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Badami to Dandeli

More steps to be taken

semi-overcast 23 °C
View Indian Caves and Temples Tour 2011 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Badami - the last of the cave temples on this trip! Yippie! There are four cave temples here, all hewn out of sand stone in the late 6th and 7th centuries on the precipice of a hill. The four cave temples represent the secular nature of rulers then, with tolerance and a religious following that inclines towards Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

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These were nowhere as commercialised as the others we have been to on this trip, but they were quite special. 236 steps up, and the same number down again, before driving across the small town, along some pretty interesting narrow lanes to one of the oldest temples in the region, Malegiti Shivalaya which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is constructed out of stone on the summit of a rocky hill within the ruins of a huge fort. The 7th century fort encompasses a large granary, an underground chamber which must have served as a treasury or private audience hall, double fortification walls and many other architectural marvels. The 326 steps to the top snaked their way thrown steep, narrow gorges not unlike the siq at Petra. This place was truly magical and quickly became one of the main highlights of the trip for me. There was something so peaceful, mystical and adventurous about this place, with the deep chasms and crevices, fantastic views over the town with the sound of the dhobi wallahs (washer ladies) hitting the laundry against the steps of the water tank carrying all the way to the top.

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After 562 steps in the Indian heat, I was glad to sit down for a few hours in the air-conditioned car for the drive to Dandeli. Once we'd reached Dandeli town, it was a matter of finding our resort. Many other places advertised their resorts on huge posters along the side of the road, but not ours. If in doubt, ask someone. Then someone else. Then turn around and travel 30 kms in the opposite direction down winding country roads flanked both sides by hectares of teak forest, interspersed by huge fields of sugar cane. Finally we see the sign for Hornbill River Resort, and turn off the main road down a dirt track until we find the accommodation, spread over a gentle slope down towards the Kali River. Our room is the one nearest the river, perched some 30 feet up a tree! A large room overhanging the water, open to the elements (with pull down mosquito blinds), overlooking the rapids. Having a pre-dinner drink of local Indian rum, we sit and watch the hornbills soar over the river as dusk falls. Heaven.

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I did wonder if taking a night time jungle walk after two large rums was a good idea, but perhaps it gave me the extra confidence to walk along paths where I may otherwise have been concerned about taking steps not being able to see where I was placing my feet. The jungle was very dark and very quiet, save for the noise of the nocturnal animals. I didn't expect to see many large animals – although bison and barking deer do come here during the rainy season – but we did see some flying squirrels, various insects, spiders and lizards. On leaving the forest for the clearing, the guide carefully picked the leeches off our shoes and clothing.

I didn't expect the temperature to drop quite so dramatically at night – it must have been around 8 C overnight. We'd left the mosquito blinds up, so were open to the elements on one side overlooking the river. The two resident dogs keep any monkeys away, so all you have to worry about in the night is various insects. We did hear a gecko barking, but we never did see him. A couple of flying squirrels scuttled across our roof, and a spider and various other small insects dropped by in the night, but we saw surprisingly few mosquitoes.

Posted by Grete Howard 08:45 Archived in India

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please detailed the lodge fairs and fecilities and adresses

by bennysuresh

This is the resort we stayed at bennysuresh:

http://hornbillriverresort.com/

by Grete Howard

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