Dandeli is a small town nestled in the lap of Western Ghats. Blessed with verdant jungles home to the elusive black panther and River Kali, a hub for white water rafting and a place to savour delicious and traditional North Karnataka food, Dandeli is paradise for nature lovers.
History of Dandeli
There are two versions to Dandelis history. The first one dates back to the birth of a mythical creature called Dandakaranya, mentioned in the epic, Mahabharata. According to another legend, the town is named after Dandelappa, a local deity and a servant of the Mirashi landlords.
People & Culture
Dandeli has a distinct culture. It could well be called a diversity hotspot harboring different cultures. The official and commonly spoken language is Kannada but people in Dandeli also speak Marathi, Konkani and Hindi. Dasara, Ganesh Chaturthi, Deepavali and Ram Navami are celebrated with pomp and vigor. Dandelappa, a local legend, is worshipped by locals in a temple dedicated to him.
Things to do in Dandeli
White water Rafting is the major attraction for people visiting Dandeli. The adrenalin pumping two-hour session on the fierce Kali River is an experience no one should miss. Rafting is usually conducted when the water is let from the Supa Dam as it provides rafting opportunities at the Virnoli Rapids connected to the Kali River.
Only a few resorts in Dandeli like Jungle Lodges & Resorts and Bison River Resort are authorised to conduct white water rafting River Kali. The best time for river rafting is from November to February. However, travellers, who do not visit Dandeli during this period, can still river raft, depending on the water flow.
A single river rafting session can cost anywhere between INR 1000-1500 and rafting equipments and safety gear are provided by operators. Travellers must ensure that they are briefed about safety procedures before the session. Although travellers need not know swimming to raft, they must ask for life jackets. People with heart ailments are advised not to undertake this adventure activity. Other water sports like canoeing, river crossing, kayaking, rappelling and coracle rides are also conducted on River Kali.
Travellers, especially wildlife enthusiasts, must go for a wildlife safari in Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and Anshi National Park, which was declared a tiger reserve in 2006. Private vehicles are banned and only government approved as well as regulated Jungle Lodges are Resorts vehicles are allowed inside the tiger reserve. Each safari ride lasts for 90-120 minutes and costs approximately INR 1250 per person. The reserve is home to tigers, elephants, leopards, black panthers, civets and sambar deer. But, when compared to other reserves, animal sightings here are pretty rare owing to the jungles dense cover and terrain.
The sanctuary is also a great place for birders. Hornbill, a bird species indigenous to the region, has grown in number due local conservation efforts. Many ornithologists and bird watchers visit the region in large numbers to observe hornbills. More than 300 species of birds can be spotted here.
Other popular attractions in Dandeli include the Ulavi Temple, a famous pilgrimage centre located within the sanctuary, Syntheri Rocks and Kavala Caves. A visit to the ancient Kavala Caves is a must-do for any adventure enthusiast. Trek up the 1000 steps through the evergreen forests to reach the limestone caves to find a naturally formed Shivalinga there. Molangi, Sykes Point, Naghzari Viewpoint and Supa Dam are other places of interest for travellers.
Food in Dandeli
Dandeli has great places to eat offering authentic north Karnataka cuisine. Jolada roti (Jowar roti), ennegai (brinjal curry), pithla are few of the many specialties served here. In Dandeli town, travellers can try visiting Khanavalis for its authentic food. Erappana Lingayat Khanavali and Shree Sharanabasaveshwara Khanavali are great places to eat.
Travelling to Dandeli
Dandeli is hot during summers, cool during winters and receives heavy rainfall during monsoon. Winter nights can get chilly as the temperature dips sharply. Dandeli is well connected by road and rail. The nearest railway station is Alnawar, Dharwad and Londa. The nearest airport is Hubli, about 80 km away. Autos are the best bet for local transport and there are regular state transport buses to nearby places and major towns at regular intervals.
Tourists from Bangalore travelling to Dandeli by road can opt for the Bangalore-Chitradurga Davanagere - Hubli Dharwad (veer off the bypass) - Haliyal-Dandeli route.
Contributed by: Santosh, HolidayIQ.com Traveller