An Unexpected Trip to Dandeli.

offbeat dandeli, spontaneous travel

by Chaitrali Agashe.
We were on a trip to attend a friend's wedding in Dharwad, and were to spend two days at Goa before reaching there. On our last night in Goa, while we were just chilling by the small pool at our villa, our friend started telling us about his father's trip to Dandeli. One thing lead to another, and a crazy plan was made. The next day, we were on our way to Dharwad, well, via Dandeli!

Just like any route in the western ghats, the Goa-Dandeli route is extremely beautiful. Entirely covered with forest, it is in a true sense, a nature lover's paradise.
On our way, we called Mr. Milind Kodkeni, who runs a homestay in Dandeli.
The beautiful Goa Dandeli route
After having a nice home-cooked traditional lunch, Milind took us for a small drive and walk in the jungle for some birdwatching. We were lucky to spot some eagles, blue kingfishers and many other birds I don't even remember the names of. He then took us to a spot offering a majestic view of the valley - Nagzari - sort of an echo point. 
An eagle perches on a branch
Spot the perched eagle?
Milind is not a person merely offering a homestay to earn money. He has been born and brought up in Dandeli; his forefathers owned saw mills there which were later shut down by the government to prevent further deforestations.
A bee-eater with his catch
A bee-eater with his catch
All this simply served a teaser and we left Dandeli wishing we had more time. We reached Dharwad at night with the same thoughts, and finally over dinner formed yet another crazy plan of going back to Dandeli the next day after the wedding was over. We were slightly sceptical about the feasibility but still decided to give it a shot.

We had already called Milind and he had the whole excursion planned for us. It started with a trip to his friend, Narasimha's Farmhouse on the border of the forest. It being a typical countryside home, there was no electricity there when we reached. How thrilling it was, to just sit in the porch of the house (osari) and watch the surroundings get darker, while sipping the hot, healthy herbal tea.

A plant visible in the darkness
Out of the dark
After some time, Narsimha took us on a moonlit stroll in the forest. It was so calm, so serene and so peaceful. I just felt I could be there forever!
As darkness set in in Dandeli
As darkness set in
On the way back, he took us to one of the small shops selling local stuff like pure honey, turmeric etc. The honey was so pure, unprocessed and fresh that it still had traces of honey-wax! Narasimha was telling us about his experiences in the forest: earlier days of deforestation, wildlife he had seen, his experiences with snakes and their habits, the “animal food chain” and how rare spotting of tigers is an indicator of good forest health :) 
Dandeli offers the facility for white water rafting in Kali river. Since we had decided to leave early the next day, we told Milind that we would not go for it (silly us!!). But apparently Milind was resolved on making us experience it. While we were getting ready the next morning, we got a call from Milind telling us that there was another group interested in rafting and so he could make arrangements for an early excursion, if we were ready for it. Needless to say, we changed our plan again.

A peaceful portion of the Kali river
The Kali river, not as peaceful as it seems here
The trainers gave the instructions, explained the signs and their meanings and we were off. The Kali river offers the rapids of level between 3 and 4. The cold, crazy water rapids kept on bumping on to the raft. After going downstream for a while, our trainer revealed a surprise to us. He decided to take us upstream! It was as crazy as it could be: the water splashing on our faces, the turbulence and the thrill! By the time we reached the finish spot, we were drenched in water!
We got back to the dorm, changed, had a nice good brunch at Milind's place and then bade goodbye to him and his family with a heavy heart, only with the resolution of going there again.


Author Bio: A software engineer by profession, Chaitrali and her husband love to travel; be it a leisure trip, a trek, a super-express hectic trip - anything. The only constraint is that it has to be a little "hatke". She recently got into travel blogging after some serious persuasion from her husband. She blogs at


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  1. Chaitrali you put it very well. while reading it I can portray every minute details.

  2. Awesome photography and nice blog!! <3

    Well I was wondering if we could follow each other via bloglovin, gfc and g+? Do visit my blog and let me know!! :)


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