Saturday, July 25, 2015

Birding In Western Ghats (Dandeli WLS, Karnataka) - 29th Oct to 1st Nov, 2015

Every Dandeli trip has always been special, be it Black Panther sighting or mix-hunting parties or dust bath of Malabar Pied Hornbills or exciting night trails... Dandeli is always thrilling.... take a glimpse of how the birding here is from an excellent article published in jetwings magazine

Nature India announces the eagerly awaited, ever green Dandeli trip. Date: 29th October, 2015 morning 8.00 am to 1st November, 2015 eve 8.00 pm (travel dates excluded). The bookings for Dandeli WLS bird-watching trip are on… your seats now (to know complete details of the trip please read till the end)..... Bird-watch in one of bird-rich Western Ghat hot spot with Nature India


Early in the morning, if you are awaken by the “Chakoo Chakoo” calls of the Grey nightjar just a few feet away and you come out to stretch your legs, you see Malabar parakeets creating a raucous, a racquet tailed drongo whizzing past as if followed by a pair of bumble bees, an Indian lorikeet saluting you in its typical upside down “Bat” like posture, a pair of Fairy Blue bird greeting you with its melodious call or a party of Brown-cheeked fulvettas passing over your head…..then, in reality you are in Kulgi Nature Camp situated in Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka…..

Dandeli has always been hot favorite with Nature India, simply because, an inveritable paradise for forest birds, this sanctuary is respected for its variety and abundance of birdlife. The Dandeli Wildlife sanctuary is spread over 834.16 and is the second largest in Karnataka, contiguous with the Bhagwan Mahaveer sanctuary in Goa. This Sanctuary abounds with a richness of Flora and Fauna. Its richness and diversity offers ample opportunities to nature lovers to enjoy the captivating landscape. The sanctuary is generally undulating with steep slopes, picturesque deep river valleys and rich hilly forest terrain. The breathtaking valleys, regal looking meandering rivers and the splendid scenic beauty of the syntheri rock make it an awe inspiring experience. The forest in Dandeli is typical moist deciduous and semi evergreen types, with pockets of evergreen trees.

The myriad streams that flow through this sanctuary empty in the mighty Kali river and its tributaries, Kaneri and Nagazhari that offers one of the most breathtaking white water rapids in south India. The forest is home to numerous plants, mammals, reptiles, insects, butterflies and is especially rich in birds with plenty of western ghat endemics……

The town has got a curious history behind its name. There is a strong belief that the city is named as "Dandeli" after Dandelappa, a loyal servant of the Mirashi landlords who lost his life because of his loyalty. Even today we can find people worshiping him in the temples, which memories his existence.

Some of the bird star attractions to be found in Dandeli sanctuary include Indian Lorikeet & Malabar Parakeets; Malabar Pied, Malabar grey and Indian Pied Hornbills; Hill Myna; Blue-bearded & Chestnut headed bee-eaters; Ruby-throated & Yellow-browed Bulbul; Fairy Blue Bird; Velvet-fronted & Chestnut-bellied Nuthatches; Little Spiderhunter; Black-throated and White-backed Munias; Dark-fronted Babblers; Heartspotted, White-bellied and Brown-capped Pigmy woodpeckers; Malabar Trogon; Ceylon Frogmouth; Brown Fish, Mottled wood, Spot-bellied and Brown Wood Owl; Crested Gowshawk; Speckeld Piculet; Gold-fronted & Blue-winged Leafbirds etc etc…..

Nature India announces an exclusive Bird-watching trip to this birding paradise - Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary from 29th Oct to 01st Nov’15 ……

Some of the areas that will be covered during this trip are as follows:

1) Kulgi Nature Camp environs: The area surrounding this beautiful camp abounds in bird activity early in the morning. The campus itself provide Brown-cheeked fulvettas, Malabar Parakeets, Grey and Indian Nightjars, Vernal hanging parakeets, Racquet-tailed Drongos, White-cheeked and coppersmith barbets, leaf warblers, White-rumped Shama and many more……

The Camp site consists of about 10 fully furnished tents (Basic & Deluxe) and also about 10 newly built Wood-houses, a small museum, a large dormitory, a dinning hall surrounded on all sides by wilderness. A newly constructed Nature information center has added value to this wonderful place. The food prepared by the local cook is mouth-watering and is particularly favorite amongst the visitors.

2) Ganeshgudi: This small village on the outskirts of Supa Dam about 24 kms from Kulgi boosts of huge congregations of Malabar Pied Hornbills and it is an experience to watch these magnificent birds when they come here to roost in the evening on the huge trees along the banks of Kali river.

This area also has an abundant birdlife and offers sure sightings of Malabar Pied and Malabar grey hornbills, Fairy Blue Birds, White-bellied Blue-flycatchers, Malabar White-bellied woodpeckers, Chestnut-headed bee-eaters etc.

3) Dandeli Timber Depot: If you want to see the Malabar Gaint Squirells and Hill Mynas, then this is the place. The depot is situated close to the Dandeli forest office and easily accessible by road. The birds come here for evening roost and is particularly favorite amongst the bird photographers for the opportunity it gives. The Kali river that passes by also adds Grey headed fishing eagle if you are lucky.

4) Shirali Village: There is an abandoned mine just adjacent to the road that passes this village. On the other side of this mine are many tall trees that form the edge of the forest. It is here that I may have seen more than 120 species of birds in the 5-6 times that we visited. You have to just sit and relax on the road side and keep your eyes open. You may come across Chestnut-headed & Blue-bearded bee-eaters, Ruby-throated & Black Bulbuls, Pompodour green pigeons, White-rumped and Brown-backed Needletails, Crimson-fronted & White-cheeked Barbets, Malabar & Plum-headed Parakeets, Speckled piculet and a vast variety……It is amazing how a forest clearing produces a myriad of species.

5) Bomanahalli Intke: “Intke” means dam and we go for birding along the periphery of the back waters of this dam. It is a nice place to see some water birds including Grey-headed Fish Eagle and Osprey sometimes. This area is also surrounded by good forest and if you come across any “mixed hunting party” then it’s a huge lottery (Usually it’s a win-win situation) …… a good place to see Blue-tailed and Small Green bee-eaters, Rufous and Flameback woodpeckers, Common Ioras, Shamas, Orange and Small minivets, Booted and Blyth’s reed warblers, Pied flycatcher shrike, various species of Drongos etc….. On the way you can also stop and watch birds along the road for sure sightings of Ashy-wood Swallow and maybe a Red-breasted flycatcher & Forest Wagtail amongst the Bamboo clumps.

6) Sanctuary Safari: There are permissions required to enter the core area of the sanctuary, which can be obtained from Kulgi along with a guide. Private vehicles are allowed by paying some charges. Not much to see in the sanctuary from a closed jeep and where no one is not allowed to get down from the vehicle, though you may come across (Rarely) Indian Guar, Spotted and Barking Deers.... so it is best recommended to avoid the sanctuary visit and spend the time outside the sanctuary instead.... we generally avoid going inside the sanctuary.

7) Syntheri Rocks: About 20 kms from Kulgi and on the way to Ulvi shrine this place is famous for its monolithic rock formation. The river "Kaneri" passes through the terrain. A good place to watch Black-capped Kingfisher, Large wood-shrike, White-bellied Flycatcher, Blue-bearded bee-eaters, Woodpeckers etc. The flying lizard or “Draco” is found in good nos. here and one looks in awe as they float from one stem to another like a leaf gliding away.

Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is also rich in butterflies, and the star attractions here are the Southern Bird-wing (largest butterfly of India) and Malabar tree Nymph butterflies that flutter and glide effortlessly over the canopy. The flying lizards (Draco) are in good numbers even inside the campus and you should not be shocked to expect a lizard or two gliding over your head or crossing your path, while having your lunch. The reptiles are plentiful too and you should not be surprised if an occasional King Cobra cuts your path.

Have a look at these links to see some trip reports and trip experiences by participants


Trip Details &  Itinerary

Date: 29th October, 2015 morning 8.00 am to 1st November, 2015 eve 8.00 pm

Mode of Travel : Trax Cruiser Jeep (The best travel option to move around the places quickly)

Overnight Volvo buses ply regularly between Mumbai & Dharwad and bookings are easily available and participants have to do their own bookings upto Dharwad .....
  Nature India can only assist in bookings if required.

Rough Tour Itinerary : (Dharwad to Dharwad)

Day 1 - Thursday 29th Oct, 2015 : Pick-up from Dharwad at 8:00 am – Breakfast – Proceed to Kulgi Nature Camp, Dandeli, birding along the way (65 kms)- Lunch - Bird-watching around Kulgi Nature Camp till evening – dinner and Night trail – Overnight stay at KNC (Kulgi Nature Camp).

Day 2 - Friday 30th Oct, 2015 : Early visit “Shirali” village (an abandoned mine area) to see the profusion of forest birds - Lunch - Proceed to Ganeshgudi & Supa Dam area to watch the roosting of Malabar Pied & Malabar grey hornbills while birding along the way - Return to KNC for Dinner and night trail to watch the Flying squirrels.

Day 3 - Saturday 31st Oct, 2015 : - Early morning visit to Syntheri Rocks to see the monolithic rock along with birdwatching – Return to Kulgi Nature Camp for lunch – Birdwatch in Dandeli Timber depot to see the Great Hornbill, Hill Mynas and Gaint Squirrels– return to KNC for dinner and night trail.

Day 4 - Sunday 1st Nov, 2015 : Early visit “Shirali” village (an abandoned mine area) to see the profusion of forest birds and visit to small wetland near KNC - Return to Kulgi Nature Camp for lunch – packup and proceed to Bomanhalli intke for birding – return early and proceed to Dharwad to catch bus at 8 pm.

Trip charges (Dharwad to Dharwad) : Rs.13900/- (Includes Stay in newly built Wood-Houses in Kulgi

Nature Camp on twin sharing basis in non-AC rooms (woodhouses), Local travel by Trax cruiser, Park entry charges, food , Information articles & on board snacks and mineral water)…….

Group Size : 12 persons only

These charges are Dharwad to Dharwad and participants has to make their own travel arrangement upto Dharwad and Back . This does not include any charges other than the above. Regular Volvo buses ply from Mumbai & Pune to Dharvad. 

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmation mail to and by paying non-refundable advance of Rs.8000/- (and only after our registration confirmation by return mail .....) as per the payment guidelines given below…...

Stay Arrangement: Kulgi Nature Camp. These are well furnished, but basic wood-houses. The Stay arrangement is on a twin sharing basis. The Camp Premises and toilets are clean and the food is lip smacking……The camp is situated right inside the forest and offers plenty of Bird-watching inside the campus.

Resource Person: Mr.Adesh Shivkar and Mr. Mandar Khadilkar

Mode of Payment: You can either
1) Courier a cheque in favour of "Adesh Shivkar"of Rs.8000/- to the following address:
Name: Mr. Adesh Shivkar

Address: D-8, The Adi Janata Soc. Behind HP Petrol Pump, Near Sion Signal, Sion-East, Mumbai-400022

2) Transfer the money directly to HDFC A/c (Please email us for the account no.).. please mention your name, date and other details….

Please Note:

1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 8000/- is strictly non-refunadable

2) The seats will be confirmed only against the advance amount on first come basis and after our email confirmation

3) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours

4) There is weak (Mtnl) / no mobile coverage in Dandeli, but an STD booth nearby is available if you need to contact

5) Nest Photography or any collection of specimens is prohibited

6) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with Nature India's rules and policies

Please revert on ID, in case you need any clarification …..

For any other queries we are available on 9869071091 or 9820455713 (Adesh) or 9930318665 or 9967518665(Mandar)

Thanks for your patience.

Looking forward for a very rewarding trip with you all !!

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect and Conserve

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Kaas, Satara (The Plateau of Flowers) 2015 (2 extra Batches) 25th to 27th Sep'15 & 2nd to 4th Oct'15

As usual, this extremely popular trip to Kaas Plateau of Flowers, Satara attracts overwhelming response, hence we are announcing 2 more trips to this destination.

Nature India announces the most popular trip to Kaas Plateau, Satara- The Plateau of Flowers.....There are in all 4 batches ...... 2nd batch from 25th to 27th Sep'15 & 3rd batch from 2nd to 4th Oct'15  .... the bookings are on  (For knowing complete details, like Itinerary, Charges, Logistics etc... you will have to see the details at the end.)


Important Notice: The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has recently included Kaas Plateau of flowers (near Satara, in Maharashtra) in the list of World Natural Heritage sites. However, In recent years the Popularity of Kaas has increased many folds and the increase in numbers of tourists have resulted in a direct or indirect impact on its bio-diversity.  The lack of proper guidelines and limited patrolling by the forest department is causing a tremendous stress to this fragile ecosystem.  Without any proper regulation and control, Kaas has unfortunately turned into a picnic spot, with rowdy tourists plucking and trampling flowers, parking vehicles on the plateau, littering garbage and creating a mess. .... Hence we propose the following guidelines to be followed when visiting Kaas. Please take a note that, those of you who are interested to travel with  Nature India to Kaas Plateau, these guidelines will be implemented and binding on all of us. Kindly register, only if you agree on these guidelines.

Have a look at this blog by our participants in Sept. 2012, to know how we conduct the tour (This was also published in the English daily newspaper "Mumbai Mirror" last year). 

There are some places in Maharashtra, where you will feel blessed. One such place is Kaas Plateau, Satara. This "Out of the world" place deserves to be visited atleast once from 25th Aug to 10th Oct to witness not only the amazing array of wild flowers, but also the serene atmosphere that mesmerizes one's soul.....

Sure, you all must have heard about “Valley of flowers” in Himalayas where hundreds of varieties of wild flowers of all colours bloom in August – September every year….where the valley transforms into no less than a “Heaven” ……hundreds of visitors toil several kms to reach this valley and to experience the bliss.

However, not many know that a similar (though, probably not as majestic as the Himalayan site) place exists in Maharashtra…..its a “Plateau of flowers”….. famously known as “Kaas plateau” situated approx. 25 kms from Satara city and is now also declared by UNESCO as one of the World's Natural heritage site.

The lateritic plateau of Kaas becomes home to millions of tiny flowers in late monsoons. The whole spectacle is beyond words. More than 500 varieties of wild flowers, herbs, orchids, shrubs, insectivorous plants etc. can be seen here in Aug and Sep (Best time is 25th Aug to 10th Oct)…..depending on monsoon. This plateau overlooks the lush evergreen forests that serves as a water catchment area of Koyna Dam and which is recently declared as “Sahyadri Tiger reserve” ……….

In monsoon the whole area transforms into an unbelievable carpets of (Tiny) flowers like yellow carpets of Smithia and Sonki flowers, Pink carpets of Balsam, Purple carpets of Karvi etc….

It is a dream destination not only for avid botanists but also for those who appreciate nature. These carpets change colours almost every week depending on the dominant flowers during that time.

The place is also unique forming a typical "table top" landscape where you can see the red patches of laterite rocks typically called ‘Sadaa’ in Marathi.

Thoseghar Waterfalls:
Thoseghar is situated in Satara District with most enchanting natural surroundings, along with beautiful views of windmills at nearby Chalkewadi. During the Monsoon season Thoseghar is always a prime attraction for the people. Thoseghar is famous for its high Waterfalls that are attractive and create a loud noise in the calm nature. These waterfalls are also accompanied by a clean lake, dark woods and massive hilly terrain. The main waterfall is about 115 mts in height, however, one can only get a glimpse from a distance.

From the parking space, the waterfalls are a few minutes walk, through well wooded countryside. The falls are situated in a steep U shaped valley, with the main falls at the apex of the 'U' and smaller falls on one side of the 'U'. On the other side, a viewing platform has been created for observers to enjoy this wonderful display of nature.

You can see a video clip of this marvelous waterfall.
Bird Life: Though our focus is always on the flowers of Kaas plateau, we wont be missing out on the birdlife which abounds here with some good sightings expected of Crested Buntings, Malabar Crested Larks, Oriental White-eyes, Bonelli’s Eagle. It is a heaven for Macro photography too.

Nature India once again brings you their signature tour of Kaas Plateau, Satara that   is meticulously planned and combines learning, sensitivity and also loads of fun. Our passionate resource persons will make your visit to this amazing place a trip to remember. Please find the details below.

For trip reports by other  Nature India participants, click here.
Complete Trip Details
Though the trip will be focused on watching the flora and to learn more about them, we would also not miss the other fauna such as birds, butterflies and amphibians that are found in plenty there….

Batch 3: 25th Sep, 2015 morning 6.30 am to 27th Sep, 2015 eve 10.00 pm (Friday to Sunday)

Batch 4: 2nd Oct, 2015 morning 6.30 am to 4th Oct, 2015 eve 10.00 pm (Friday to Sunday)

Resource persons: Mr.Adesh Shivkar, Mr.Mandar Khadilkar & Mrs.Sweedle Cerejo-Shivkar

Mode of Travel : By Minibus (27 seater) from Mumbai (considering the extensive travel to cover the area and also the to and fro travel from Hotel to the Plateau everyday)

Rough Itinerary:
1) Friday (Day 1) : Depart for Kaas, Satara from Bandra (E) at 6.30 am…..Breakfast on the way.....reach by around 1.30 pm- Check in Hotel – Lunch – Proceed to experience the grandeur of floral carpets on the plateau.... return by 7 pm...Stay in Hotel Suruban

2) Saturday (Day 2) : Start early morning to the plateau to experience the grandeur of floral carpets on the plateau .... lunch ....  proceed to the Ghat to watch the species that grow on the slopes – return back at 7 pm.... Stay in Hotel Suruban
3) Sunday (Day 3) Start early for a visit Thoseghar Waterfalls to enjoy the grandeur of monsoon......Return to Hotel at 12 pm – Lunch – Checkout and depart for Mumbai – reach Bandra (E) by 10.00 pm.

Trip Charges (for both batches): Rs.6500/-
Includes Stay at Hotel Suruban in Satara on a twin sharing basis in Non AC rooms, Travel by minibus (27 seater), Entry fees, parking charges, veg meals, Articles on Kaas and Wild flowers, on board snacks and Mineral water…….this trip involves extensive travel time (6 hrs from Mumbai to Satara)

This does not include any charges other then the above... the camera charges (As per the equipment) have to be borne by the respective participants.

Please be prepared for long walks to reach the plateau...

Important Note: Due to huge influx of tourists in Kaas, the forest dept. have imposed certain regulations and restrictions from last year and these will be intensified this year. Hence request all to be prepared for any sudden restrictions and hike in fees.... and co-operate with us.

Stay Arrangement: Hotel Suruban is a basic, yet lovely hotel, far from the busting town with simple, but spacious rooms. Their campus is full of trees and birds and the warm hospitality is why we choose this hotel every year. They do not have a restaurant, but serve home cooked food if large group is staying.... you will certainly enjoy the stay. The Stay arrangement is on a twin sharing basis. 

Mode of Payment
Registration: You can register by sending a non-refundable advance of Rs.4500/- and a mail to Your seats will be confirmed only after our registration confirmation by return mail ..... the remaining amount will be collected in the bus on the day of travel.

Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the advance money directly to my HDFC A/c : (Please call Adesh@ 9820455713 for A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….
2) Courier a cheque of Rs.4500/- to the following address

Name: Mr. Adesh Shivkar
Address: D-8, The Adi Janata Society, Behind HP Petrolpump, Near Sion Signal, Sion (East), Mumbai - 400022
Ph.: +91-9820455713

Please Note:
1) The seats will be confirmed only against the advance amount on first come basis.
2) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 4500/- is strictly non-refunadable
3) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
4) Plucking flowers or collecting specimens is strictly not allowed in our tours
5) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies 

Please reply to us, in case you need any clarifications …..

For any other queries we are available on  9820455713 / 9869071091 (Adesh) or 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar) or 

Click here to view some images from this amazing place…….
Hope to see you for this wonderful trip

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect & Conserve

Some Memories of Nature India tours

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Appreciate, Respect & Care for Nature