April 12th, 2015 by admin

River taxis are run by using seaplanes. First lets see what is a seaplane.

A seaplane is a powered fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are in a subclass called amphibian aircraft.

Source: Wikipedia

Image source: Freehdw.com

Seaplanes are quite popular in the western world for tourism to the remote areas. They are also environmentally sustainable as they do not have any requirement of any airfield to be built. Some of the popular companies which operate sea planes are Harbour Air Seaplanes in Canada, Loch Lomond Seaplanes in Scotland etc.

Back home when I saw the report of Karnataka government’s plan to start sea planes it was like a spark of excitement. For travellers like me it is another adventure of joy. It will be a an experience! But at the same time it will make travel related to tourism much faster and easier. Karnataka has a lot of water bodies which can be aptly used in this purpose. Flying water taxis seems to be a planned collaboration between the tourism department and Major irrigation department of Karnataka.

Now lets take an example.  The distance between Mysore and Coorg is around 107 km and it is covered in around 2 – 2.5 hrs. If a seaplane takes off from KRS dam reservoir and lands on Harangi dam reservior, the same can be covered within 30 minutes of flying. The report says Harangi, Kabini, Thungabhadra, Alamatti and Narayanapura (Basava Sagara) reservoirs are on the list. Also, if amphibian planes are deployed which can land both on land and water then tourism related air travel to Bangalore and Mysore can also be introduced. Planes can take off from KRS dam reservoir and land at Jakkur airstrip or HAL airport. This has the potential to promote air tourism and help people who want to save time while travelling to Mysore.

The government is preparing a project report and looks like atleast 2 years away if the plan is approved. They are also talking about river cruise but I doubt the viability of river cruise in Karnataka. Rivers here are quite shallow and changes depth quite frequently. The hilly rivers are more suited for rafting than a cruise.

Karnataka’s plan of water taxi is not the first of its kind in India. As neighboring Maharashtra has such a service run by Mehair. As of now Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Pvt Ltd (Mehair), has service from Mumbai’s Juhu airport to Aamby Valley, Shiridi and Lonavala. One can book the service by visiting http://hummingbird-ind.in/. At present the cost seems to be little prohibitive. Mostly people will go for experience and adventure. But if they can rationalize the pricing by attracting move passengers then this would open a new exciting mode of travel and tourism.

May 12th, 2014 by admin

On my recent visit to Dandeli, I stayed at Jungle Camp. Along with natural settings, it has given me some wonderful experiences. One of them was taste of the Cashew fruit. The property has a lot of Cashew plants. Sagar, one of the work personal there suggested me to try a Cashew fruit. He said it is tasty and also to be careful as its secretion could cling to the shirt. He brought one ripe Cashew fruit for me. I had heard of Cashew fruit before and also know that it is used to make one alcoholic drink called Feni. In the Indian state of Goa Feni is quite popular and is largely made there.

So this was my first chance to taste the Cashew fruit and I went for it. It is little sweet tangy and citrus in taste. Yes, I liked it. Also, I found it is one of the favourite food of the monkeys and squirrels there. Jungle Camp gave me a feeling of Cashew plantation site. Along with a number of Cashew plants, one can see a large number of Cashew fruits lying on the ground.

To view more pictures of Dandeli, visit Travelingbeats Photo Gallery.

May 8th, 2014 by admin

Syntheri Rocks is a 300 ft tall monolithic granite rock. These rock formations are influenced by geographical events like erosion. It is located around 25 km from Dandeli town and takes around 30 minutes. It is located inside reserved forest (Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary), so one needs permission to enter there. Forest officials are stationed there, so just inform them.

Entry fee: No fees
Timings: 9 am to 6 pm
Food: No food or drinks available. Do carry water.

Syntheri rocks got the name after an English women called Cynthia. The rocks around forms a beautiful ravine where river Kaneri (a tributary of river Kali) flows eloquently. One has to climb down around half a kilometer to reach the stream. On the way you could see various kind of rocks which are found in this area. During day time particularly in Summer its hot. It is advisable to use sunscreen lotion, hat, cap or other precautions.

At the base of the ravine, river Kanneri forms a small cascading falls (if I may say so). The rocks around the stream has a distinct marked yellow colour and it has a smell as well. I noticed some items floating all over the river which were similar to the yellow layer over the rocks nearby. My hunch is, these items precipitate on the rocks when the water level recede and results in the yellow layer on the rocks near the stream.

Syntheri Rock vibrate with life. A large number of pigeons have made the hallows in the rock their home. Also, a large number of beehives could also be seen hugging the face of the rock. I have also noticed a few other variety of birds as well. Walk around and enjoy your time there.

Caution: Do not get into water, the rocks beneath are very slippery. Also, avoid temptation to swim there. A Karnataka forest board says Swimming is Fatal there.

May 5th, 2014 by admin

Kadumane is a homestay set in a natural settings in Dandeli (Karnataka, India). I visited there in the morning on the 2nd day of my visit to Dandeli. The subject of my visit was a Bee interactive session organized by Narashima Bhat, the owner of Kadumane. I was very excited about it as I had never head of something like interaction with Bees.

On reaching Kadumane, we were greeted with a glass of herbal tea. Meanwhile Narashima asked people from his homestay to join and the bee interaction started. In an open space we were led to a blue box. He started with a brief background on Joida taluk in which Dandeli is located. Uttara Kannda district which includes both Joida and Dandeli, has the largest forest cover (76.2 % courtesy FSI) in Karnataka. Uttara Kannada district also has the second largest dam in Karnataka, called Supa dam. Built on River Kali, this dam produces a bulk of Karnataka’s electricity needs. But electricity supply here is erratic.

A list of forest cover district wise for the India state of Karnataka:

Then he talked about interesting natural history of bees. He told bees are very important for nature to continue. As a large percentage of flowering plant’s pollination is done by bees. If their numbers are affected then it could affect the natural process. But unfortunately that seems be the case now. Due to increase in mobile phone density and mobile phone towers, its wavelength are effecting Bees and their numbers have started to show a decline in nature. Bees are a social insect and has a complex social hierarchy. Then he went on to tap the box twice, indicating to the Bees that the box would be opened. He said this is a courtesy like knocking on one’s door before entering. Meanwhile, he advised everyone to stand still and not to be scared.

He opened the box and took out a tray. The beehive did not developed fully in there. He moved in closer and kissed the bees. Some interesting information he shared on Bees:

  • There could be only one queen bee in a bee hive.
  • Queen bee is always guarded by the soldier bees.
  • Worker bees extract honey only from those flowers instructed by queen bee.
  • Soldier bees attack only when ordered by queen bee.
  • Bees are intelligent insect and are capable of attacking selectively if they can identify the culprit. In this regard he told a story about a boy who had snapped a bee hive and was attacked by bees leaving others.
  • Worker bees are females who are non productive sexually
  • Drones are male bees whose sole work is to mate with the queen. Once they successfully mate, they die.
  • Lifespan of worker bees are in between 2 – 4 months.
  • Life span of queen bee is 3 – 5 years.
  • To collect a drop of honey more than 500 flight to a flower is required
  • Before the queen bee dies, it goes to the forest and brings an essence. It sprays this essence on a normal egg which after hatching becomes a queen bee. So this essence decides who will be the queen bee and her elongated life. Scientist are desperate to find the substance involved which they believe can also increase human lifespan.
  • Bee bites are now taken as a therapy. It is said that they help in prevention of asthma. In fact in developed countries people pay for bee bites as therapy.

During the interactive session I did move to take pictures from close quarters but the bees dint felt disturbed. I think when we are around insects or animal, if we respect their space and maintain a discipline they will not be angry. After the session I moved around the home stay field where the tents were located. Took a close look of the tent, which looked good and comfortable.

If you want to visit Kadumane for a stay or bee interactive session call Narashima Bhat at: 094800 85707.

Website: http://www.dandelikadumane.com

On the contrary, if you are looking for complete package of Dandeli, contact Dandeli.com

May 1st, 2014 by admin

I was ready to skip visit to Supa Dam as there was news that there is not much water in reservoir. But on the second day of my stay at Dandeli, my guide Mahesh told he would give me a quick peek view of Supa Dam backwaters. We did not go to Supa Dam but he took on an embankment which was created to keep the backwaters away from flooding the villages in Dandeli. At that point water had receded a great distance and some tourists walked down on the popped up land to the backwater shore.

Mahesh told an interesting story then. That his grandfather had worked on this embankment. He was a Tamilian and his family originally hails from Salem in Tamil Nadu. They are now settled in Dandeli. He speaks fluent Hindi & Kannada. This story marks a true picture of the multi – ethnic Dandeli.

For records, Supa dam is the second largest dam in Karnataka. Built in river Kali, the dam is 101 meters high and 322 meters long concrete gravity dam. It has a catchment area of 1057 square km and a storage capacity of 145 tmcft. At the foot of the dam there are two turbines which generate 50 mega watt electricity each. Annually they generate 542 million units of electricity. The power house started functioning from 1985.

April 27th, 2014 by admin

Last week Saturday morning I landed at Dandeli on a VRL bus from Bangalore. I had heard about Dandeli as a tourist destination but this was my first visit there. It is a small town and its population is heavily dependent on the West Coast Paper Mill for their livelihood. It is located in the Uttara Kannada (North Canara) district of Karnataka, India. North Canara district has a unique distinction of having 90 percent forest land.

Most of the lodging facilities are located little away from the town center. So a car had to pick me up from near KSRTC bus stand. The destination was Jungle Camp where I was supposed to stay. The early morning drive to Jungle Camp crossing river Kali and amidst of forest was very refreshing. The accommodation at Jungle Camp is very basic and given that it is located inside a reserved forest, much tinkering with its structure is not allowed. Nevertheless it is clean and filled with nature. Unless you are too demanding on luxury, I recommend this place.

After breakfast, headed to Syntheri rocks with some other members at the camp. It took around 3 hours time and we were back to Jungle Camp for lunch by 1 pm. It was a hot sunny day. Even though Dandeli is located on a decent elevation and in a forested area, it is pretty hot during summer. After lunch, I went to my room with nature walk in mind at 4 pm. I slightly dozed of but the heavy drops of rain on the tin roof woke me up. I lazily opened the door and went outside. It was bliss! I whispered – Dandeli loves me. The heavy dose rain along with strong cool breeze brought back nature around Jungle Camp to life. I made a small basic video trying to capture that moment.

Watch it!

Though my planned nature walk got washed away but I am not complaining.

As dusk proceeded, the true rawness of nature at Jungle Camp came to fore. The chirping of frogs, cricket and other insects became prominent. But Jungle Camp also adds little bit of glamour to evenings there by lighting camp fire. One can spend some fun time around the camp fire with some chilled beer. I created a small video to capture the night life at Jungle Camp.

Watch it

More coming soon on the second day rafting adventure.

For enquires on Dandeli resorts and tour packages you can check on Dandeli.com. They do a pretty good service.

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