up was zorbing over water. As we never had tried zorbing, didn’t know what to expect. On water it is basically running and falling over. We run and run and run trying to stay on our feet but at last unavoidably fall down. And we never get anywhere running on water. It felt sometimes like a guinea pig on a wheel. Too tiring and not fun after 5 min.
Last up was much awaited natural Jacuzzi. What an experience! Water coming down a rapid with full force as we tried to hold on to rocks and immerse ourselves completely in the stream. For a moment it felt we weren’t even laying under water but through wind stream. Adrenaline pumping, it was one of a kind experience for us.
Whereas first day in Dandeli was dedicated to water activity, the second day was for sightseeing.
The day started with trip to Syntheri rocks. We drove through the forest and then after a brief trek reached the view point. What we see is large monolithic rock with a stream flowing below. No doubt a beautiful view and good opportunity for photos.
As we had been to Sathodi falls and Magoda falls was on low recommendation, we moved to Tibetan camp in Mondgud. As our driver didn’t have exact idea where the camp was, we had to ask around a lot. It was lunch time so the delay in reaching the camp seemed longer. And the wait didn’t end when we reached the camp because we had to search for vegetarian place. This begged a question that why are the Buddhist monks so fond of non-vegetarian meals.
The Tibetan camp is not exactly a camp now. It is a full-fledged township. It felt like we were intruding in their lives because there was nothing like a tourist attraction. The places to visit were Tibetan monasteries and schools. The buildings and temples were beautiful, no doubt! But they were part of their daily lives and the tourist would only be an inconvenience I guess.
Located 80 km from Hubli, Karnataka (India). Hubli is well connected by road and railways. It is 14hr train ride from Hyderabad and about 8hr ride from Bengaluru.
Taxis can be hired from Hubli @ INR 9/km with minimum daily charge rate. You may also hire half day rides in Dandeli @ INR 1200.
The stay in Dandeli is mostly at per person basis on AP with all meals included. Our holiday home was on budget side @ INR 1250 per person. Water activities range from INR 150-250 per person per activity and water rafting is around 1000-1500 pp.
The best time to visit Dandeli would be Nov-Feb when jungle safari is more enjoyable and river rafting is on.
Do you have a story to tell about your Dandeli experience? Drop in a comment or send us a mail. We will definitely reply. All the interesting tales will be published in a special feature.