Sunday, 29 December 2013

Dandeli: Into the Wilderness

Dandeli: Into the Wilderness 

Overview: I recently got an invite, from my friend, who owns a travel company (www.dandeli.com) to visit Dandeli and pen down all my experiences there. I was happy with the invitation and decided to visit Dandeli with my friend as I had not visited the place before and it was in my wish list. We started my journey by bus on Friday night and reached Dandeli early morning on Saturday. After having a word with Sanjay from dandeli.com, I proceeded to Dandeli Jungle Camp at Pradhani, around 11 kms from Dandeli bus stand. I was greeted by Mr. Dharmesh who is the manager at the Jungle Camp and showed us our room. The room was pretty impressive with natural beauty of the forests all around. The only sound we could hear was the chirping of birds and the gentle breeze blowing across the swaying trees.
Our first plan post breakfast was to visit Syntheri Rocks, around 8 kms from the camp into Ulavi checkpost. It is a huge monolith of about 300 feet height with the fierce Kali river flowing at its base. Also at the depth there are some cave formations giving it a mythical look. Several types of rocks are found here at this site and a sample of each is displayed on the way down to Syntheri Rocks. One has to climb down the stairs from the parking space to reach the base of the monolith. We were greeted with strange rock formations at the base. The purity and rich colour of the river Kali could be seen from a distance.It is a dangerous place to venture out in the waters though and flags are displayed as a warning to the tourists.
Approaching Syntheri RocksDifferent types of rocks at Syntheri  Syntheri Rocks Syntheri Rocks Syntheri Rocks Syntheri Rocks Syntheri Rocks 
We returned to the camp for lunch. Post lunch, we set out for the backwater view behind Supa Dam. It was amazing to see calm waters and lot of birds. On the way back we visited Kadumane where we saw the honey extraction unit. Its completely natural and Mr. Narasimha was kind enough to explain us that bees don't harm us unless we do something nasty to them.
Backwaters near Supa DamBackwaters near Supa Dam  Backwaters near Supa Dam Kadumane Bees inside the box
The plan for the evening was to take a leisurely walk into the woods to check out some birds. We could not spot too many birds or wildlife though we got a glimpse of the very popular Hornbill in those areas and also the Malabar Giant Squirrel.
Viper Snake Hornbill @ Dandeli Malabar Giant Squirrel Malabar Giant Squirrel Walk in the woods
That was day one for us. A lovely campfire was arranged for us at the Jungle Camp. We began Day 2 with a walk in the woods to catch the morning sun and some birds if possible. Post breakfast we went for a steep hike at Ganeshgudi. On the way we saw trails of wildlife and saw glimpses of some birds which were too high to be captured. The view from the summit was simply superb with waters across the horizon. We also saw the Serpent Eagle hovering around at the top looking for lunch. Its around 25 mins hike which involves steep climb inside deep forest.
Sunrise @ Dandeli Kali River enroute GaneshgudiDandeli Forest  Enroute Ganeshgudi Enroute Ganeshgudi Ganeshgudi hike Skeletal remains of a butterfly Ganeshgudi hike View from the top Ganeshgudi hike Ganeshgudi hike Eagle @ Ganeshgudi Ganeshgudi hike Serpent Eagle flying at Ganeshgudi Serpent Eagle flying at Ganeshgudi Ants @ Ganeshgudi Ganeshgudi
Post lunch we went for some water activities like Rafting and Coracle ride on the rapids of Kali river. White water rafting at Kali river is one of the few places for this activity in southern India and one of the best rapids can be experienced throughout the year.
Kali River, Dandeli Setting for Jacuzzi bath Setting for Jacuzzi bath Rafting at Dandeli Rafting at Dandeli Rapids at Dandeli Fallen tree near Kali river River Crossing Zorbing Jacuzzi Rafting
In the evening we proceeded back towards Dandeli bus stand for our return journey. On the way we stopped to spot some colourful birds. Also in Dandeli town we saw the West Coast Paper mills which is one of the oldest paper mills in India.
West Coast paper mills, Dandeli West Coast paper mills, Dandeli
A few things we missed out were the Kavla Caves which is believed to be inhabited during prehistoric times. We could not visit this place due to the Tiger Census which was going on. The other place was the Ulavi Channabasava temple which is a very popular pilgrimage centre. Apart from this there are several activities like Jacuzzi Bath, Rappelling, Kayaking, etc. to do in the river Kali.
How to reach: Best way is to drive along NH4 via Davangere, Hubli. Then take a diversion towards Dandeli from Haliyal.
By Bus: KSRTC operates Karnataka Sarige and Rajahamsa services every evening. VRL and SRS travels also have their service from Bangalore to Dandeli.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is Alnavar on Bangalore-Goa/Mumbai route.
Accommodation/Activities: There are a few resorts in Dandeli which offer good accommodation and food. The one which we stayed was pretty decent. Please contact Mr. Ramnath or Mr. Sanjay from www.dandeli.com for bookings/itinerary (Ph: Ramnath- 9900547763, Sanjay- 9448797270)
 
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Sunday, 15 December 2013

San Francisco, CA: A Colourful experience

San Francisco, CA: A colourful experience 

Overview: After a couple of years of blogging on my travel within India, I am starting a section on my overseas travel as well with pictures.
Starting in this series, I take you through the streets of San Francisco. Named as Bangalore's sister city, its a pleasure wandering through the city with glimpses of different modes of transport like cable cars, MUNI, BART, Ferry and city buses.
One popular tourist destination is the Pier 39 near Fisherman's Wharf. Its always a pleasant experience to have a walk along the Pier with lot of street performances and eateries. One can see several California Sea Lions at Fisherman's Wharf showing off their dances and performances.
Pier 39 Fisherman's Wharf Sea Lions @ Fisherman's Wharf Sea Lions @ Fisherman's Wharf Fisherman's Wharf Fisherman's Wharf Fisherman's Wharf
Golden Gate Bridge: Be in San Francisco and you cannot miss one of the wonders of Modern world, the Golden Gate bridge. This bridge links the SFO Bay area with the Pacific ocean coast. Used widely by motorists, this bridge also provides a sidewalk for the pedestrians.
Golden Gate Bridge   Golden Gate Bridge Golden Gate Bridge Golden Gate BridgeGolden Gate Bridge
Coit Tower: Located on top of the Telegraph Hill, this tower was built in 1933. One gets a panoramic view of the San Francisco city from the top of the hill.
Coit TowerView from Coit Tower   Coit Tower
Alcatraz Island: A small island just off Fisherman’s wharf, was used as a military prison in the late 19th century. We took a cruise to Alcatraz island from Pier 39 passing under Golden Gate bridge.
Alcatraz Island Alcatraz IslandAlcatraz Island Alcatraz Island
Although there are lot many places to see in the city of San Francisco itself, I believe the pictures say more than the words for this wonderful place.
 Ghirardelli Chocolates Bay Area  Bay BridgeOne of our own Street ViewCable Car Downtown Chinatown Chinatown Kannada Koota during independence day celebrations Downtown Downtown Museum of fine arts Downtown Downtown Sausalito Sausalito
Some of the trips I did when in San Francisco are to Daly City, Berkeley and Sausalito which I would cover in my future posts.
References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco