The route of the trek:Dharmasthala->Ujire(9kms)->Mundaje(9 kms)->Bandaje Arbi->Ballala Rayana Durga Fort ->Sunkasale.
Things to carry and take care of:
- Tent and torch if you are planning to camp near the arbi waterfalls.
- Water owing to the humidity of the area.
- First aid kit.
- If in monsoon, beware of the slippery terrain and leeches.
- Elephants and bisons are know to exist, so beware!
- September till April is the best time to visit. But in March, April the humidity can take the toll on your body.
- May to August is the monsoon season and the trek is strictly for adventurous folks.
The night before the trek:Our bus was scheduled to leave at 10 45 pm, finally left at 11 45 pm. Have to blame the badly managed money making KSRTC for the delay:(.
By 6:30 am, we arrived at the Dharmasthala bus stand and took the nearest lodge to get ready. The holy Dharmasthala was as usual bustling with people and the since it was the monsoon season, there was cloud cover as well.By 7 30 am, we had darshan of Lord Manjunatha at the picturesque dharmasthala manjuntha temple. By 9, we had taken a bus to Ujire where we had breakfast. I had idli and upma along with a cuppa coffee.
Then we took a jeep to the Mundaje, the place where we started the trek.
After an hour or so, we were already facing the difficulty in trekking and Chota chethan, being the professional trekker that he is was leading and raced far away from us. Me and Sourabh were panting and puffing then. The humidity added with the terrain was turning out to be too difficult for us. I had a custom of not drinking water in my previous treks but all those customs went down the drain here. Added to that, the leeches were already attacking at full force and moving on our shoes. We did not take any preventive measures for leeches. So pick up the leech and throw it was the policy followed there.
Arabbi falls trek which goes past Bandajje forest and then the picturesque Arabbi falls.
Trek to the top of Bandajje,the leechy affair, the lush green grasslands,
Arabbi falls: It was a seriously beautiful place. A spot from where the cloud clears and when we get a view of the falls is a sight which one ll never forget for a long time.
By 5 o clock, we had a campsite behind the falls for which one has to cross the stream. Beware of flash floods during rainy season.
at 7pm, we were having the food which we took from Bangalore.
The pear fruit, the MTR ready to eat rice sambhar, man they still make me drool ;)
Chit-chat about the past trek experiences and sleep by 8 30 or 9
We woke up at 6:45 am, got ready a bit lazily to leave the place by 7 30 am. If its Chethan, it will be a difficult day of trek. So, me and pakya got prepared for the same and started trekking. Incidentally, we happened to bump into one of my previous collegemate Hariram en route to the top. Bandajje trek expert chota chethan was to their rescue to help them with the route for descent and other details. We could hear Harry and gang taking bath in the stream and conversing was audible to us.
Then, we went past grasslands and after an hour of trekking we were able to see the fort of Ballalaraya which was visible from a distance. I still cant forget the great view en route to the fort which extends very far. Then a steep trek of about 1 hour took us to the fort of Ballalaraya. The fort extended to a long distance on either side. It s a treat to the eyes to watch the same. We had a bisi-bele-bath MTR packet to savour there. I got a bit dizzy there. Then we got ready and started the descent. I lead the trek on way down.
We descended from the fort towards the district of Honnavar via the forest. Chota had warned us about the blood suckers`(leeches) presence in the fort. Before that, we had to encounter a slippery terrain for some time. Moiself and Chota could have been the casualties if something had gone wrong. We were lucky to have maneuvered the terrain. What followed that was a leechy affair. The sun was scantly visible in the thick jungles. If ever we planned to take rest, the leeches would have a feasty leg to savour. So, walk walk walk was the mantra of movement then. This jungle reminded me of the forest which we go past when we had gone to see Meenmutty falls in God`s one gountry Gerala:) So, after an hour`s descent, we had come to a place where there was a water source from a tank where we cleaned the leech prone shoes and legs. Got ready in a few minutes and walked on the road to a place called Kottigehara which was nearly 4 kms from the place of descent(Sunkasale).
From kottigehara, we took a bus to a place called Mudigere. In Mudigere, I was still in the unsettled state with respect to dizziness. Chota and pakya had a plate set dosa to quench their hunger while I was content with a tender coconut. From there, we took a bus to Chickamangaluru. I cant forget the taste of Bindu jeera masala soda which chota got there. Bindu JMS rox!! Then we got a bus to namma Bengaluru at about 3 pm and we were back to Bang ;) by about 10 pm. I got down near Navrang. Chota and Pakya went to majestic. They also had the pleasure of going to KFC :(
P.S: This tough trek taught me a few things about my body which I had taken lightly(related to cramps and fitness). Working towards a fit me post that. Also, my overconfidence about the things which I said in trek is still ridiculed among my BMS pals. Finally, I would like to sign off by saying All`s well that ends well. Right?