Travelogue Dandeli-Murudeshwara

Photo of Travelogue Dandeli-Murudeshwara 1/1 by Shruthi

If you love to travel and you have crazy friends up and ready for trip then you are sure to make some beautiful memories and awesome Kodak moments in life.

The plan to visit Dandeli came out of the blue. I was googling ( well, searching in Google) for places to visit in Karanataka and this beautiful photo came up and I just wanted to go there. I bugged my friends for a few days till they had no choice but to agree for the trip.

Never having planned a trip by ourselves, we had no clue how and where to start. I hope this note would be useful for others like us with a strating trouble.

Like all amateurs , we tried to go for package trips but soon found that they are way too expensive and less efficient than self planned ones. And hence the planning and searching began.

The 1 st step was finalising the number of people and the mode of transportation. We decided on a tempo traveller as it would give us more privacy and flexibility for travel. We got it for 13/km and 200rs/ day driver bata ( that's the allowance amount paid to the driver for his daily expense). For people like me, who know nothing about traveler rates;I'll tell you this, this was a good deal. The standard rate is 15-16/ km for an ac traveller in Bangalore(at that time).worried how to get a traveller? Ask around! Your office cab drivers or any travel agency person that you may know will definitely be able to help. Now we needed more the saying goes..the more the merrier! So we irritated and bullied some of our mutual friends and their friends to join in.

Simple math here; more people = more heads to divide the expense by! Now for a place to stay, once again Google came to the rescue. We got the details of Jungle camp resort, called there and booked 4 rooms(for 9 people). We had 3 days in hand so we decided to start exploring other places we could visit on the way. Finally we decided to club Dandeli, trek to doodhsagar waterfalls, syntheri rocks and to go scuba diving at Murudeshwara. Murudeshwara is one of the few places in inland India which has waters clear enough for snorkelling and scuba diving. But the funny thing is that it has no publicity and hence I am not sure how many people know of this option. A dive costs 3.5-5k ( excluding photo charges) depending on the number of people interested to dive from your group. There are 2 popular agencies who conduct driving trips; dive goa and dreams. We found that dive goa had better reviews and went ahead and booked a dive with them. Ashwini, whom we contacted for booking the dive was very friendly and helpful and she helped us get a booking at RNS hotel at Murudeshwara.

We reached Dandeli after getting lost a number or times. The jungle camp, where we had decided to stay, was amidst a lot of trees and greenery. The rooms were neat; nothing luxurious, the food was decent and we had a nice camp fire with monkeys visiting occasionally. We went for a short river rafting and kayaking trip and a natural jacuzzi bath ( awesome experience!)at an extra cost. Early next morning we left for a jungle safari which was included in the stay package and spotted some beautiful animals in the wild ( photographer's delight). We even caught a glimpse of a tiger and the guide excitedly informed us that this was the 1st time in years that a tiger was spotted. At the jungle camp, we were informed by the manger there that a trek to doodhsagar would be a waste of time as the waterfall wouldn't be as mejestic as it would be after the rains (we had gone in February). So we changed our plan and decided to vist the sathodi falls as adviced by jungle camp manager. On the way we visited syntheri rocks which a very beautiful place with a small river cutting across massive rocks. The place is full of honeybees and the rocks are yellow with honeybee droppings so you might want to mind your cloths if you decide to sit and relax on the rocks.

Day 2

The sathodi falls is again a real beauty. The road that leads to the falls is a muddy one but vehicles are allowed down till a point after which we have to climb down some steps and then climb over a lot of rocks to reach and play in the beautiful falls.

The beautiful Sathodi falls

Photo of Sathodi Falls, Balagar, Karnataka, India by Shruthi

Next stop was Gokarna. Though we missed the sunset, we did enjoy a stroll in the beach before we set off to RNS hotel in Murudeshwara.

The diving day was the one we were most excited about. After filling up some forms about our health condition, we were taking on a boat equipped with the diving gear and snacks, to this clear area in the sea which is near Netrani islands. For the dive, each one is strapped with weights, the heavier ones with heavier wights; then the oxygen cylinders and eye gear (covering the nose) are fastened. A tube connected to the cylinder helps the diver to breath through mouth underwater. Once everything is in place, a diver has to sit on the edge of the boat with his back to the sea, place his hand over the eye gear and waist and is either pushed (as in my case) or can lean back and flip over into the sea. From there the diving instructor takes over. The divers are given some time to practise breathing through the mouth and are also taught the signs to communicate under water before being taken down to enjoy the dive. Tough it is uncomfortable, the experience and view is breath taking. A word of caution to people with breathing trouble: you might want to practice breathing through your mouth for a longer time before proceeding to go for the dive.

And thus we successfully completed our 1st self planned trip and it was one of the most wonderful experiences ever!