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Weekend Getaway – Dandeli

Those who do not want to read a very long story, click here.
I read somewhere that “Plans are invitation to disappointment.” So true! Sometimes spontaneous trips work out so much better than waiting and planning for the perfect time and the perfect company. The trip to Dandeli was one such trip for me. A bunch of people from office decided and floated a mail saying whoever wants to join can join the trip. Most of the girls in my group in office were from that same team and they decided to go. I was quite apprehensive as I did not know anyone other than my group girls. Anyway I decided to go as Puneeth has already been to Dandeli and this would be a good chance to see the place. The very next day my parents gave us a surprise visit from Vizag for our anniversary (it was so cool of them, they even organized a surprise party for us J) and they were going to stay that weekend. So I decided to cancel on the trip as I did not want to leave them and go off when they came for me specially. Puneeth on the other hand was of the view that I should go and have a good time with my friends. The whole week I saw everyone make plans and saw the excitement build on the floor. I have to admit I did feel a wee bit disappointed for not able to join in. The plan was to leave on a Friday night by road and come back by Monday morning. I took that Friday off and was happily stuffing my face with my mom’s food when Puneeth called me from office to convince me to go. I had never been for river rafting and he tempted me with the details and the rush of adrenalin one feels etc etc. Now I was caught on a spot as I really wanted to go but I did not want to leave my parents and go.  My mom asked me what it was about and when I told her about the trip, she ticked me for taking this stupid decision. She told me to go and have fun with my friends. Her point was that we should never back out of things which we love to do. She knows my love for travel and totally convinced me to go. The thing was it was already 5.30 in the evening and I had to be at office by 6.30. I packed in 5 minutes flat with my mom’s help and literally ran out of the house. I know it will sound very dramatic but when I was rushing off and I looked back to wave at my parents, they were waving back enthusiastically while trying to tell me to be careful and wear the sweater (humph), I felt really bad and selfish. I know it was just a matter of a day, they were anyway leaving on Sunday, but I was feeling bad for going off like this. With this heavy feeling I set off to join everyone at the office from where we left for the trip. And it was one memorable trip. Now that we have the background drama covered, lets move on (sorry sometimes I tell very long stories :D)


 Syntheri Rocks

                 Dandeli is a beautiful place around 450 kms from Bangalore. You can go trekking or river rafting or rappelling or go on a jungle safari or go fishing or just laze around in your resort basking in the sun, enjoying doing nothing. It is a perfect weekend getaway catering to a lot of different types of people and their travel needs. The drive took us around 11 hours including dinner halt and we reached Dandeli early morning on Saturday while the dew was still glistening on the lush forest around and there was a happy cacophony of birds chirping (something we sorely miss in the cities). We quickly dashed to our rooms to get ready for river rafting and after a nice filling breakfast, headed off to the banks of the Kali river to report for rafting. After a quick customary round of formalities (basically waiving off the organizers of any responsibility in case of an accident) and another quick round of acquainting with the equipment and safety measures, we were on board the raft. The first thing the instructor asked us to do once we were on board was to jump into the water! This was so that we get used to the water and not panic in case we do over turn. After frolicking in the water for sometime (which we loved by the way), we got on to the raft and then the instructor gave us a quick lesson on how to row and how to steer the raft to either direction and what steps to follow when he called out some basic commands. Then we were all set for our first and the best rapid. Nothing compares to what you have heard or seen about rafting till you actually do it. Of course the same holds true for any adventure sport. The palpable fear mixed with the high you get out of it is sheer pleasure. The sinuous Kali river with thick forest on either banks and the picture perfect sky with strategically placed fluffy clouds is the perfect setting for this adventure. After more than an hour of maneuvering over rapids, we headed back to our farmhouse. The morning’s activities had worked up an appetite and after a sumptuous lunch, we headed to see Syntheri Rocks. It is almost an hours drive to the place through picturesque hilly terrain. Syntheri rocks are huge monolith rocks on the banks of a tributary of Kali river. The force of the water has eroded the rocks beautifully and it is a nice quite spot to just relax in the lap of nature. That night the farmhouse arranged a campfire for us and also provided a music system in case we wanted to shake a leg or two. A college group was going berserk dancing to Punjabi songs on a loop and we had lot of fun watching and gossiping! The food was quite yummy except egg chilli which seemed to have been made in coconut oil.

 Trek to rappelling spot

 Spot me! :P

 Bahadur ladki :P

                 Day two of Dandeli started with a yummy breakfast, post which we went for rappelling. The rappelling spot is a tiny trek by itself and is actually an old mining spot where there is a vertical drop of around 60-70 feet. It was organized by a local adventure sports company referred by the farmhouse where we stayed. One of the instructors did a quick demo and since I have done rappelling before, it did not seem scary. The highlight of the activity was not rappelling itself but the dramatic chickening out by our in-house drama queen after she is literally at the edge and also after having posed for a very convincing photograph :D. Our original plan for day two included the railway track trek to doodhsagar falls but it was vetoed out in favor of reaching back Bangalore on Sunday night itself. The return drive was one big party of dumb charades and we reached Bangalore almost by midnight.

Some quick info for your planning –

How to reach?                                                                          
Best way to go to Dandeli from Bangalore in by road. There are two routes apparently, one via Haveri and another via Dharwad. Both are nice as we went via Haveri and returned via Dharwad. Another way is to go by train till Londa/Dharwad/Hubli and then proceed by road.

Where to stay?

  Stanley's Farmhouse

We stayed at Stanleys Farmhouse and it was quite nice and rustic. They have rooms and tents both. The rooms are spacious and clean. There is sufficient space to lay out a few extra mattresses in case you go in a group. The washrooms were clean and there was continuous hot water supply. We went for a one night package which was Rs.1200 per head and it included stay and, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food was simple and tasty. But do not expect fancy restaurant style food. The farmhouse also organized separate camp fires for different groups and also provided a music system. They also have a few cycles for hire and a private lake where you can do some water sports like kayaking. I would not recommend swimming in the lake as it did not look very clean. Other than that some indoor games like carom and table tennis are also available. They also help you in booking for the rafting and guide you for other activities like rappelling or trekking as they have local connections. Overall Stanley’s farmhouse is a good and functional stay in Dandeli. You will be happy if you do not expect too much other than a clean room and simple food.
For more details you can visit their website:

When to visit?
Best time to visit Dandeli is from October to May. River rafting is not conducted during monsoon. So it is best to call up the rafting operator to know the best time.

Tips to plan a trip to Dandeli:
  1. Whichever place you choose to stay, they will help you in booking the rafting slot.
  2. The rafting organizers also click photos of you in action and these come out beautifully. Highly recommend to take them for keeps sake.
  3. Winter is harsh in Dandeli (especially for city folk from Bangalore). So carry a good sweater /pullover and a scarf. You will need them post sunset when the temperature dips.
  4. Even in winter months, the sun is strong during the day and you tend to tan a lot especially during rafting, so sunscreen is a must. We went in December first week and I got tanned a lot. 
  5. Flip-flops are not allowed for rafting. You should wear strap sandals or go barefoot.
  6. Wear easy comfortable clothing for rafting which will dry soon as there is no changing facility near the river bank and you have to come back to your stay in wet clothes. Avoid jeans.
  7. If you are planning to do rappelling, better to carry a pair of shoes. It is difficult to do rappelling in strap sandals.
  8. It is a good idea to carry a mosquito repellant like Odomos.
  9. Also do not forget to carry your dancing playlist in a pendrive for the campfire!
  10. You can cover the Doodhsagar railway trek in the same trip if you leave early morning for the trek and plan your return by the evening 4 PM train.


  1. Nice blog...http://gkbh.blogspot.in/I hope my blog helps u to explore more of this district...

  2. Excellent Post! Rejoice life during holidays through Dandeli Resorts; located in Uttara Kannada, Karnataka state.