In our previous post, we talked about our first day in Dandeli, a visit to Syntheri rocks, safari in the jungle followed by a campfire by the moonlight. We must have slept quite early as there was not much to do during the night. So we slept at the sound of night creatures in close vicinity, and woke up early next morning to the chirping of a koel. It was going to be another exciting day …
The morning started with a walk in the jungle along with our guide. As the morning breeze caressed our faces and the morning sun made everything glow in the golden hues, we walked silently through abandoned farms and woods. It was a bird watching exercise too and we were able to see a few birds, like a beautiful blue kingfisher. One thing I noticed during this walk was that we know so little about birds. This prompted me to order one of Salim Ali’s books – Birds in India as soon as we reached Pune.
There was one major activity of the day which Ekta was so looking forward to – white water rafting. Dandeli provides an excellent opportunity for rafting in the Kali river with difficulty level ranging between beginner and intermediate. Though I was a little apprehensive as I do not know swimming and generally do not like going in water, this time I decided not to be a spoil sport and go ahead with the plan.
For the rafting, we had to go to the Kali River Camp again from where we were to be transferred to the starting point which is about 30 km away. As we went there, a large crowd of adventure seeking youngsters had assembled, all ready to take a plunge in the roaring waters of the river Kali.
After a bumpy jeep ride on dusty roads, we reached the base of a dam which holds the water of Kali in a reservoir and when this water is released, it created rapids on its path. We were divided into groups and assigned a leader cum instructor. The instructor gave us a briefing on what to do and what not to do, we donned our life jackets and helmets and were ready for the adventure.
For starters, we were asked to jump off our boats and into the water, to get used to it and have some fun. So after some initial hesitation, we jumped in the water and it was fun floating and trying to swim in the refreshingly cold water. It reminded me of the time when we had lots of fun swimming in the river Sharavathy 3 years back. After we got back in the boat, we were told about the right way to sit and paddle, and were familiarized with the commands of rafting. We were asked to work as a cohesive unit and not to panic, whatever may come.
The river ride was to be about 9 km long and there were 8 rapids on the way. I can still remember the nervousness I felt while we approached the first rapid, heart beating faster as we neared the fall, and then suddenly we went down with the flow. Bubbly water came over us in waves and with a swish, we were out safe .. floating away from the rapid. The rush which I experienced at that time is difficult to explain in words. The fear vanished and suddenly I was eager to face the other seven rapids, peddling faster.
Each rapid in the course has a name, while one is called head-cutter for its sharp rocks, other is called leopard’s nest because one leopard stood there, staring at the survey team while they were navigating these waters to do a feasibility analysis for rafting. While some rapids were relatively easy, some like the sixth and the last one were quite challenging. In fact I ended up drinking a lot of river water in the sixth rapid as we went under the water. Whenever the river calmed down, we would let the boat float with the current and look at the jungle around us. There was no dearth of wildlife in the forest around us, we were even told that there were crocodiles in the river a little further downstream. I cannot say I was keen to see them, glad they did not turn up. By the time we cleared the last rapid safely and came to the shore, we were a little tired from all the efforts but quite happy. I will definitely try to do it again when possible.
There was one more place left to visit in our itinerary, a lake formed by the dam. We went there in the evening and took some good photographs in the lights of the setting sun. It is a picturesque place and is recommended when you go to Dandeli. While returning, shopping in a local handicraft shop for some herbs and souvenirs concluded our journey.
So that was how we spent our weekend in Dandeli. It was a wonderful experience to break free from the chaos of the city and get lost in the jungles of the Western ghats. If you are in Pune, do try a trip there. You will love this place.
This trip to Dandeli was facilitated by Dandeli.com. Thanks a lot for the amazing experience !