Forests, Rocks & River Rafting – A Weekend In Dandeli & Gokarna (Part 1)

“Travel makes one modest. You realise what a tiny place you occupy in this world.”
Gustave Flaubert

This is a two-post travelogue about a weekend in Dandeli and Gokarna, both situated in Karnataka, India.

Specifically speaking, it is about a Saturday in Dandeli and a Sunday night in Gokarna after leaving from Bengaluru on a Friday evening.

Now I know there are 2 kinds of readers interested in this post.

(1) People who want only photographs
(2) People who want photographs with the whole story of the travelogue

This post caters to both categories (1) and (2).

Category (1) can glance through all the photographs only following below.

Category (2) can read the story of the travel/descriptions that follow the photographs.

I will structure this post in the following way:

  1. Quick Facts (Distances, Routes & Budgets) – This has a lot of numbers. If you are not interested in this, skip directly to point 2.
  2. Day 0 – Departure From Bengaluru, Things You Will Need
  3. Day 1 – Dandeli
    (a) Sunrise Commute Through The Dandeli Forests
    (b) Supa Dam
    (c) Reaching The Resort In Ganeshgudi, Off Dandeli
    (d) Syntheri Rocks
    (e) White Water River Rafting
    (f) Campfire Night & Dinner
  4. Day 2 – Sathoddi Waterfalls & Gokarna Beach
  5. Day 3 – Arrival Back At Bengaluru

So, without any further dilly-dallying, let me begin with point 1.

1. Quick Facts (This has a lot of numbers. If you are not interested in this, skip directly to point 2 next below.)

a) Distances & Activity Times

Day From To Distance Total Time Spent (Including Activity Time)
0 Bengaluru Flycatcher Resort, Ganeshgudi 559 km 12 hours 
1 Flycatcher Resort, Ganeshgudi Syntheri Rocks 32.9 km 3 hours
1 Syntheri Rocks Flycatcher Resort, Ganeshgudi 32.9 km
1 Flycatcher Resort, Ganeshgudi White Water River Rafting 3.1 km 2 hours
1 White Water River Rafting Flycatcher Resort, Ganeshgudi 3.1 km
2 Flycatcher Resort, Ganeshgudi Sathodi Falls 92.3 km 3 hours
2 Sathodi Falls Gokarna Beach 94.6 km 7 hours
2 Gokarna Beach Bengaluru 493 km 12 hours 
Total Distance = 1310.9 km

b) Budget Per Person 

Travel Budget (Hiring a Tempo Traveller)
Total Distance 1,310.9 km
Price/km Rs 15
Total Price Rs 19,663.5
Driver Bata (Charges) Rs 350/night
Total Driver Bata (Charges) Rs 1,050
Total Travel Expense Rs 20,713
Total Travel Expense Per Person Rs 1,883.04
Activity Budget
Rafting Rs 1,200
Syntheri Rocks Rs 10
Beach Expenses Rs 100
Food (3 meals) on Day 2 Rs 300
Total Price Rs 1,610
Summing Up Budget
Travel Per Person Rs 1,883.04
Stay Per Person Rs 1,500
Activites Per Person Rs 1,610
Total Budget Per Person  Rs 5,000 or $ 75 (approx)

2. Day 0 – Departure From Bengaluru

a) Mode Of Travel

We hired a tempo traveler (TT) which could seat 12 people excluding the driver.

We were 11 in number excluding the driver.

For more details on the driver charges, refer ‘Quick Facts’ above.

This was a TT with A/C system and a special discotheque-like lighting. This suited us since we wanted to have a dance or two on the way.

Still From Star Wars? Not Really – Our Very Own Discotheque Van
Disco Bowl. A light assortment that blinks alternately to give you a discotheque feel.
As The Sun Sets In Bengaluru On Friday, Our Weekend In Dandeli Rises
Devegowda Petrol Bunk Flyover.jpg
Sunset Twilight Over Devegowda Petrol Bunk Flyover

We picked each one of us up and had left Bengaluru City For Dandeli by 9:00pm.

The route followed was as below:

Bengaluru City -> Tumkuru -> Sira -> Davanagere -> Ranebennur -> Haveri -> Dandeli/Ganeshgudi

A Google Map View Of Bengaluru To Dandeli Via The Shortest Route

We had good dinner at one of the highway-side ‘Dhabas’.

Be pretty selective about which Dhaba you go to – not every one seems very welcoming for everyone.

Our Home On The Road – The Tempo Traveler

b) Things You Will Need For The Trip

-> Clothes for a 2 day, 1 night stay
-> Extra clothes specially for river rafting and waterfalls – you will get wet head to toe
-> First Aid kit is preferable, the waterfalls are tricky to manoeuvre
-> Sweater – it does get pretty cold in the early mornings
-> Lot of change – tollbooths charge very nominal fees meaning 500s won’t work
-> Power Banks – this is obvious, isn’t it?
-> A good camera – DSLR is not a necessity, any good camera would do, it could even be a phone camera like mine. All captures here are taken from my phone camera.

Our Jukebox:
-> Closer, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, The Humma Song, Hymn For The Weekend, Don’t Let Me Down, Mukkabala, and every other recent hit in the English, Hindi and Kannada music industry.

3. Day 1 – Everything Dandeli!

This will be further broken down to provide better clarity.

a) Sunrise Commute Through The Dandeli Forests

Upon waking up after a night’s travel, we were greeted by this view:

“There Was Never Any Night That Could Defeat Sunrise” – Bern Williams
Life Is Getting Up An Hour Early To Live An Hour More

The phone camera was kept kissing the road below. Observe how the road slowly curves down and then to the left in the backdrop.

Now the air here was so chilly and pure – it felt like we were on top a hilltop.

The greenery and trees around emanated pure oxygen and so the air seemed so very fresh and pure.

Sharing more captures below of the beauty of an empty road winding through forests…

Nature In A Blur At 100 Km/H
“Roads were made for journeys, not destinations.” – Confucius
The Road Ahead Is Long, But It Is Worth It
Needle In Haystack? No Time To Look At The Haystack, Leave Alone The Needle In It.
Tree Barks – Morning Business In The Forests, Perhaps?
Ashes From A Forest Fire? Or Manually Burnt To Avoid Road Hindrance?
Forests Are The Air Conditioners To The World
Forests Are To The World What A Juice Filter Is To Fruit Juice – They Cleanse

The next series of 4 photographs show the cover of the road ahead by fog.

Truly spectacular.

25% Road Ahead Covered
50% Road Ahead Covered
75% Road Ahead Covered
Almost 100% Of The Road Ahead Covered By Fog

b) Supa Dam

On the way to Flycatcher Resort (where we were to be put up), Karwar Road, Ganeshgudi, you would observe a dam.

This is the Supa Dam of Karnataka.

Height 101 m 
Opened 1987
Construction Started 1974
Impound  Kali River
Supa Dam, Karnataka

Now the next few pictures will show what seems like the tributary of the Kali River that is the impound for the Supa Dam.

Let us play the game as played above with the foggy road, except, we will go the reverse way this time – from 100% covered by fog to completely uncovered.

River Completely Covered By Fog
River Partially Covered By Fog
Kali River Without Fog Cover

c) Reaching The Resort In Ganeshgudi, Off Dandeli

We were to stay in Flycatcher Resorts, which is technically not in Dandeli.

It is off Dandeli, in Karwar Road, Ganeshgudi.

Upon nearing Dandeli, be watchful of many checkposts where you will find a lot of sign boards of resorts and diverging roads. Get down and ask for directions to reach Ganeshgudi if you are looking to go to Flycatcher Resort (I personally recommend it, more details about the resort later below).

En-route to Dandeli, you will have to take a sharp right diversion at one of the check-posts to reach Ganeshgudi, so be careful not to miss it.

Let me clear something about the two places.

Dandeli – Pure forest area with caves (caused due to volcanic activity), naturally formed rock clusters, waterfalls, white water rafting, dam, etc.

Ganeshgudi – Pure forest area which is primarily famous for birding and safari.

Dandeli and Ganeshgudi are roughly 30 km apart. 

All of the sight-seeing spots are at least 15-20 km  away from any resort, so it does take some time to reach each spot.

The captures below show the various pics of the resort.

Flycatcher Resort – Situated In Karwar Road, Ganeshgudi

Jackfruit Or The Jack Among Fruits.jpg

Jackfruit Or The Jack Among Fruits
Jackfruit Or The Jack Among All Fruits?
Tent And Hangout Spots At The Resort – The Hangout Perfect For a Morning Cup Of Tea
The Home For The Campfire Night – The Humble Tent Can Serve Four People Who Can Sleep Comfortably. No Charge Points Here – Get Your Power Bank!
Interiors Of The Tent – A Comfortable Stay
Backside Of The Resort – Leads Into The Wilderness
View From A Hammock
Hammocks, Hammocks Everywhere!

d) Syntheri Rocks

What are they?

These are naturally formed vertical rocks that shoot around 100 metre (300 hundred feet) upward. The composition of this massive rock is many different rock types, which are described below with pictures.

Below the Syntheri Rocks, flows what seems like a tributary of the aforementioned Kali River (which powers the Supa Hydro-Electric Dam shown in the captures above).

Both the Rocks and the small tributary of the river combine in a heavenly way to form a stunning gorge/ravine!

Syntheri Rocks
Tributary Of The Kali River?

Now these two combine to give way to a wonderful gorge, shown by the pics following below.

Interesting point – the Syntheri Rocks look like ‘The Wall’ as mentioned in the Game Of Thrones. Or am I the only one who feels so? Raise your hands if you do too – actually never mind.

And So, Syntheri Rocks And The Tributary Combine To Form This Raw Beauty!
The Wall As In A Game Of Thrones Comes Out Alive!
Shiva Linga Among The Waterfalls – Try Finding It!
100 Metre High Cliff!
Bee Hives Galore
From Whence We Came
Rocky Road!
Beyond The Wall – I Mean Rocks (Game Of Thrones Fans Will Understand)
Water, Water Everywhere, Not A Drop To Drink?
A Porch In The Lap Of Nature

Now the captures below provide some of the composition of the natural rock formation.


Composition 2 – Phyllite
Composition 3 – Quartz Porphyry

Now a word of caution/advice.

DO NOT get down in the water. This water has claimed 11 lives – the rocks are pretty slippery with moss, I almost slipped myself clicking these pictures. The tributary river is not exactly fast moving, but it seems very unfriendly – there is a feel of loneliness about it.

e) White Water River Rafting

This is an experience of a lifetime.

This is the whole point of getting to Dandeli.

The Rapid!
Rafting Type Length Number of Rapids Time Required
Long  9 km 9 90 minutes
Medium  6 km 6 60 minutes
Short  3 km  3 30 minutes

What are Rapids?

They are nothing but rapid ‘drops’ in the river. The water gushes down here, making it difficult to manouevre the raft. The raft shakes heavily, and everyone on the raft is advised to duck down when crossing a rapid. It is real fun.

We went for the medium rafting. Talk to your resort owner, he will arrange the rafting for you. Else, you could also Google for the rafting organized by the State Government.

The guide will accompany you and guide you very well.

The First Rapid!
The Second Rapid!
The Smooth River – Temporarily At Least!

Whatever you do at Dandeli, do not miss River Rafting – a heavenly experience of a lifetime!

That is it for this post.

Part 2 will cover all the remaining activities/experiences. I will pickup from where I left off here. River rafting was done around 5pm in the evening on Saturday.

So part 2 will feature:

-> Campfire Night
-> Sathodi Waterfalls
-> Gokarna Beach
-> Miscellaneous Beauty

Also featured will be links to 4 videos:

  1. Video of waterfalls
  2. Video of drive through the foggy forests
  3. Video of the Gokarna beach
  4. Video of night drive along the state highway

Stay tuned.

Until then, best to say:

“The world is a book. And the people who don’t travel, read only one page.”
– Augustine of Hippo




Add yours →

  1. Cool! The places are very picturesque and the stay looks so warming and comfortable. Love the way the tents we put and the cozy look of the tea tables. A must visit place I guess. Now I really envy you 🙂

  2. I bet you have not put down your pen the whole trip! Even while white water rafting! Got carried away…. Very well narrated! Expecting the second part soon!

  3. Hey ! I love how systematic your blogs are on travel ! It’s got everything one needs to know ! Love your work ..!

    • Hello Gunjan.

      Thank you for the encouragement!

      Yes, I make sure I structure each travel post in two ways: (a) As a story so it will interesting to read & (b) As a guide for fellow travelers

      In fact, all my posts have a certain structure. I blog about my experiences & opinions. Opinions range from current affairs to technology. Do have a look.

      Thanks and keep visiting for more!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: