Western Ghats has a unique identifications and hidden treasury in it, which a common man can’t reach. Bandaje Arbi Falls is one of those places where water flows through all seasons of the year. Bandaje Arbi Falls located in Charmudi ghat in Dakshina Kannada district is around 12km away from Ujire (close to Dharmasthala) and trek starts from the village Mundajje. One should have strong determination and energy to reach this falls and enjoy the glory of Mother Nature.
On the day I joined Bangalore Ascenders (BASC), I had a list of must visit places in and around Karnataka. Bandaje Arbi Falls & Ballalarayana Durga was also one in the list. When I saw the event registration mail by Niranjan (Event Organizer), i called my friends Sudhakar & Chandrakanth (CK) and asked them to register soon. Due to time constrain CK could not join us. We were not sure of getting short listed to this event as the team size was only 12 members. Luckily we both were able to make our self in the shortlisted participants and got ready to go to Bandaje.
As BASC common point of boarding is Shanthala Silk House, I was much ahead of the stipulated time 9.30pm.
BASC Assemble Point - Shanthala Silk House
Already couple of friends (co-trekkers) were present there (soon everyone joined). I got a warm welcome by Ram, Umesh and later by Niranjan. We left Bangalore around 10.30pm in Tempo Traveler (TT).
We had a brief introduction about our self followed by our previous trekking experience on the way in TT. The team members were Ram, Umesh, Venu, Govind, Sreeharsha, Sudhakar, Harsh, Diptankar, Ashutosh, Satish, Niranjan & I. Govind & Sreeharsha had already done few events with me at Dabbe Falls & Kanoor Kote; I got nine new friends again. Introduction part went on till 12 midnight and everyone slid in to deep sleep. The seats were not so comfortable and I was struggling to sleep…..
Day – 1: 16th March, 2013
We reached Ujire (via Dharmasthala) around 4.30 am. We finished our morning itinerary and had delicious breakfast - Upma & Idly. Packed Chitranna for lunch.
Niranjan explained itinerary for next two days. Bandaje which is around 16km from the start point. Day 1 we need to cover Bandaje and night camping near water falls, 2nd day head towards Ballalarayana Durga, exit at Sunkasale, visit Horanadu and return back to Bangalore.
The plan was , divide the Group into two and first group enters the forest, wait somewhere around 2km from the start point for the second group to join.
Umesh is a local guy who knows Tulu (local language) , first group headed towards Narayan Gowda’s house. We had walked almost 2km in jeep track crossing two houses. He managed the people talking in Tulu and entered into the forest. We had to cross the last house ‘Babu Nayak’ and take right path to proceed towards the Bandaje Arbi falls. The real trek started and we understood that the whole route is steep ascending for almost 15km. The forest was completely thick and green. As per the plan, we trekked around 2km and waited for other group to join.
Being thick forest and no trail; it was very difficult to find out the route and reach the destination on-time.
The path was not so easy, everyone was sweating badly due to high humidity and steep ascend. After several breaks and two hours continuous trek, we reached the water stream around 10.30 am.
We took a dip in water and got relaxed for some time. Water was very cold!!! The steep ascend continued, taking few breaks we reached the grassland. 70 % of Bandaje is covered by thick forest and the rest is open grass land. We decided to have lunch around 12:45 PM at the entrance of the grass land followed by a photography session.
We could view the beautiful falls from grass land and feel to reach falls within short time. But we couldn’t !!.We reached Waterfalls around 3:30PM
We spent some time near falls and then decided to camp near the stream. The plan for the evening was, first to prepare Maggie, relax for 1 hour, soup around 7pm, dinner at 9pm, camp fire, & then entertainment till 10pm.
Umesh, Sudhakar, Ram were busy collecting the wood for camp fire. Few of us took bath in the stream again. Oh my god, water was very cold. After the break, the Maggie preparation started. Umesh was always ahead in all activities, he was able lit the fire. Then came the real part of adventure !!! The rain started rudeness with sound of thunder and lightning. Goodness we had 3 tarpaulins, using 2 we covered our luggage and rest we used it for our shelter. Rain poured for almost one hour and it shattered all our plan. There was nothing to shelter except open sky.
The ground was wet and we had tough time . We all had yummy Maggie and planned the next strategy. We decided to have puliyogare for dinner. We had tasty hot dinner around 8.30pm and decided to sleep.
We had to take care of the camp fire to protect from wild animals. Umesh took the initiatives. I could not sleep well in the night. It was my first experience to sleep in such a place which I could not think at all. Thanks to the rain which made our trek more adventurous.
Day-2: 17th March, 2013
I would like to appreciate capabilities of Ram during the trek. He was one who does not have regular food, less sleep and always ahead in the group. By curiosity asked the secret, understood he is a Yoga patu and does 2 hours every day. I woke up around 4.15am, by the time Ram also got up. We had tough time letting the fire ,Umesh again helped us. Everyone got up by 6 am and finished our morning nature call and headed towards our second destination to conquer the Ballalarayna Durga. The distance of the fort was almost 6-7km from falls and minimum 2 hours journey.
As per plan, we had to reach the fort before the humidity increases. Our journey started around 7 am and the route began as planned before.
Nothing was changed in the ascend, except few steps flat surface. We were able to enjoy the beautiful view of the entire valley. In between we had photography sessions, breaks and chitchat talk. After few kilometer treks, we were able to view the fort but we need to walk almost more than one hour. The last part of the stretch was very difficult and real test for our strength.
We were able to conquer the fort by around 10a.m.
Except the shattered walls nothing much at Ballalarayana Durga, however you can enjoy the Mother Nature and the beautiful valley. We met the king of the fort (forgot his name) who runs the cattle-shed in the fort. He has around 50 cattle and he welcomes all visitors of the fort. We decided to prepare once again for breakfast. King offered his kitchen for preparation and provided the water with some bucks. Everyone was hungry and then had delicious Maggie. We had good time at fort and relaxed for 1hour before proceeding our descend. Understood from the King that the Sunkasale (our end point of the trek) is around 6 km and one hour journey. We decided to take one more hour break and did accordingly.
We left the fort around 11.30 am and all were happy in the spirit of spending almost two hours at the fort.
The pace was fast and we entered forest before reaching the jeep track. Everyone back to their initial enthusiasm and taking very less break reached the Sunkasale at 2 pm. Meantime Niranjan called the driver and asked him to come to Sunkasale. Within one hour TT reached and we boarded vehicle to reach Horanadu.
From Sunkasale, Horanadu is around 30 km. Reached Horanadu by 3.30 pm and decided to take a dip in Bhadra river. Everyone had holy bath in the river and Niranjan asked us to finish the feedback part after taking the bath. We finished vote of thanks and feedback and then headed to Horanadu town. Took Darshana of Horanadu Annapoorneshwari and had Prasad (dinner) and left at 10.30pm to Bangalore. Though we trekked 25-27km in two days, there still remains my desire and passion to do more. I was thinking what will be the next event in BASC for me through out my return journey ….
Thanks to each one of my friends (co-trekkers) who were very co-operative, friendly and also who had taken photographs as and when requested to you all. Special thanks to Niranjan for giving me an opportunity to be a part of this wonderful trek. No words to BASC, motivating and giving opportunity to enjoy the real beauty of Mother Nature.
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Written by: Sagar V
Event organized by: Niranjan
Composed by: Honnegowda and Vinay
Date: 16th & 17th March, 2013
Image Gallery : Ashothosh
The Crew: Venugopal, Sreeharsha, Vidhya Sagar, Sudhakar,Umesh ,Govind Gorur,Harsh,Sathish anand, Ashothosh ,Deeptangan,Ram ,Niranjan