This was my 2nd attempt in going to this place about which I had heard lots of interesting stuff. Though rafting is the main attraction here, you can comfortably spend 2 days and you would still feel that you are running short of time to do few activities !!
Must do activities in Dandeli - Rafting, Kayaking, Coracle with Jaccuzi, Rapelling and River crossing.
Though there are lots of attractive resorts in Dandeli, I would prefer Stanleys farm house anyday not coz its cheap but because of their hospitality !
After a dozen round of interaction with Imam (the coordinator in Stanley farm), we finally fixed our plan. From my basic research in net I was informed that the minimum number for rafting is 6 so we formed a gang of 6 comprising of Alex, Johnson, Reji, Jacob, Punnoose and myself. We booked Jan 1st and 2nd.
Finally the day arrived...31st Dec 2010 - After the evening mass in church (New yr service), we rushed to the railway station to board the Rani chinnamma express.
We reached Alnawar on Jan 1st by bout 7am. From there we had to reach Dandeli by bus (Had to change bus at a stop called Haliyaal). On reaching Dandeli we spotted a Cruiser awaiting us ! Without wasting any time, we got into the cruiser, grabbed few necessary things from the nearby shops (coz there are no shops near the farmhouse) and reached the farmhouse by bout 8am. Imam was there at the entrance to greet us ! After a brief discussion, we charted the plan for the 2 days.
As per our plan, we freshened up, had breakfast and started off with a not-so-interesting activity called Croc trail. We considered this as a warm up. Mohammad bhai took us in his cruiser to some place where they tame crocodiles !! An old guide there explained the lifestyle of those crocodiles. It was more of a national geographic session. They even threw some meat into the water to demonstrate how starving crocodiles crave for flesh !
By about 12 pm we scooted from the croc park and reached Stanley farm. Post lunch it was rafting that was scheduled. We were all thrilled and excited as it was a 1st hand exp for all of us ! Though we had to wait for bout an hr after reaching the spot, it was playback time once the lifejackets were over us. We were divided into groups and our captain was a guy called Shankar. We all got into the raft and Shankar started off with basics. The total distance to be covered was 9.5km and there were 8 rapids. The 1st being the biggest (Grade 2.5). Rest of the rapids of grade 2 and each of these rapids had some wierd names like leopard hole, Adis beard, etc.
Once we were done with rafting, we returned to our farmhouse and freshed up. Campfire was arranged for us which we didnt attend coz 2 of us had a severe headache and rest were better off chatting among themselves rather than spending the night around the fire.Night stay was arranged in tents.
The next day we had to wake up at 5 in the morning for the morning trek to Cavala caves. Reji and Jacob dropped out coz of their shoulder pain. The remaining 4 of us got into the Jeep at 5:30 am. We could barely talk coz it was extremely cold outside ! Cavala caves was nearly 50kms away from Stanleys farm. After reaching there we had to trek for 3 kms and then get down 40 steps to reach the caves.. We had to literally crawl inside the caves to see a natural shivalinga. It was a bit disappointing coz we felt we deserved something better after 3kms of treking and getting down 400 steps. The return trek to our jeep made us feel even worse. The upcoming activities like kayaking, rapelling etc inspired us to reach the jeep faster !! By 11 am we were back to Stanleys farm.
After a late breakfast we were all set for Rapelling.Though rapelling sounded very exciting, we didnt feel all that great after getting to the spot. They made us wait for nearly 1.5hrs and we realized that our rapelling session would be further delayed by half an hr. So we decided to skip rapelling and moved on to Coracle ride with Jaccuzi and Kayaking.
We were 1st offered Kayaking. Alex had initially scared us that Kayaking isn't easy. But once we started it, we realized that there couldn't be anything more pleasant ! Though our hands were busy at work, our mind was completely relaxed. The guide accompanied us in his boat and kept clicking our pics !
Once we were done with Kayaking, the coracle was ready to take us to the other side of the river. This was another session of hognekkal falls. Pretty similar but much better. We spent nearly half an hr in the jaccuzi bath and then realized that it was time to leave else we wouldnt reach office on time the next morning. So we rushed to Stanleys farm, packed our bags, settled our accounts with Imam and Stanley, clicked few pics with them and then headed towards Dandeli bus stand. This was the end of our exciting and adventurous trip. The best new yr celebration that we ever had !
Suggestion to all those who are planning a trip to Dandeli - Stanleys farm would be the best choice ! The total amount that we spent for this trip was just Rs.3800 per head which includes transport to and fro from Blore ! What we need to note here is that Rs.3500 is the tariff for just food and accomodation in most of the resorts ! We couldnt ask for better hospitality from them !!
Contact no for Stanley farm house : 9448331729