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Ballalarayana Durga - Bandaje Falls Trek
|Trek grade:||Easy – Moderate|
|Maximum altitude:||4,895 ft|
|Best Time to Visit:||July to March|
Ballalarayana Durga – Bandaje Falls trek is a mix between two trekking routes namelytwo treks – Ballalarayana Durga and Bandaje Arbi due to the fact that many people don’t realize that they are able to go all up towards Bandaje Waterfalls when we say Ballalarayana Durga trek. Arbi in the local language is “waterfalls” and hence the words Bandaje Arbi, Bandaje Arbi Falls, Bandaje Falls are utilized interchangeably. Ballalarayana Durga trek is located in Chikmagalur located in Chikmagalur, which is located in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, only 280 km from Bangalore. Chikmagalur is renowned for its coffee farms as well as lush vegetation. It also has distinct flavor to the landscape.
This Ballalarayana Durga trek holds an abandoned fort that was built in the 17th century in its peak as well as a torrential waterfall towards the final. The water cascading down the snout and falling to nearly 1000 feet lower is a breathtaking sight that can make your heart race! Just for this perspective The Ballarayana Durga – Bandaje Arbi trek is an absolute must.
Ballalarayana Durga is a popular trek during monsoons and is loved by both experienced and novice trekkers. Anyone can complete this Ballalarayana Durga hike with just a small amount of preparation.
What To Watch Out For
The forest’s first section
While the forest area is small, it’s alive with life. Keep an eye out for old trees, and a myriad of birds, insects, and flowers.
The Himalayan meadow-like Shola Grasslands with Shola forests
The meadows on the hike are gorgeous that they resemble Ali or Bedni meadows that are found in the Himalayas.
View of the waterfall at the end of the snout
There are a few of treks which allow you to view the water fall from the snout for over 1,000 feet before it reaches the ground. The Ballalarayana Durga trek is one of them.
Ballalarayana Durga trek starts from an altitude that is higher so the climb up to the fort shouldn’t be difficult to complete. But, you’ll go down nearly 1,300 feet towards Bandaje waterfalls before returning to the top in the same manner taking about 6.5 kilometers in total.
Part 1: Kalabhyraveshwara Temple to Ballalarayana Durga Fort
- Trek Distance: 3 Kilometres
- Trek Duration:1 Hour and 30 Minutes
- GPS Coordinates of Kalabhyraveshwara Temple: 13deg 8’56.89”N 75deg24’56.08”E
- GPS Coordinates of Ballalarayana Durga Fort:13deg 7’56.92”N 75deg24’53.67”E
The trail begins at Kalabhyraveshwara temple, which is where you will camp for the night before. The road that runs from the temple until the first forest section (from where the trek actually begins) is the mud road, which can be moderately inclines. Other SUVs and Jeeps can travel all the way to the point of departure, with a distance of just 1 mile. If you’re driving a regular car, we suggest parking your car at the temple, and then start walking from there. In about 900m, the road turns left. Taking the right turn takes visitors to Rani Jhari View Point. It’s a moderate climb and takes approximately 10 minutes to get to at the View Point.
Go to the right for a views across the whole Kudremukh National Park. If you are lucky enough to have a clear day in autumn you can be able to see the valley stretching far and large. In monsoons , on the contrary, you could only get the first views from The National Park. As you approach the exact point where you begin your trek You will see an older Forest Department billboard, a dustbin, and a check-post-like barricade.
To the left side, you will get your first view of Ballalarayana Durga fort sitting atop the hill. This is where the first forest section begins. Follow the trail which leads to the forest. After about 200 metres from the fork, proceed to the trail on your left that ascends.Even although the hike isn’t difficult it is possible to become thirsty due to the exercise, especially in fall and the months prior to the summer months. Continue on this forest path for about 300 metres until you reach an incline of rock on the right side with naturally-formed uneven steps. The rock must be climbed to stay on the right track. The particular part is like being transported to the fantasy universe that is Indiana Jones where there is an old rock cliff that has vines that hang down. The slope is a bit steep. Take care when climbing the steps. In monsoons, the forests are flooded with leeches.
Within about 100m after climbing the rock face that is vertical and crossed a trail that is zig-zag, you will reach the first clearing. There is a second look at Ballalarayana Durga fort from here. It is difficult to see initially as the fort is completely destroyed. What remains of the fort today is a couple of rows of foundation stones. Continue following the trail for about 300m before entering the second section of forest. This forest area is about identical to the previous one, but it has various kinds of insects and flora. There is also small streams during monsoons. The trail climbs slowly, with slippery sections on the slopes that are prone to landslides. Make sure to support the branches on the right or your trekking poles to climb safely.Before the stream is small you will find another incline. You should take the trail right side of the road because the trail on the left will lead into the forest, which will take you off the track.
In about 200m, you’ll reach another clearing. From there, Ballalarayanadurga fort is accessible through a gradual ascent up to the top. The final push is towards the fort.
When you reach the fort, which encompasses a huge area, you can explore the fort’s ruins and the bastions along the edges, and stone carvings, and relax for a few minutes while admiring the stunning view of Shola pastures and Shola woodlands on one side along with Kudremukh National Park and its mountain peaks to the other. There is also from the Rani Jhari view point and the Kalabhyraveshwara temple, which is the point where you began your trek.
Part 2: Ballalarayana Durga Fort to Bandaje Falls
- Trek Distance: 3.8 Kilometres
- Trek Duration:2 Hours and 30 Minutes
- GPS Coordinates of Ballalarayana Durga Fort:13deg 7’56.92”N 75deg24’53.67”E
- GPS Coordinates of Bandaje Falls: 13deg 6’20.55”N 75deg24’53.44”E
From the Ballalarayanadurga Fort, follow the same path back to where you were when you entered the fort. Continue to descend for about 350m until you arrive at the point where you made your last attempt up towards the fort. Then, at the point where you have a deviation follow the grassland trail to your left and continue towards Bandaje falls. There is also an alternative way to Bandaje falls that starts from Ballalarayana Durga fort.Continue on the trail and enjoy the 360-degree panorama from The Western Ghats. Don’t be surprised when the clouds float close to you. Within a mile of the fort, there’s an open area that functions as an wind tunnel. Wind blows from left and right. In monsoons, the winds are strong enough to even cause you to drift off the course by a few feet. The entire path from the fort to the waterfall is surrounded by the hills. You’ll come across up to four mounds as climb and descend. One intriguing section of this grassland is the rock patch that runs along the trail.
The patch of land in the fall and winter is drab and is covered with sand that is buried between rocks. It’s hard to tell whether any rivers flowed through here once in a while to transport all the sand! Around 3.8 km from the fort, and about two hours after the trail begins to descend before the last downhill before reaching Bandaje falls. In this section you will not be able to tell whether there really is a waterfall near the end. There is no sound of water rushing between the rocks, nor will there be any indications of water. It’s only that when you get to the area of thick trees that you feel the water rushing. It is easy to smile in your heart when you hear the sound of the water flowing. After a long journey of 4 hours it is a dream to drink the pure, unspoiled water and then dipping your feet in it to cool down makes you feel happier. A first glance of waters gushing through the rock formations is an experience for eyes sore.
The waterfall’s appearance changes with every season. In winter and autumn the water flows gently until it falls down the snout.On the contrary, during monsoons the water flows with the force of a waterfall that it appears as like milk flows. It’s an amazing moment to gaze out the snout and observe the waterfall gushing to the depths of over 1,000 feet below. Don’t forget to appreciate the views from the edge of the waterfall. On a clear day you can see the coast of Mangalore to your left and the forest of the Dakshina Kannada district are always just in front of your eyes. Be sure to spend time with your snout. Soak your feet with cold running water to relieve yourself from fatigue. This is the perfect spot to eat your lunch. Take a moment to reflect on your trip to the highest point. Take note of the silence and sound of nature. Relax your muscles after a long day prior to stepping off back to your base.
Since you’ll be taking the same route to return so you need to be careful when crossing the rocky sections. proceed slowly and carefully. If you slip, you could cause yourself to fall, and cause injury to yourself.
Best Time To Do Ballalarayana Durga – Bandaje Falls Trek
Ballalarayana Durga treks can be undertaken throughout the monsoon season until the winter’s end (July to March). You’ll get the most memorable experience when you undertake the trek during monsoons because the whole valley is lush green and the grasslands appear as if they’re straight from the Himalayas. Additionally, the Bandaje Falls are flooding with force!
In comparison with Kumara Parvatha that is not performed during monsoons due the danger of the conditions, Ballalarayana Durga is a pleasure to enjoy during monsoons. It is among the only treks in the Western Ghats that you can take part in monsoons.On the other hand, if desire clear, unobstructed images of the surrounding hills as well as Kudremukh National Park, choose the post-monsoon or winter months in which the skies aren’t clear. The winter and autumn seasons are awash the views of the horizon that are lost in monsoons. However, the monsoons compensate for the views by providing an enthralling carpet of grasslands and thundering waterfalls.
The reason the reason we are not recommending this hike in the summer is due to the dry grasslands and extremely hot weather. Because there isn’t any shade, except for the forest areas before the fort and the waterfall after the heat and sun will quickly drain you.