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|Our modes of transport in Goa|
Back To The Jungle
Tadoba was a dream trip for all of us. So, we (I, Hrishikesh and Mustafa) teamed up again two and half months later to visit another jungle. This time The Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary.
Mustafa came up with idea of creating a amateur documentary on the tribes of Dandeli. He had heard about them when he visited Dandeli for the first time some 5 years ago. As per the information he got, these tribal are deliberately keeping themselves away from the civilized world because they don't want to get civilized (or corrupted?). Skeptical whether they would like someone from outside world to film them, I said yes to the plan hesitantly and Hrishikesh joined in. We knew that Dandeli was also home of many animals including Tigers and a dense forest. It is famous for it's river Kali and rafting in her turbulent flow. So, if no tribes, we still had lots of things to do at Dandeli.
We would start our journey from Pune towards Dharwad on 17 August Friday night. Mustafa already had booked tickets of NWKSRTC A/C sleeper bus. I came directly from office with all my luggage to Swargate where Hrishikesh and a friend of his - Rohit met us. Rohit was native of Dharwad and he was also interested to see Dandeli with us. After spending time asking about the bus at extremely chaotic Swargate bus stand, we came to know that KSRTC buses don't enter the bus stand and we should wait at the Satara road end of the bus stand. The bus came on time at 10 PM. It was cozy and clean. The bus conductor was well behaving and knew both Marathi and Kannada very well.
After about 30 minutes it left Pune. We slept after chit-chatting to wake up at Dharwad early in the next morning.
Rohit knew the place inside out. After we left the bus at around 6.30AM, he led us to bus stand where we waited for about 20 mins before we got a state transport bus to Dandeli. We used the time in between to go to toilet which I found okay but much better than the the one at Swargate. Rohit left for his home to meet his parents, he would join us again after a while.
It took around 2-3 hours from Dharwad to reach Dandeli. We asked rates for a room in State Lodge in front of the bus stand. Mustafa already had queried about the fares and booked us a room while we were still in Pune. But the trick was not to disclose his identity till we see the room and match rent for one night in person. So, it matched and the room was also clean with three beds.. perfect. In Rs. 500 per night, we got 3 clean beds, two towels, a bottle of water, TV, attached bathroom with solar heated water. So, you see there are certain advantages of visiting a place in off-season.
We checked for the activities available like jungle hike and water sports around. To our disappointment we came to know that because it's rainy season, Jungle hike and water rafting was not available. The best season for that was October-January. We decided to book a jeep from a forest activity organizer Mr. Rathod which would take us on Jungle ride and also to a resort where we can do kayaking. The ride costed us Rs.1400. When we mentioned to Mr.Rathod that we were from Pune, he suggested that the best river rafting we could get was near Pune in Tamhini ghat.
|Kayaking is not as easy as it seems.|
Mustafa was saying there were also other kind of tribes which were the black slaves brought from Africa by the Goan Portuguese sailors. Somehow they escaped from their captivity and chose to live their natural way in the forest. Fascinating. Well, there was no way we could ever spot someone from that clan wondering around the forest.
You know the stories in which they say that the forest was so dense that not even a single ray of sunlight could touch the ground? Dandeli is that forest for sure. We left the hope of spotting any animal in such a dense jungle . Guessing that there is not much to do in next two days in Dandeli we started planning for another adventure- The Doodhsagar falls.
Planning For The Unthinkable.
We stopped to have tea at a teashop near a village where the shop owner and his wife was kind enough to ask about us. They informed us that we could use our rest of two days to visit Doodhsagar. They gave us directions how to go there. I could not thank them enough for their precise information. From the below description you can imagine how lucky we were that things happened exactly as we had expected.
They suggested to start early in the next morning and follow the plan-
1. We would go to Londha train junction which was about 2 hours of journey from Dandeli by boarding the 6.45AM state transport bus from Dandeli bus stand.
2. From Londha we should board train towards Goa.
3. The train should drop us to Castle Rock station.
4. We should take a goods train (by requesting the driver) which would drop us to Doodhsagar.
5. From Doodhsagar at around 3 pm we should board another goods train to go to Culem (A station near Goa-Karnataka border) where we could get either a bus or passenger train for Vasco (Goa).
Boarding a goods train by request? The planned seemed impossible.
We came back to Dandeli after almost 5 hours. I was so tired that the hotel bed felt like heaven. Later after dinner we strolled near in the city bus stand. Also got information from the bus stand for our next destination. We Slept late though we knew that we had to get up early.
|Leaving from the Castle Rock Station|
Early in the morning we paid our bill and caught the 6.45 bus. Reached Londha as per plan, got the Goa train as per plan. The only change was, we didn't leave the train at Castle Rock. The same train took us to Doodhsagar. There were many tourists just like us in the train. Though there was no station near Doodhsagar, the train stopped and they let the tourists get off the train.
Londha to Doodhsagar was a scenic journey with a dense jungle and hills at one side and valley at the other. There were at least 20 tunnels of 200-300 meters of length. Doodhsagar was awesome. I could capture the iconic train in heaven pictures.
The bridge of Doodhsagar is a not less than a miracle. You cannot help but to bow to the engineers and architects who dreamed and completed the project. The bridge is fantastically built at the edge of cliff and designed so firm to hold the weight of trains carrying tonnes of weight when water is pouring from all the sides. I don't know exactly when it was built but it seems from the structure that it must have been built in the British-raj era.
We had tea and muffins there at the local stall and started our journey towards Salem which we thought would take 1-2 hours of walk. That was my idea to walk towards the station instead of sitting duck waiting for the next goods train. After we walked for about more than 1 hour along the railway track towards Goa, we reached at the Sonolium station at around 2.30 PM. We were tired and was running low on drinking water. I found a small waterfall and filled one of the bottle just in case we couldn't get any clean drinking water in rest of the journey. It proved a sensible thing as after some time we did have to drink that seemingly clean water which might have contained numerous bacterium. But as they tell on Discovery channel, it's better to drink the dirty water than to take chance with dehydration.
The Goods Train
|The goods train which took us from Sonolium to Culem|
Towards The Land Of Sun and Sand
|View from Agvada fort.|
It wasn't easy to get rooms on the long weekend in Colangute. We managed to get a room which was not better than the one at Dandeli but was twice as costly as it. At the dinner we had chicken curry and some fenny with it. The aroma of fenny was incredible. It was all over the place as the waiter brought it to our table. We reviewed our day and planned for the next. I called that we would get up early in the morning so that we can play/swim in the tides and could return back early to check out. This would give us entire day to see the north Goa without paying extra room charges for the day.
After spending more than 2 hours in the water, we came to our room and prepared ourselves for the next part. Mustafa called a cab so that we can see most of the places around. We spent our day traveling around beaches of north Goa. In the evening, before taking ST bus back home we went for the famous Panjim cruise safari. It was a nice experience.
_*_1. The exact dialogue-
Sheldon: Actually, he might have to. There’s an economic concept known as a positional good in which an object is only valued by the possessor because it’s not possessed by others. The term was coined in 1976 by economist Fred Hirsch to replace the more colloquial, but less precise neener-neener.
2. By the time I finished this post, the order has been revoked and reserves are open again for tourists.
3. This part may sound boring and this post has been holding up my next ones. So, wrapping it up.