Dandeli is a fascinating and adventurous city situated on the Western Ghats in Uttarakhand popular for its lush dense deciduous forests, deep valleys, wildlife sanctuaries, bird watching, water sports, river side fishing, trekking on hilly terrains, mountain biking, night camps and scenic beauty. It is a mélange of astounding nature and exhilarating adventure that allures vacationers, making it a top tourist destination.
The best season to visit Dandeli is between October to May when the climate is pleasant for the water and other activities and also to spot the animals. Monsoons is best avoided due to heavy rainfalls making it unsuitable to enjoy the spots.
1.Kavala Caves - The exotic limestone Kavala caves is visited by tourists and especially by devotees of Lord Shiva to see an incredible creation of shivlinga formed by the volcanic activities. The cave is adorned with stalactites and stalagmites and to visit the inner sanctum one has to descend down 375 steps and carry a torch as the cave is pitch dark.
Timings: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Daily.
2.Shiroli Peak – The highest peak in the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, it offers a glorious view of the Western ghat’s Sahyadri range, picturesque sunset and is a good route for trekking as well. An ideal spot for nature and adventure seekers.
3.River Kali – River Kali offers a myriad of water activities, attracting majority of the adventure enthusiasts to Dandeli. Mercurial in nature, it caters to the excitement for both amateurs and professionals. White water rafting in Kali river is an enthralling experience of rafting through grade 2, 3 and 4 rapids over a 9 kilometer run under the supervision of an expert. Besides rafting, kayaking and canoeing are other activities that one can indulge in. Coracle boat riding, a saucer-shaped ‘boat’ made of bamboo and tanned buffalo hide is a beguiling experience to watch crocodiles in the water, and hornbills hovering in the sky. Moonlight boating is another activity for nature lovers to ride at night with night vision binoculars to see the nocturnal animals in the surrounding jungle which is home to deers and boars amongst others.
4.Kayaking - Kayaking activities are conducted in the Supa reservoir, which is a man-made reservoir that spreads over a huge area surrounded by teak plantations. There are small islets in between where one can camp in absolute privacy since the entire area is uninhabited.
5.Canyoning- Canyoning is a variant form of rappelling conducted in the Sathkonda Canyon near Dandeli. A challenging activity, it is the current rage and an adrenaline pumping experience of rappelling down steep rocks under the gushing waterfall (safety harness attached) using a combination of jumping, abseiling and natural water slides.
6.Rappelling - Climb the steepest rocky cliffs of Sahyadri mountains and careen down suspended on a rope. A thrilling activity conducted under the supervision of an expert, it is a must.
7.Wildlife Sanctuary – In an area of 834.16 sq km, it is second largest wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka and was declared as one in 1956. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary offers a plethora of excitement for nature lovers and adventurers:
8.Flora - The entire forest area is covered with thick vegetation punctuated with bamboo and teak plants.
9.Fauna- Visitors are likely to spot tigers, leopards, sloth bears, Malabar giant squirrels, barking deers, elephants, bisons, black panthers, Indian pangolin, Indian jackal, etc.
10.Birds – A haven for bird watchers, it is a thrill to see pied hornbills, bar winged flycatcher shrikes, crested serpent eagle, pompadour green pigeons, kingfisher, woodpecker, cuckoo, blue headed ground thrush, yellow browed bulbuls and many more.
11.Jungle Safari and Trekking – Explore the vast sanctuary in an open jeep safari, trekking on foot or mountain biking and feel the rush of spotting the wildlife amidst the lush green forest.
12.Camping – Indulge in overnight and outdoor camping for a different experience. Sync with nature as you camp at the banks of river Kali under the stars and with a spectacular view of the resident birds hovering in the sky.
An ideal retreat for an exciting adventure packed holiday amidst lush evergreen nature.
Flight: The nearest airport is Belgaum Airport, Karnataka about a distance of 90 km. A cab can be hired from there directly to Dandeli.
Train: The closest station is Alnaver railway station at a distance of 35 km. A cab can be hired from there directly to Dandeli
Road: Dandeli is well connected to major cities of India and several private and state buses ply to to the city. Private car and taxi can also be hired.
A local legend states that the city is named after Dandelappa, a local deity, a servant of the Mirashi landlords, who lost his life because of his loyalty. An alternative legend states that a king named Dandakanayaka passed through the forests and named them after himself, and the city is believed to stand on the place where Dandakaranya stood when he named the area.