Naturalist, Photographer, Traveller, Trekker, Wildlife and Bird enthusiast... well, these are just some of the many adjectives that describe my honorable guest blogger for today - Santosh BS, from Huchchara Santhe. A self confessed 'Jungle Man', he appropriately spends most of his weekends at lakes, zoos, hills, bird watching sessions or any forest patch in and around Bangalore that he can lay his foot on looking out for those elusive birds or other obscure creatures and introduces them to all through his crisp write-ups and breathtaking photography. It is a real pleasure to have him with us today, sharing one such spot he explored recently. To read more of such beautiful places, do check out his blog.
On my recent trip to Dandeli in the Western Ghats, we finally made time to visit 'Syntheri Rocks' – a geologist’s place and a tourist spot.
A monolithic single granite stone with a height of 300ft with the river Kaneri flowing at its base, it’s a huge, massive limestone rock formed due to volcanic eruptions some zillion (how many is your wild guess!) years ago. It is named after an English lady called Ms. Cinthera who is believed to have discovered this place in the 20th century. A flight of 200 odd steps downwards lead you to the base where the river flows and you get to see a giant rock formation from the bottom.
There are numerous caves within and its not accessible hitherto you have special permission from the department to study and explore which is very unlikely.
It’s tall, wide and mesmerizing to say the least, wonder how they were created! Added to this there are numerous and numerous bee hives here and flocks of pigeons and smaller birds reside in the deep holes of the caves unseen to us. Being a tourist centre has its own disadvantages and as Syntheri Rocks is located close to the temple town of Ulavi, hordes of people visit this place on their way to and fro from Ulavi. When the annual fest (or jathre as we call it) happens at Ulavi, this place literally becomes a picnicker’s paradise with people and vehicles everywhere messing it up completely, sad but true is the case, as with other tourist spots.
But, the forest department is doing its bit in maintaining this place by putting up warning signboards and posting guards to not allow people getting into the river as the flow is heavy and with strong currents pose a threat.
The entrance to the area is from the main road with a nominal entry fees charged and the smaller vehicles are let into up to the designated parking area from where you need to climb down the steps to reach the base. The distance from the entry to the parking lot is easily more than a km and its midst of bamboo plantations, some old, some new and here is where you get the forest feel. Wish entry of vehicles is completely banned inside so that people walk from the entrance leaving their polluting vehicles outside which may deter in few people not visiting due to the walking...
The steps are big and nicely placed and railings on each side do not allow you to wander. Along the side, small concrete towers are erected and on each tower you get to see different kinds of sample rocks cemented with useful information provided on each of them as to what they are and what they constitute of – a true geologist’s paradise. But sad to see the sorry state of affairs of the towers – some of them missing, some with moss growth and some defaced. I would love to see some more boards depicting the importance of this place and providing more information to the visitors. Still, the place exudes a charm that’s successful in hordes of people visiting here and this place is similar to Yana and Kavala caves.
We were quite pleased to have visited this place that often went unvisited on our multiple trips to areas around Dandeli.
Location: Dandeli-Ulavi highway.
Distance: 30 odd kms from Dandeli.
Transport: Local jeeps on hire/sharing are the best bet.
Time: 9am to 6pm if I’m not wrong (forgot to confirm this)!