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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This trek was greatly motivated by the article published in Deccan Herald written by  traveller and photographer Mr. Prakash B V. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/274573/shades-blue-green.html
This article provided me sufficient fuel  in constant search of wilderness.
The Place:
Kanchikallu Gudda is a hillock in the forest range of Gund, 30 KMs from Dandeli. The hilltop offers a fabulous view of the blue and wide Kali river surrounded by chains of hills with a blanket of green. These trails and destinations are hardly known, which is why the area has still remained virgin. With the Kali river flowing through alarge part of Uttara Kannada district, the forests here are teeming with wildlife. It is not very difficult to trek through seven kilometres to reach the Gudda.
Anshi National Park has the distinction of being the only national park in Asia where Black Panther can be seen in its natural habitat. For animal lovers who wish to seek adventure amidst dense forests, scenic beauty and some rare species of birds and animals, Anshi National Park is the perfect place to be. The rich flora and fauna of the place, the steep climbs and the rugged terrain make it an ideal adventure destination for trekking lovers.
trek-route-dandeli-anshiTrekking Trails around Dandeli and Anshi Forest

Team: Omendra Singh Rathore, Pratap Sikdar, Pawan Nayak, Aravind Kumar, Sunil Kumar, Ravindra M, Praveen Sharma, Pradeep H, Srinivasa, Honne Gowda MN, Usha Maradi and Priyanka Ahuja
Trek Distance: 60+kms
Wanderers - 3 day trek to Dandeli - Anshi evergreen forests. I am not sure where to start, but here i am back at my desk after one of the best trekking experiences till date. While i scribble this, i am still lost in the marvel of evergreen forests, and that elusive black beast that offered us a very brief sight of its majesty.
Day 0: We started our 3 day trek when we boarded our TT on friday 11/01/2012. The vehicle was as usual no-luxury and jammpacked one. I had reached there well in advance, and saw Pratap making few calls, and then the whole team started building up as we hit close to our departure time with the exception of Omen(Omendra as was fondly called by few pals) and Priyanka.
Day 1 - 12/01/2013: The journey was pretty quick, though it was close to 500 km by road. Making new friends and exchanging previous trek experiences burned the night, and we reached Dandeli Bus stand by 7:30 - 8 AM.
After finishing morning ablations at the Bus stand facility, we had our breakfast and packed lunch and headed our way to get the permission and other paper works done at the forest office in Dandeli. I chanced upon a notice pinned in the forest office of a latest tiger sighting in an adjoining forest range. This added to our eagerness and we could no longer wait to head into the jungle.
01Forest office – Dandeli National Park 
2 Trees cut down and kept infront of Dandeli forest office are used as raw material for manufacturing paper, that we waste day to day basis
The birdlife in the Dandeli National Park is spectacular. The park is home to the rare HornBill commonly sighted along the southwest range but now restricted to pockets of the Dandeli and Kerala portions of western ghats. 
1We saw countless HornBills feasting on a tree filled with fruits.
It was instinctive for many to put their cameras at work.After finishing off all the phone calls for Kanchikallu Gudda and collecting the accommodation receipts for the Anshi Nature Camp we left for Gund (the trek start point for Kanchikallu Gudda), 32 kms from Dandeli.
At Gund forest office after finishing all paper works we started our trek to Kanchikallu Gudda.
03About to start the trek to Kanchikallu Gudda
4
We were escorted by one of the guards, named Avinash and in no moment we were pursuing the trail to KanchiKallu hilltop  view point.
5It was thick forest we were getting into
As we leaped some distance, some of us were disappointed to be treading along a jeep trail and not an unknown one.
6Kanchikallu Gudda view point
We reached the view point and then pestered Avinash to venture down the hill cutting through the thick flora. The actual trek starts from here and this very small and steep descent takes you down hill to the Kali river, surrounded by thick forest. Initially Avinash was not confident enough to take us. But he called his colleagues in the Gund forest office for help and soon one of his colleagues arrived with one local guy name Veerbhadra.
7Breath taking view from Kanchikallu Gudda view point
8Veerbhadra guided us from Kanchikallu gudda view point to Kali river base.
9It was a steep descent on loose rocks and soil
10We were sliding
12 (2)It was a spellbinding beauty and we were in densely forested, unspoiled mountains.
To satiate our desire to encounter the rich fauna, we spotted animal droppings all along. The Forest guard along with the local guide added their knowledge to identify the animal droppings. We were excited to know the leopards or panthers or even tigers had lingered around not so long ago near the water body.
13Pugmark of black Panther
Only serious trekkers gravitate to these parts where trekking trails delve into thick evergreen forests, a canopied world of filtered light and dappled greens. After a brief descent, we reached the shores of back waters. We were in the midst of thick Evergreen vegetation. It felt heaven to be there devoid of any civilization around. As more and more people get the opportunity to experience public lands, these precious places increasingly face certain challenges that come with tourism – including overdevelopment, commercialization and pollution, i just wished a million times that the grandeur of these lands will remain untarnished for years to come.
14
16It was lunch time and we started unpacking our lunch.
17In the end we heeded to our temptation and dived in
While the pristine waters  strongly tempted us to dive in, some of us feared crocs or some other unexpected. In the end we heeded to our temptation and dived in. It was pretty deep and we had couple of laps. We enjoyed the water and food that we had packed in.
We started our way up the hill, It was a steep ascent. the steepness was pretty much a challenge to some of us who had been  away from trekking for a while.
18And we were back atop
We spent some time atop the hill capturing the beauty of the valley downhill. It seemed like a green heaven. We trekked around 12 kms. We were waiting for the vehicle and as soon as the vehicle arrived we left for Anshi Nature camp.
We reached Anshi Evergreen camps in the evening. This was our home for the next 2 days.The camp organises nature walks and treks and has trail maps and information about the park. We had varied suppositions about the place as it was run by the state govt. But contrastingly, the place was decently maintained. The dormitory was tidy and the beds were neatly made. We all freshened up in chilling cold water and headed to the dining area. The place was also visited by families, so we had to wait to satiate our taste buds.
19In front of Anshi Nature camp @ 10 PM – it was surrounded by pitch dark and the forest coverage
20Inside the dormitory of Anshi Nature Camp, preparing to retire for the day
The food was delicious and tasted home-cooked. It was sumptuous and we all happily dined. Pratap briefed the day-2 plan and we got a local guide on board, named Nagesh. We had some fun moments back in the dorm. While some of us engaged in sports talks, Priyanka meditated. In no time we were snoring our night away. Some of us had a hard time sleeping amid snoring bodies. But perhaps the tiredness worked in our favor to get that much needed sleep for a much awaited day-2.
To Others who would plan to visit this place sometime, This is a real beauty spot: enjoy serene views of the untamed woodland.
Day 2 – 12/01/2013: We were waiting for the moment to begin the journey. After finishing the breakfast we were all ready to start the day. We were waiting for our guide Nagesh to arrive.
21A cute cat
23Some gaming options
24A tented cottage in Anshi National Park
25And Nagesh arrived…we were all set to march
26Entering Anshi forest to start the trek
We were entering the thick forest. The landscapes surrounding us was  so spectacular that in many cases they would need little camera trickery. We penetrated into seemingly inaccessible jungle, as our local guide Nagesh lead the way. We trekked along with minor bruises and itches as we cut through the bushes/plants. 
27An awesome stream on the way
28  And we crossed the stream
29We were lost in awe of the vegetation around the stream.
30And we continued the journey through thick forest of Anshi range
32Soon we reached a village inside the Jungle called Matgaon – one hut village
31

33We took a short break for photography session
33a   Our guide Nagesh in an photographic pose
33b  After walking for 20 minutes we reached one more village named Devarmane, but could not see any houses other than firm land
34Soon we had to cross on thick bush
35After a while we found ourselves on the bank of another stream simply awesome
36We filled our bottles and had a short break and moved on.
37After trekking for another 20 minutes we reached a naturally build dam called Vakki dam
38We spent some amazing moments taking photographs and hopping around.
39Vakki dam view
And we continued trekking through the green woods. It was mid day. We could realize how hot it would been out. But inside the deep woods it was awesome cool, cant describe in words.
40After trekking for another one and half hour we reached here and took a short break.
41And moved ahead
It was getting hot and everyone was getting hungry.
DSC04381After a non stop trekking of 2 hours we reached a small stream and finished our lunch and took a quick nap before we continued
44After finishing lunch we trekked for one hour and reached a view point called Kadra Dam view point
Nagesh told us we have to descend and reach kadra dam to end the trek. We spent some time taking photographs and enjoying beauty of the place. It was a superb view. Thick green vegetation spread across was the main attraction of this place. It was a pristine superb place with virgin beauty.
From Kadra view point we started climbing down. It was very steep descent through dense forest. There was no trails and bushed by thorny plants. As Nagesh told we were the first to descend through that route in 2013. Holding trees or sitting and sliding somehow we managed to reach the forest floor.
45And soon we reached another stream, the last stream of the day.
The day was long and as the dawn approached, we were speeding up to exit the jungles before any leopards or panthers feasted on us.
46We finally made our way out by 6 PM onto the tar road, name of the village Maradihalla
As soon as we reached the exit point, everybody was excited to pose for photographs and in the process some of us were attacked by wild ants. After walking for a while on the tar road we reached the bridge of Kadra dam. We halted here waiting for the vehicle.
47It was dusk when we reached at Kadra dam
It was calm and green.
50We conquered around 30kms through thick forest of Anshi National park
We had some photo shots and our vehicle reached  to take us back. We were completely exhausted and while many indulged in their cameras, few of us luckily had our sight pinned ahead. It was then that a black creature caught our sight. Perhaps it was an overgrown cat lying on the road for some warmth(As Arvind thought..), but as we approached, it started moving. Some of us who had this rare glimpse of Black Panther exulted in joy, and others missed it. It was a few seconds before it vanished into the darkness.
We were in complete awe of what we had just witnessed. It was magical and made our day worth.
We reached our base camp and were treated with a sumptuous food again retired for the day.
Day 3 – 13/01/2013: Here we are on the final day. A relaxed day but with trek plan of course. All were charged.
50aThe morning, we started with roaming around the nature camp. This is just behind the camp
51
Yet again, we started early after having a delicious breakfast. This day we planned to return for lunch. So the day was essentially short and we headed into the woods led by Nagesh.
53aThe trek begun walking on the tar road for 3kms from the nature camp
54We started the trek to Nesar Tamba, a 5kms trek one way
But this time we had an unexpected guest in the group. It was a young boy Shashank, the son of our Camp's cook. We were amazed at his stamina to walk miles unstopped with no signs of weakness.
56We reached hill top soon, the Nesar Tamba. It was awesome view from the top

55We rested a while and started downhill.
There was no known trail, so we had to explore one. We finally cut through the thorny bushes and made out. We crossed couple of small villages and human settlements along. All in all, it was a short day, we covered about 10 km by foot.
We returned to our base camp for lunch, and yet again, we had a good lunch after a short dip into the stram near to the camp. Since we returned early, we planned to go for aqua activities at Dandeli. We made few calls and sadly, we could not reach Dandeli for Rafting, as the slot closed an hour before we could make it. However, we indulged in some other sports such as Kayaking and a relaxing jacuzzi. Jacuzzi was a boon on us after a tiring 3 days, it drained all our pains away. The natural formations created a good currents and we were back again with renewed energy and stamina. Kayaking was fun too, we experimented and did some group kayaking. We made sure to enjoy every moment of the final few hours of our outing.
Back Home:
We packed in our cab and bid good bye to Dandeli. We left with some good memories and some new friends as always. This trip was made special by that 3 sec glimpse of Panther, and we all will remember this one for years to come.
Photo links:
https://plus.google.com/photos/111915967281990131797/albums/5833642487707229009?authkey=CJyP0faEwb6kJA
http://www.zoomin.com/Album/3477982?utm_source=album_btn&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Share%2Ban%20Album
https://picasaweb.google.com/117144221978749494916/KanchikalluGuddaAnshiForestTrek
Write up: Praveen and Pratap
Photographs: Usha, Pradeep and Pratap

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