The thrill of venturing into the wilderness, that anticipation of encounters with the wild animals and the rush of adrenaline as you climb mountains and cover long distances in rugged terrain. Nothing ever beats the fun of trekking which has now become the most loved recreational sport for the young and old alike.
The exciting terrain of the Western Ghats
Dandeli, which falls towards the end of the Western Ghats, enjoys a scenic terrain, replete with forests, rivers, mountains and valleys and added to it, the blissful trees and wild animals. The jungle trails used for trekking pose different vistas during different seasons – the monsoons, spring and the summers in particular. It’s a perfect mix for adventure tourism that lures people of all ages for trekking. Trekking involves covering extended distances of rugged terrain on foot. It allows one to be as close to nature as possible, without the use of comforts like vehicles and generally embarked upon in groups for safety. It is, in fact, meeting nature in its own home. What makes trekking all the more interesting is the unpredictable nature of the land and the journey. You enjoy the journey without worrying to reach the destination and along the way, come face to face with hitherto unknown birds, trees and animals. You learn to depend and trust your instincts and use your defense mechanism to tide through situations. There are several tourist places in Dandeli that you’ve never heard of and will be surprised you ventured to.
The Dandeli region provides ample opportunities for trekking to the veterans as well as the beginners. Several groups opt for the familiar trail surrounding the mountains at Whistling Woodzs Resort accompanied by an expert guide. One can also join the daily early morning trek for residents of the resort with the expert Jom Paryekar who knows each and every bird by its cry and flights, trees by its names and uses and flowers and animals alike.
If you want to explore further, you can book for a guide to delve deep into the jungle. The best places in Dandeli for trekking are also the ones where you’re never far from the waters.
The various trekking places in Dandeli include-
Kavala Caves trek –
organized daily by the Forest Dept., this trek begins early morning at 6.00 . Trekkers have to walk for a distance of about 4 kms before they reach the pre-historic Kavala caves with ample deposits of stalagmite inside. Be prepared to encounter bats and snakes along the way though you would prefer to steer away from their way. Take a downward flight of over 350 steps to reach the caves and also find a natural Shivaling at the entrance. You can also see the Kali flowing from a distance from here.
Kulgi Nature camp and Nagzari Valley trek
The Kulgi nature camp is around 13 kms from Dandeli town. The Kali river is a culmination of the meeting of several tributaries and small rivulets (Nalas), the Nagzari being one of them. At a distance from Kulgi, the Nagzari stream meets the Kali and houses the power station at that place. This trek is mainly for nature lovers and entails covering a distance wading through the waters of the stream. Along the way, one can spot several species of birds, including the famed hornbills, the flycatchers , bluebirds, thrushes and more. The waters here are rich with amphibians, algae and dense vegetation along the way. Be prepared to be met with leeches and wearing thick covered shoes is the sure way to escape them. The quietude and the song of the wild pulls adventure tourists to this trail. Be pleasantly surprised to witness the sunset atop the Sykes point. One can take a public transport bus to Kulgi Nature camp or drive down in your own vehicle till a certain point and then embark on the trek.
The Shiroli peak trek
This place is basically a sunset point inside the Kali Tiger Reserve that offers scintillating views of the wide vistas. One can walk up to the place from Dandeli or simply take a vehicle and climb the steps to the peak. On clear days, one can catch a 180 degree view of the entire valley as the sun sets , bathing the valley in golden hues. On less crowded days, it is the best place to stop, pause and clear your mind of thoughts and worries as you soak in the beauty and silence of nature.
The falls trek
If you’re a fan of waters falling from a height and creating a mesmerizing cascade, you must not skip a trek to Sathodi waterfalls or embark on a walk to Syntheri rocks. The former can be done by driving down to a distance from the falls and then walking up the rugged terrain till the falls. As you get close to the falls, the rocky terrain poses some challenges, especially for the elderly. One needs to wear sturdy shoes and carry enough water and stay hydrated in these humid areas. The Syntheri rocks allow for stunning views of the monolithic volcanic rock going back millions of years adjoining the river Kaneri, forming a breathtaking view of the waters which have hollowed out the rock making it all the more beautiful. One needs to be wary of bees and pigeons as well as mischief mongers who crowd this place frequently. Travel in groups to avoid any problems.
Trekkers with kids or elderly persons can also opt for the usual jungle trek with the help of trained guides from the Whistling Woodzs Resort and aided by sturdy vehicles. This enables you to stop at safe places and explore the jungle at your own pace. Dandeli trekking packages allow you to customize your trek. Trekking brings you close to nature and you learn to understand its language. You also align yourself with the nature’s elements and when the two unite, you joyfully forget all your stress and thoughts only to emerge rejuvenated and fresh.