We returned to the resort by 8:30p.m., as it is quite away from the jungle. On the way to the jungle from the resort we also saw a fence, with only five hut like cottages. It turned out to be a relatively new accommodation started in a small way by some local people. If you are only keen on visiting the jungle, it is ideal as it is really close to the jungle.
The dinner consisted of tomato soup, rice, roti, dal, fried cauliflower in cashew gravy, and shahi tukra. There was a bonfire going blazing at one end, and Mr.Satish, one of the waiters, tossed foil wrapped potatoes in the fire. Later, he removed them, cut the potatoes into two to form two cups lined with foil. He sprinkled some chat masala and mish-mashed the potato with a fork and served it to us. I really loved the smoked potatoes - it was a nice starter to go with the wine, which Satish had preserved from his boss' visit the previous day:) Most of the people, I noticed were in big groups. One group was playing Dumb Charades, and though none of the teams could, I guessed the names of the movies though we were quite far....he he! I guess playing on a regular basis with the kids has honed my DC skills:) I was dead tired and retired before the others.Day 2:
P and V and had already decided to go on the morning trail the previous night, and arranged with the staff. Manju woke us up at 4:30 a.m, far earlier than necessary. Piping hot tea and coffee awaited us at the dining area and this time we were bundled with three other people. The driver was a young man, and he drove so furiously that we got to the jungle real fast, and accumulated sheets of mud all over our faces. I could literally hear my bones rattling, and the cold wind stream into my ears. We again stopped at the forest Department's office before we went on.
We saw a serpent eagle this time, and one of the guys who was with us tried to show off with his camera and went closer, making a lot of noise in the process. The eagle was devouring a prey, and had to take off midway through its meal thanks to one nosy human being! It is a code of the jungle, whether you are professional or not, never to disturb the jungle inhabitants. It is their dwelling, and by visiting we are already intruding their space, the least one can do is try not to disturb the birds and animals especially if they are involved in some activity. We saw a few bisons, an Indian Gaur etc. on route no.5 of the trail, which is said to be the best route for sightings. We were then taken to 'Sunset Point'. From this point you can see all the peaks in the area. The way up is all cut up due to mining for manganese(P claims it is iron). The Govt. has since two years, banned any more mining. You can see the remnants of the blast though, and it looks like a scene straight out of 'MacKenna's Gold'
. When we got back to the vehicle, Manju served tea, coffee and sandwiches which he had packed without our knowledge. I particularly liked this gesture from the housekeeping staff - it speaks volumes for their service. We had planned to visit Kavla Caves from there but the mud on our faces made us feel really filthy, so we just returned to the resort for a lazy afternoon. V took a snap of mine in which I actually looked like a langoor, what with black eyes outlined with red dust!
We returned by 12:00p.m., took a nice nap as we were dead tired with the bumpy ride, and disappointed as we did not sight any other living creature. We explored the resort's surrrounding more after we freshened and saw a hornbill at a distance and many many butterflies near the river opposite our cottage. I amused myself by photographing a whole lot of butterflies that evening.
Sometime later at I returned and sat admiring the view, when this domesticated deer made its way up to our cabin. It ran away when I got up!
Another stroll led me back to the river. I sat on a stone bench clicking snaps of the river.....
It was quite late! At about 7 in the evening, we decided to explore some uphill areas! Mr.Kumar and Manju found it a good deviation, and walked along with us. It was a refreshing walk, and we also sighted a couple of nightjars, saw the rock climbing spot, and took in a lot of fresh cool air. We were hungry enough to gorge down the smoked potatoes that Satish prepared in the resort. The ministrone soup that night was really good but I can't say the same about the main course. The calorific shahi tukra was yummy!
V again wanted to take a third chance the next day (incidentally our last day of stay) just in case the jaguars he had been told of decided to honor us by granting us a glimpse the next day! The same thing happened the following morning. We woke up early had our packed breakfast set, and this time we had made a special request saying we wanted a vehicle to just us, and Babajaan as the driver! We did not see any animals!Note:
The reason we did not get any sighting was that there had been some unseasonal showers, which filled the waterbodies in the jungle itself, so animals did not need to get out! During the months of May and June, usually the jungle is dry, which means that animals have to stray out of their habitat to look for water which could also be the reason why you get to see them! Please keep the weather in mind when you plan your visit!
We did see these birds, but then the moorhens pay visits to my backyard
all the time!
Babajaan took us all over route no.5 and 1, and after a disappointing ride we decided to go to the only other place that was left to be seen - Kalva Caves! This is a little interior, and you have to complete a 5 to 6km trek before you reach the caves. See it for yourselves here:
We saw many interesting things like the pug marks of elephants, bisons, a fox etc. The long trek to and fro made us tired. We saw a few peacocks during our stay, but disappointed that the season had turned out dry! That afternoon we checked out at 12:30p.m. for Belgaum. That and more about my exploring Bangalore will come in a few days! Do leave comments if you come here and read this part of my travel! I always love hearing from you people! You make my day, and writing more fun:)Tips:
According to Manju and Babajaan the best periods to visit Dandeli is between November to February, especially for sighting birds! By mid-june animals dwindle as these rains receive light showers and the monsoon starts setting in. Please plan your visit accordingly to make the most of it!
Mr.Kumar had queried about the vehicle we traveled in - it was an alto, and the drive was smooth all the way!Activities:
The resort offers rock climbing and we are told by Manju and Kumar that they are good at this, but it doesn't look as though they have any professional help at hand. Please consider this as the trip is for relaxation. I prefer adventure sport at closer quarters!!