Monsoons are just about to begin. It is time to look for some romance in the pouring rains.
Dandeli, in fact, is a round the year destination. It doesn't get very cold in winter or hot in summers, and you have something to do in every season.
Overview. Dandeli is in the heart of Western Ghats amidst thick jungles and Kali River criss-crossing the region. It rains well in the monsoon and the hills look fresh and green. Winters see mild temperatures but still pleasant, and you can see some great sunsets. Being faraway from the cities, it is not yet part of any main tourist circuit, and has remained a quiet place so far.
Orientation. Dandeli is away from big cities, and that serves to keep it isolated. But its vicinity to Goa attracts some tourists coming from there. The places to see in Dandli are far apart from each other, which means you will require a vehicle of your own. Public transport between places is not frequent, and to some places, does not exist. All around Dandeli exist dams and hydro-electric powerstaions built by Karnataka Power Corporation. While the dams would be beautiful places to see, they are not accessible to public and require prior permission which is not easy to get.
Sightseeing and activities.
Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. A few kilometers away from Dandeli, this place is home to elusive Black Panther, of which sightings are few and recorded images very scarce. A sighting of this would be your lucky day. The sanctuary has tigers too, but are not easy to find. Other animals include Bisons, elephants, wild dogs, Malabar Giant Squirrels and Chitals. There are no organized safaris in the park; you will need to hire your own jeeps. Shiroli Peak inside the sanctuary is a great place to see sunsets. The peak is the highest point in the region and has great vistas of the hills.
Anshi National Park. The National Park on the road to Karwar has thick jungle and is not explored much. There aren't many roads or any kind of safaris that you might experience in the National Parks in the plains. Forest department at Dandeli provides a few tented accommodation in the park, near Anshi village. It is worth staying there - the place has an authentic jungle experience and feels far away from rest of the world.
Whitewater refting. KaliO2 conducts whitewater rafting trips near Dandli, in a place called Ganesh Gudi. You can book through Jungle Lodges. The rafting happens in clearn waters of Kali that runs through thick forest. Rapids are upto grade 3 and largely safe. KaliO2 also runs other adventure activities for private groups, such as Kayaking and trekking.
Cintheri Rocks. A small waterfall and a river running in a rocky valley, Cintheri Rocks is a picturesque place an hour's drive from Dandeli.
Sykes Point. Sykes point is a deep valley where the Kali flows, with cliffs that offer panoramic views of the river and the hills. A great place to see sunsets, but since there is a hydroelectric power station in the valley, this place is off-limites to public and requires prior permission.
Birdwatching. A keen observer can see many exotic species in and around Dandeli. A few waterbodies around the town serve as great places for birdwatching. You can spot here almost all the bird species of the western ghats. Some of the species include Scarlett Minivets, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Trogon, Jungle Babblers, Leafbirds, etc. The star attraction of Dandeli are Hornbills.
Ulavi Channabasappa Temple. A famous temple for those inclined. It is more known for the fair that is an annual event, and draws large crowds from all over North Karnataka.
Options for accommodation in Dandeli are not many. State Lodge in town, opposite to bus stand is the only budget option. Jungle Lodges is the most popular choice of accommodation, as they can facilitate with all activities and sightseeings. Other places to stay includes Bison Resort in Ganesh Gudi and Jungle Camp Resort. Forest Department provies tented accommodations in Kulagi Village and Anshi, which have to be booked through their office in Dandeli.
Getting There. Nearest well connected towns are Hubli(approx 75km) and Karwar(approx 120km). You can reach Karwar on Konkal Railway from Mumbai, Goa or Mangalore. There are many trains to Hubli from all over the country. Air Deccan flies to Hubli from Bangalore. Frequent buses connect Hubli and Dandeli, but Karwar to Dandeli are only a few buses in a day. Karnatate State Transport runs daily overnight buses from Bangalore. If you are arriving from Bangalore, nearest train station is Alnavar, an hour's drive from Dandeli.