The Name Is Enough: Milind’s Homestay in Dandeli

Manjunath K. Shresthi

Karnataka is considered as the land of scenic beauty and one has to visit the state to explore places away from the usual destinations.

Stick insect: Mantis

Karnataka is considered as the land of scenic beauty and one has to visit the state to explore places away from the usual destinations. One such place which has made a name for itself in the adventurous tourist circuit is Dandeli, a place nestled in the Western Ghats of the Uttar Kannada district. It is located in the lap of nature and offers exotic locales; warm hospitality and mouth watering food; has its share of adventure sports, treks and if lucky even wildlife experiences.

Every tourist destination offers wide and varied experiences; some go to resorts for a pleasurable stay and the sporting activity it has to offer. A few go for a days trip and return; but to those who want to cherish a place for a lifetime; they must visit Milind’s home stay in old Dandeli. One should visit places where he is welcome. As goes the name it’s a home stay and one is definitely assured of wonderful experiences to last a lifetime.

The place offers 2 nights/3 days or 3 nights/ 4 days (Rs. 2000/- per person per day) or one can customize the stay as per his/her own convenience. There are two dormitories within the house with 12 beds each. Each dormitory includes toilets both Indian and commode, with facility for 24 hours hot water and a beautiful lawn for the stressed tourist. The above tariffs are inclusive of Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner and Accommodation. The menu is prepared as the wishes of the guest and the same is prepared accordingly in delectable Konkani cuisine. Milind’s old mother and his wife take care of the kitchen and his sole responsibility is managing the entire trip and taking care of the outdoor activities.

Breakfast includes: dosa-idli-buns (ripe banana-Mangaluri speciality); sooji halwa (local language shira);upma-poha-biscuit ambado (medu vada). Also on offer are eight to 10 different kinds of dosas and one can also try seasonal dosas and other unique varieties like sugarcane juice dosa; set dosa; watermelon dosa/local talipeet/udit dosa and idlis made from cucumber.

Lunch includes: moong sabji with chapatti and is mostly vegetarian fare in the afternoons, so that the guest can feel light and is ready and eager to participate in outdoor activities. One tends to feel sluggish and feels drowsy after eating non-vegetarian food. Konkani (veg mix); Katakate; Raw banana (phodi) khap –toast deep/shallow fry;  Rasam with rice…to sum it up with solkadi of two varieties plain and another made from coconut milk.

Dinner includes: non vegetarian food and as per availability. It consists of two dishes dry/curry. Bangda ambat-theekat (Mackerel sour and spicy); prawns/surmai pickle/crabs masala, teesri pulao (shellfish pulao) and mutton dry (Konkani style)

Activities: Bird watching/nature walk/trekking/ and star gazing lasting for two to three hours.

A Bolero Camper available on call for sightseeing (Charges Extra).

Some of the tourists who frequent the place regularly are: Franklin Joseph, a Krav Maga expert (Israeli technique of street fighting) from Bengaluru, is a regular visitor to Dandeli since the last four years.  He trains commandoes for self defence.

Rajan Mishra and Sajan Mishra Padmabhushan awardees, every year they used to frequent Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand. But after they heard of Milind’s at Dandeli, they visited once and now they too are regular visitors. They like the unique forest experience here, hospitality and the home made food on offer. According to them, Dandeli is a better place than all the places they have visited. Students from St. Agnes College, Mangalore, since the last two years students have been visiting in batches.

90% of the tourists while leaving the place especially the women folk have moist eyes after experiencing first hand hospitality at Milind’s home stay. The love, affection and warmth they receive are memories to treasure for a life time.  The guest after staying here feels rejuvenated and the ladies while leaving reverentially bow to Milind’s old parents before departing.  99% of the guests coming are by reference and by word of mouth publicity. Milind’s home stay has no website. (He told this author that he did not have plans of starting one anytime soon). Our esteemed guests act as our websites and have been our sole source of strength and sustenance.

The tourist season is there all round the year.  A new trend with tourists is the monsoon trekking trails and they are taken for a distance of one to four kilometres. The package can be made seasonal  as per the needs and the requirement when the tourist arrives.

Dandeli is well connected and tourists come in their private vehicles and can also reach by bus and train. Buses ply from Bengaluru to Dandeli daily and it is at a distance of 485 kilometres. The visitor appreciates the quality of roads in Karnataka and they fall in love with the same.

Milind is a certified naturalist by the Ecotourism Development Board. Milind’s Home stay, takes a break at the end of every year between December 30-31st.  It is advisable to check with him before visiting the place.

*(The tourist has to pay extra for outdoor trekking and transportation)


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