Castle Rock Calling
Hello there! I am Castle Rock, writing to you from the tropical forests of Western Ghats. I hear my neighbors in Karnataka are sending postcards to people during the lockdown, so I wanted to chime in too. Have you heard about me? If you trekked from my historic station to the majestic Dudhsagar falls in Goa, then my name might ring a bell. I don’t see a lot of people doing that these days. Maybe the government has restricted it. I am a hidden hamlet perched at a height of 2040 ft in the Dandeli Reserve forest of Karnataka.
For a long time, I was the frontier between British-ruled India and Portuguese-ruled Goa. You can still see traces of the old meter-gauge tracks that the British laid on me. Those were some busy times. All the customs and immigration used to happen right here. After India’s independence, I was free to retreat to my laid-back life. I was declared protected under the Dandeli Tiger Reserve so that my flora and fauna are safe. The horror stories of tigers still haunt my villagers, but the big cats have receded into the depths of the jungle now. I don’t mind the tigers, they have been here for so long. But sometimes at night, my heart skips a beat at the sound of guns. Illegal poachers keep intruding. But you need not worry about them. When you come to me, you will be staying in the home-stay in the village area.
You will be enthralled by the simple elegance of nature here. There are no commercial touristy activities here. Paragliding, boating, none of that. You can stroll in the scenic trails, wake up to the chirping of birds, watch the butterflies and try taking pictures of the Malabar squirrel. They are the naughty ones. They will run away the moment you are going to click their picture. Let me tell you about what else you can do here.
Stay in an eco-resort
Disconnect from the city life and stay in a Doodhsagar Jungle Resort. Or enjoy the thrill of glamping at Off-the-grid-londa. There are many places where you can enjoy eco-tourism without giving up on the luxuries.
See the Castle–like tunnel
Why am I named Castle Rock? There are no castles here, let me tell you. But there is an old tunnel that looks like a castle in ruins. There are many beautiful tunnels here. People often take pictures on the railway tracks. I understand the lure of it but it’s dangerous. Don’t risk your lives, just enjoy the beauty.
Trek to Dudhsagar Falls
If you stay here you can get join a group trek to Dudhsagar falls. It is closed during monsoons, so check the Goa tourism site before you plan.
Experience India’s first Canopy Walk
I told you that tourism facilities have not developed here. That’s the reason I am still offbeat. But I have a unique adventure in store for you. The Kuveshi Canopy is a bridge hanging 30 ft high that is covered by the thick canopies of Tamarind trees, Silver oaks, teak wood, and other tropical trees. you can get a bird’s-eye view of the enchanting forest from here. Try to spot the varieties of avians – hornbills,lion-tailed macaque, woodpeckers, etc.
Head to Dandeli for more adventures
As I said before, I am just a small picturesque village. For more adventures, you can visit the prime locations of Dandeli Tiger Reserve. You can go on safari, enjoy water sports and stay in jungle resorts.
Head to Goa?
Most city people may like to stay with me for a couple of days. After that, they will itch to go back to the modern world. Don’t worry, you have Dandeli on the east and Goa on the west. If you are planning a longer vacation you can easily come and meet me on your trip to Goa or Dandeli.
When should you visit me?
I love the rainfall. It adds an extra sparkle to my forests. But they can easily turn into a heavy monsoon, and that’s not when I’ll suggest you to come here. So avoid the months of July and August. Any other part of the year is perfect for this trip.
Did you like my story? I hope to see you soon once the lock-down is over. Save the post for future reference. If you like my letter, please share it with your friends and family. Remember, Castle Rock is calling you all.
Blogger’s Notes: The picture in the postcard and pin is courtesy Purshi, collected from Wikimedia Commons. The blog is written for the ongoing A2ZBlogging Challenge organised in India by Blogchatter. The post may have affiliate links.