Sunday, June 12, 2016

The journey to Dandeli

Dandeli was my vacation destination this time . Set in North Karnataka's western ghats. Dandeli though popular for white water rafting, i believe is one of the lesser known  gems  for vacation and it was on my 'To do' list ever since i saw wonderful pictures of this place in a glossy magazine long long ago.

So, like i mentioned in previous post, with confirmed tickets  a couple of hours before departure, we travelled light and alighted at Hubli's lokamanya tilak station the next morning  @7.30 after a 16 hour overnight journey.  We read online( and were also told)  that there were many buses to Dandeli from Hubli, infact with a frequency of every five minutes. But we realized after breakfast that there were no direct buses from Hubli to Dandeli except a one and only daily service at 8.15.a.m

So, guided by a few we hopped on a local bus to central bus station and took a  bus to Dharwad, Hubli's twin city.   A 50  minute ride later we were in Dharwad from where there were many buses to Dandeli. As told, we alighted and immediately shuttled to another bus to Dandeli. Another 100 minute journey through the winding roads of   teak forests of Nigdi and Haliyal and we were at  Dandeli at 11.30.a.m.

While the road from Hubli to Dharwad was fractured due to the construction of Rapid transport system, The road from Dharwad to Dandeli  was a visual treat and winded through the ghat section, teak forests and lovely little quaint village houses. The houses were small where the top floor was hardly 8 feet  but they had balconies made of wood with traditionally designed awnings , windows with wooden  sun shades and  still some houses sported the traditonal facades of a small sitting  platform and alcoves.  And also  I was more into observing the people around me while they boarded and alighted at each village enroute. The village  women  wore ethnic Ilkals and Khun ( a variety of handloom), kadas and tattoees while they spoke the typical north karnataka kannada which I am very fond of.  In Dharwad kannada a simple 'Pete' of bangalore kannada becomes 'Pyaate' ( meaning city).  And i tried to add the required accent with the people around me while talking with my co-passengers. All these made my bus journey interesting  and not tiring. At the same time, It was also disappointing to see 2 industrial exhaust pipes spewing black smoke into the air. I was expecting a clean green environment in Dandeli away from industrialization  fortunately it was heartening to note all paper mills and saw mills are closed and only the West coast paper mills is functioning now. Lot of Andolans( agitation) from environmentalists to stop Industrialization  and construction of dams which threaten the ecological balance of this area rich in bio-diversity are on.

Once At Dandeli, our home stay operator provided  an accomodation to refresh and lunch later we were on a Maruti Omni to our home stay at Bhavalangi's jungle woods. We were disappointed we did'nt get a good a/c vehicle but will tell you in my further posts what a blessing this was.

  Enroute we passed through Kali river bridge which was picturesque and while we stopped over the bridge The weather was sunny but pleasant. The sunlight filtered through the river and the river bed was visible and we could even see an idol of Lingam.  Some women were washing the clothes sitting on the steps leading to the river at the far end  perhaps unaware of their city folks facing water shortage in the city. We soaked in the spectacular views around us and went on clicking the photographs and one of them being that of the faraway Supa dam.  Didn't realize at that time that would be the only pic of Supa dam that we would be clicking, which is supposed to be one of the major dams of India..

Soon, we left the place and our driver drove past the Karnataka power corporation ltd which housed the Supa dam. This is a restricted area but  visitors are allowed to view from a distance. We asked him to stop there for a while, while we walked in  the few metres past the gate till the security gate. The Supa dam from there looked majestic and this is by far the biggest dam of all the dams i have seen in south. Was wondering how it would have looked if the sluice gates would have been open. I requested the security that we would take a few photos despite the " photography prohibited" board. He politely told me that there were CCTV and his superiors would know. An official around gave us some info about the dam telling that the dam was named after a village Supa which was drowned in 1994 and the dam had 100% inflow then and the dammed river water generates hydroelectricty to cater to Hubli and Goa. When i asked Why Goa?. He said the river Kali has its origins in Goa(??) and so both the govts, have an understanding regarding the sharing of power. This info was contradicted by our guide later...will share that too.

From Supa dam we travelled further up the winding roads of Western ghats  to reach Ganeshgudi where we experienced some high octane water adventure sports...more on that in my next post.

 The river Kali always in full glory since it is dam controlled 

 The bridge across river kali which is a stopover for tourists to catch some spectacular views

                                 That's the Supa dam at a good height. The officials at KPCL said it is the second biggest after Bhakra Nangal but i verified and found it is not. Whatever he said in Dharwad kannada perhaps i misconstrued.  But of all the dams that i have seen this was at a good height( comparing with srisailam, nagarjuna, krishnagiri, sathanur, malavalli and other southern dams)

A zoomed up view...if the sluice gates are opened it would have been a visual treat.

P.S: please pardon the punctuation and grammatical errors. My son read my last four posts recently and pointed too many mistakes and  my daughter who too recently read was annoyed that i don't put capital letters at the required places.


  1. You are at your best when you write a travelogue. You make the place come alive. Travel long and often :)

    Would love to go to Dandeli. heard a lot about it but haven't gone there as yet. Maybe your posts will be the stimulus to do so.

    By the way boo to the young man and the young girl - they cannot poke holes in the writings of my favourite travel writer !

    1. Honored and humbled Ramesh, though i know i am a amateur writer. Thanks for your appreciative words.