Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bandaje Arbi Falls & Ballalarayana Durga (Fort) : 16 - 17th March 2013

Western Ghats has an unique identifications and hided many more natural beauties in it which a common man can’t reach the place.  Bandaje Arbi Falls is one of those places which flow 365 days in a year.  Bandaje Arbi Falls located in Charmudi ghat in Dakshina Kannada district, around 12km away from Ujire (close to Dharmasthala) and trek base point is Mundajje.  One need to have strong determination and strength to reach this falls and enjoy the Mother Nature glory.

Since introduction to Bangalore Ascenders (BASC), I have made a list of must visit places in and around Karnataka.  Bandaje Arbi Falls & Ballalarayana Durga is also one in the top most lists.  When I seen the event registration mail by Niranjan (Event Organiser), called to my friend Sudhakar & Chandrakanth (CK) and ask them to register soon.  Due to time constrain CK could not join with us.  We were not sure to getting short listed to this event as the team size is only 12 members.  Luckily we both could able to make our self in 12 participant list and get ready for 15th March, 2013 to leave the Bandaje.

As BASC common point of boarding is Shanthala Silk House, I was much ahead the stipulated time 9.30pm.  
BASC Assemble Point - Shanthala Silk House
Already couple of friends (co-trekkers) were present at the place and soon everyone joined.  I got a warm welcome by Ram, Umesh and later Niranjan.  We left the Bangalore around 10.30pm in Tempo Traveler (TT).

We had a brief introduction with our previous trekking experience in the TT.  The team members are Ram, Umesh, Venu, Govind, Sreeharsha, Sudhakar, Harsh, Diptankar, Ashutosh, Satish, Niranjan & myself.  Govind & Sreeharsha were already did event with me at Dabbe Falls & Kanoor Kote; I got nine new friends again.  Introduction part went on till 12 midnight and everyone slipped into deep sleep.  The seats were not so comfortable and I was struggling to get a sleep…..

Day – 1: 16th March, 2013

We reached Ujire (via Dharmasthala) around 4.30 am.  We finished our morning itinerary at public toilet and had delicious breakfast Upama & Idli.  Packed Chitranna for lunch on the way of the trek.  Niranjan explained the details about our two days trek.   Bandaje falls is around 16 km from trek initial point. 

Trek Journey:

Bangalore - Mundajje - Bandajje Falls - Night Camp - 
Ballalarayanadurga - Sunkasale - Horanadu - Bangalore

We should appreciate his leadership capabilities and tactics during the trek.  We all got ready to leave towards Bandajje Falls.  Initial path split into two groups.

Getting Ready
The first group enters into forest and wait somewhere around 2km and later the second group joins. We have to cross the last house ‘Babu Nayak’ and take right path to proceed towards the Bandaje Arbi falls.  The real trek started and understood that the whole way is steep ascending almost 15km.  The forest is completely thick and humidity is more.  We trekked around 2km and took first break and waiting for joining the other group.  
Relax in Forest
Govind was busy in photography and shouted ‘anyone wants to see Snake’?  I, Sudhakar, Ram rushed the place.  A green baby snake was lying on tree; he caught it and asked us to hold it.  Not only human being, even any other also get reacted immediately whenever they feel insecure.  Snake was got position to attack; finally it bites to Govind finger.  We were scared, but he realized us; it’s a non-viper and nothing to worry.
Snake
By the time, second group joined us with guide (Sanjay).  Being its thick forest and no trail; very difficult to find out the path and reach the destination in-time.
Relax in Jungle
Now our team back to the number.  The way was not so easy, everyone sweating badly.  Due to high humidity and steep ascend the pace of journey is was very slow.  We found elephant dungs entire the trek way.  After multiple breaks and two hours continuous trek reached the water stream around 10.30 am.  
Stream
Everyone decided to dip into water and get relaxed for some time.  Water was very cold!!!  We had enjoyed the stream almost one hour and had the snacks.  The steep ascend is continued again, taking number of breaks and breaks at last we reached to grassland.  Bandaje 70% path is covered by thick forest and rest is in open grass land.  The time was 12.45 pm and everyone decided to have the lunch at the entrance of grass land.  We took a long break with lunch and photography session.  
Lunch Break
Now the real challenge begins.  We could able to view the beautiful falls from grass land and feel reach within short time. But we can’t!! The sun was not mercy on us and there was no wind.  
Grass Land


Grass Land
Grass land path also very difficult to ascend and taking breaks at last we reached the glorious Bandaje Arbi Falls at 3.30pm.


One will forget the tiredness by seeing the falls.  It’s amazing and wonderful.  The one stream falls almost 400 meters down and we should have courage to view the depth of the falls.  We should be very careful here.  There are many instances where people have lost their valuable life.  There is no such boundary or fencing and moreover the rock is very slippery.  Whoever visits the place, be careful and don’t try to play any nonsense things here.  Friends were busy in taking the photographs, solo and group in different styles.  We said good bye to Guide (Sanjay) paying 600 bucks.



We had enough of the time to spend at falls. We decided the night camp near the stream.  The time table of the evening is, first we prepare Maggie, relax for 1 hour, soup around 7pm, dinner at 9pm and camp fire entertainment till 10pm.

Umesh, Sudhakar, Ram were busy for collecting the wood for night camp fire.  Few of us took bath again in the stream. Oh my god, water was very cold. After the break, the Maggie preparation started.  Umesh is always ahead in all activities, he could able spark the fire.  The real part of adventure and scary now!!! 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 almost one hour and it’s shattered our all planning’s.  There was nothing the shelter except open sky.  The whole ground was wet and not so easy to pass the rest of the time.  We all had yummy Maggie and decided the next strategy.  The clouds were still panic, decided to protect our luggage and if rain continues need to night vigil.  Nature was not enough rude on us, at last we could able to see the stars.  Friends were not in mood to have the dinner and everyone to slip in sleep as early as possible.  We brought the rice and puliyogare paste for dinner.  Decided to prepare the rice and have hot puliyogare.  We had tasty and hot dinner around 8.30pm.  Initially we decided to sleep in three groups, seeing the ground wet and availability of tarpaulins we all gathered in one and went off sleep.  I and Ram had song jugalbandi till late night.

We need to take cares the camp fire to protect from wild animals.  Our great Umesh took the initiatives.  I could not able to 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 making our trek more adventurous.

Day-2: 17th March, 2013

I would like to appreciate Ram capabilities during the trek.  He was one who not had 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 4.15 am by the time Ram also got up.  We struggle to light the fire where 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 is almost 6-7km from falls and minimum 2 hours journey.

As per plan, we need to reach the fort before sun bitter on us.  Our journey started around 7 am and the path as before.  

Nothing was change in the ascend except few steps flat surface.  We could able to enjoy the beautiful view the entire valley.  In between we had photography sessions, breaks and sharing the experiences.  After few kilometer treks, we could able to view the fort but we need to walk almost more than one hour.  The last part of the portion is very difficult and examines our strength. 




We could able to conquer the fort around 10a.m.


Except the shattered walls nothing much at Ballalarayana Durga however you can enjoy the Mother Nature and beautiful valley.  We met the fort king (forgot his name) who runs the cattle-shed in the fort.  He has around 50 cattle and welcome to 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 had delicious Maggie.  We had good time at fort and relaxed hours before proceeding descend.  Understood from the King, the Sunkasale (our ending point of trek) is around 6 km and one hour journey.  We decided take one more hour long break and did accordingly.




We left the fort 11.30 am and all were happy and in spirit spending almost two hours at fort.  From fort onward no ascend only you have to descend the 6 km.  

The pace was fast and we enter forest before reaching the jeep track.  Everyone back their initial enthusiasm and taking very less break reached the Sunkasale at 2 pm.  Meantime Niranjan called the driver and asked to come Sunkasale. Within an hour TT reached to our place and we all boarded to reach the Horanadu.

From Sunkasale, Horanadu is around 30 km.  Reached the Horanadu by 3.30 pm and decided to dip in Bhadra river.  Everyone had holy bath in the river and Niranjan asked us to finish the feedback part while taking a bath.  We finished vote of thanks and feedback and headed towards Horanadu town.  Took Darshana of Horanadu Annapoorneshwari and had Prasad (dinner) and left 10.30 pm to Bangalore.  We trekked around 25-27 km in two days, however still my desires and passions not fulfilled.  I was thinking what will be the next event in BASC for me in the whole journey….


Thanks to each one of my friends (co-trekkers) who were very co-operative, friendly and also who have taken photographs as and when requested to you all. Special thanks to Niranjan giving an opportunity to be part of this wonderful trek.  No words to BASC, motivating and giving opportunity to enjoy the real beauty of Mother Nature.  Last but not least, my close friend ‘Sudhakar’ who was co-trekker with me and giving wonderful company.



Highlights of the Event:
Whole team was so enthusiasm and completed the trek before 3 hours scheduled time
Umesh great guy, never seen him idle.  Always he is first in all activities.
90% of the trek is steep ascend

Guide & for Other assist Contacts:
Kishore Valambra - 9901939829
Suraj Valambra - 9844393421