Bandaje Falls | Ballalarayana Durga

During monsoon, the western ghats comes alive. The fresh green surroundings make trekking here a refreshing experience. Bandaje falls is a trek I had always wanted to do but never got a chance. I booked the trek with Plan the unplanned. But two days before the trek, they cancelled it as they did not have enough bookings. I quickly switched to Bangalore Mountaineers Club. 

On Friday, the 25th of August, I boarded the BMC bus at Richmond road. I sat next to Maurice, who had travelled from Hyderabad for this trek. We had a very interesting discussion that touched upon Startups, AI, corporate culture and philosophy. 

Saturday morning, at around 4AM, we reached Durgadahalli homestay. Durgadahalli is located at a distance of 21 km from Kottegehara and 5km from Sunkasale. I took a short nap till 5:30AM. The house is located in the middle of a farm, at the foothills of the Western Ghats. 

Apart from me, there were 19 other trekkers in the team. We got ready by 7:30AM and had breakfast – Idly and Rice baath

We left to the forest check post in two jeeps. A father-son duo who were staying at the homestay decided to join us. Totally, there were 2 kids on this trek. One needs to book the trek online or pay at the gate. 

First stop was at Rani Jhari viewpoint. The weather was exceptionally good to us on this day. 

The trail is 9km long. The hills were covered in a green carpet of fresh grass. The mist, covered and uncovered the views, making this walk pleasurable and refreshing. It was a perfect trek in all means. 

I met a few people from Mangalore. At the waterfall, we stayed for about an hour and had our lunch. Since we are on top of a 200ft tall waterfall, we cannot actually see the entire waterfall. Nevertheless, the views were spectacular and I enjoyed the whole experience thoroughly. I tried to sketch a bit but there wasn’t enough time. 

We headed back on the same trail until a deviation to Ballalarayana fort. This walk back seemed very long and tiring. 

The view from the fort was such amazing. 

On the way back, we drove to the Kodige waterfall. I had been here in February this year. But due to the rain, the water was muddy and unsuitable for a shower. So, I refrained from even descending down to the waterfall. 

By 6 PM, we were back at the homestay. After freshening up we assembled by the camp fire and played mafia. It was fun because the kid - Shruth in the group was cheating by opening his eyes, identifying the mafia and pointing at them as soon as everyone opened their eyes. 

After dinner, me and some of the others sat down with the owner of the homestay – Sanjay and heard very interesting stories from him. He shared his hunting stories and some ghost stories. He is an exceptional narrator. The illustration of the events has been imprinted in my mind. I was exhausted that night, so I went to bed at around 10PM. I had a good sleep. 

Next morning, we were ready by 7AM. After breakfast, we left homestay and headed to Halebidu temple. Maurice and I had more intellectual discussions. We discussed Indian history, philosophy, his life at IIT, Religion, Life in India etc. Shruth would frequently come to me and ask a new French word. He would go back and say that to his dad. 

At Halebidu, we took a quick walk around the temple and waited for the others to finish the tour.  I have been here several times before. 

On our way back, we stopped for lunch and reached Bangalore by 7PM. This was indeed a much needed getaway for me - A break from hectic weeks that preceded. 

Checkout my vlog on this trek: