Shades of blue and green

Last Updated : 27 August 2012, 15:16 IST
Last Updated : 27 August 2012, 15:16 IST

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 Kanchikallu Gudda is a hillock in the forest range of Gund, not far 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,writes B V Prakash.

During my forays into the jungles of the Western Ghats in and around Dandeli, I’ve often gone on many treks and trails leading to some excitingly beautiful and virtually untouched locales.

These trails and destinations are hardly known, which is why the area has still remained virgin. With the Kali river flowing through a large part of Uttara Kannada district, the forests here are teeming with wildlife. The monsoon only makes the region more picturesque. The undulating topography of the Ghats has meant that there are many high points and valleys with endless views of rivers, lakes and dense forested areas.

Most of the jungle trails here snake through the wooded country and culminate at a waterfall, lake or a viewpoint.

Kanchikallu Gudda is a hillock in the forest range of Gund, not far from Dandeli. The hill top here offers a fabulous view of the blue and wide Kali river down in the valley surrounded by chains of hills with a blanket of green. It is not very difficult to trek through seven kilometres to reach the Gudda.

But its location within the sanctuary makes it mandatory to get a clearance from the Forest Department before you can set foot here. Armed with a permit, I set to Chinchkand forest rest house in Gund range of Dandeli wildlife sanctuary.

The 30-odd km journey from Dandeli to Gund had enough to capture my interest. Sleepy towns, primitive temples and tribal populace. At Chinchkand, arrangements for my stay and the trek had been taken care of, thanks to the DCF at Dandeli and  the local RFO.  A forest guard waited at Gund to take me to the rest house three kilometres into the forest.

The Chinchkand forest rest house is in the middle of thick jungles and though it surprisingly has electricity, the rest house seems to blend well with the surroundings. A cook and few watchers usually dwell here. Mahadev, one of the watchers here suggested that the trek to Kanchikallu Gudda is better done in the afternoon because the mornings are covered with mist. Also, evenings would be more appropriate for photographing the valley.

Wandering around for a while, looking for birds or an unexpected sighting of wildlife, two watchers and I hit the trail by afternoon. As the road passed through verdant jungles with absolutely no soul around, it was a peaceful and soothing experience. No big game could be sighted but we were lucky enough to glimpse an eagle and a flame backed woodpecker. Half an hour later, we reached a little hamlet called Yaramukha with a couple of houses and a temple.

The road forked and the trail went further into the woods. The motorable road gave way to a narrow path and the forests thickened. Walking on a bed of fallen leaves and twigs for about five kilometres, we reached the destination. Arriving at the edge of the hillock, it was hard to believe that we were standing at a very high point. The sheer drop of the rock onto the valley floor is unnerving. But the view is stupendous. Down below, the river Kali courses gracefully.

The whole valley is guarded by a ring of mountains. The hills are covered with lush green foliage. It is truly a heaven for wildlife. The view point, being at the edge of a hill, is barricaded with railings. A shelter with benches has been erected here to enable the visitors to relax. Spending a few blissful moments gazing at the view,  we retreated slowly to the rest house by dusk.

Getting there

Gund is 35 km from Dandeli (about 450 km from Bangalore). It can be reached via Potoli Cross on the way to Joida. An occasional bus plies between Dandeli and Gund. Chinchkand is three kilometres from Gund. For a trek to Kanchikallu Gudda and a stay at the rest house there, prior permission from the Forest Department is a must.

Published 27 August 2012, 15:16 IST

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