"And i'am back on trail again,
missed you like some long lost friend,
Sometimes I think I am just part of the wind,
When I am back on trail again."
"Once a failure, Always a failure" if you believe in the quote, We wouldn't sound you much real. 7 of us, first planned this trek in September, and we were pretty excited about it, as this one was supposed to be our maiden hiking trip, organized by us and with no club/group involved. but 2 folks backed out at the last minute, and we specially me and pavan, spent entire weekend snatching hair, scratching heads.
Imran was keen on planning a trek to kodai-munnar, and with some forgettable calculations we decided to keep Nov last weekend for this trip. the mailer was on, and it was still more than a month, so here striked the idea of doing Bandajje (Agumbe was the first option washed over by YSR/rain/Naxal/permissions) again. I pulled out another thread for Oct last weekend, and Me, Pavan, Benjamin, & karthik, were the first confirmees.
The home work was already done by pavan previously, All we needed was to, have few more people, like max 8 or so, and with some 200 mails in exchange, even before the trek, we became a group of 10 with Saritha from Makkalidurga, and Bindu from Kudremukh trek, and Cuba, HTTP, Sangram and Shruti joining the bandwagon.
Did we meet/socialize before the trek? Umm..dont think so, the post-trek memories are little faded now. Me and Pavan were excited as we were able to execute a trek which failed in the first place. All we could have been hating be some cancellation. But everything went fine this time. Booking, Itinerary, meeting at Bangalore, Majestic Bus station platform no "23 " around 8:30/8:45 PM, catching the bus, until at the last minute the duo (Cuba & HTTP) disappeared, giving us a headache, but well that was just the start.
Being in a small group is much more fun, one can interact with every other, while Benzi kept himself busy in some serials episode (@Benzi -mention in the comment, I forgot which one it was), we all were amuzed pulling each others legs, but soon slowed down realizing its not a private bus we were traveling in. Bus dint stop for dinner anywhere I think, and we reached Ujjire (~350Km) around 6:30AM.
Saturday morning, and let me ride back in time machine, and bring it in present. There is a small restuarent at the circle where we get down from the bus (@karthik -fill in the name if you remember), we choose as our breakfast point. we pack our lunch and hire a vehicle to go to Mundajje - Narayan Gowda's House, Who has arranged a guide for us. (Charges 300 per day). we are all set to get in the Jeep and the "duo" again disappears. few minutes and they appear with big bags, full of food items, observing which we give up the idea of scolding and complaining.
Mundajje is a village approx 8-10 from Ujjire, the drive is slow, and beautiful, which KD and Pavan enjoy the most hanging at the foot of the vehicle. Driver speaks kannada and tulu and I dont understand a word. Well soon we reach Gowda's house, spend sometime there freshening up. around 8:40 the guide rather 2 guides show up and we start towards a trail on the right side leading to the end of the village and to the dense forest.
12 people, or should I say, 12 sleeping bags ( @Srushi listening??? ;-)) get on to hike, in unknown region (read - full of naxal activities) trusting two guides of ours, one of those, I feel don't knw the route much, and the steepy jungle hike last till 1:30 PM in the afternoon with few breaks in the middle, (rather i should say as many as we want). the Jungle though interesting, is dry, full of colorful juicy mashrooms, not so much of wildlife ( this we say cause we only see foot prints of wild elephants and not them really), and once we cross a stream which I think should be coming from Bangajje falls only. HTTP take a long dip, others just wet their feet. some photography and leech execution and we move on. [ there is no visible trail to the falls and offcouse there are plenty of leeches in the forest. so dont be brave, go with the guide only and take precautionary measures as well]
12 kms of Jungle hike when ends in to green grass land even in bright hot sunny day, it feels great. a good, relaxed lunch we start for the rest of trek in grassy land, which quite opposite our expections go till 4:30 pm and we reach to the top of the bandajje/ Bandaje Arbi falls, a 200 ft tall beauty in Charmadi hills.
Benji, our head cook greets us with an awesome tea and we let ourself free, on the edge of the falls, hanging, looking down, making scary faces yet enjoying the splendid scenic beauty of the valley. the sunset seen this evening, should be recorded as one of the most beautiful sunset we have observed in any of our gtreks before, and above that, tonight being a full moon night, the charm of the wild hits the top of our head, until the ghost story from HTTP starts and girls run in to tents ( Nope- they dont get scared, they get BORED). for that matter, this is one unique trek, where we chose to have ghost stories at bonfire rather than regular antaksharies or dumb sharads.
Night is windy, our tents blow up once and we pitch 'em again doing all the arrangements of putting heavy backpacks on the sides hence stoppin 'em from blowing away in the night. Oh did anyone said, we hear elephants ???
The first day must have been 15 km or so. Sunday morning, we start a little late to Ballarayan durga, a ruin fort, 5-6 KM or rather "few hills" away from Bandajje falls, towards the left. the hike initially is a little steepy but later its kinda easy. and a visible trails takes you too the fort. in the middle of our trek we meet some local villagers too making strange sounds to control their cattles. Pavan informs later, one of those, spoke to the guide and scolded him for not carrying any fireworks and calls us crazy to come here, as some wild elephants were seen on this side 2 days before. and it was dangerous trekking there around that time and that too with out any preparations. he also tells the story of the tigers in the jungle, for whom the villagers sacrifice their old cows to keep 'em "HAPPY" or away from coming in to village.
Ballarayan durga is a ruined fort, walled on a hill and watch towers in all 3 directions. the view is beautiful though. we finish our lunch there, and decending to Sankasalle (12 km approx) around 1 PM. The path is clearly marked, and goes through a little of grasslands, the jungle, and later a jeep track of 7-8 km. some how the last few hours of trek are always tiring and you just pray for it to end. but here it isnt that boring, BUT, we run, and the reason is we need to reach sankasaale by 4:30 as the last bus to horanadu (from where we have booked our bus to bangalore at 9 pm). The information later turns out to be hoax, but by that time we already finish our trek, completing last 2 KMs of jeep trek in 2 Autos, ( second comes as a relief - dedicated to Cuba, HTTP, Saritha, ask 'em why?). Nice tea/coffee with snacks at a tea-stall in sankasaale, we wave goodbye to our guides, and at 5 PM catch a local bus to Horanadu. which reaches our final desitation at 6:15PM via kalasa ( the famous kalaseshwar temple, also this is the place where we stayed in our kundremukh trek).
Horanadu, apart from that its one of the pavan's native/relatives place, (so what, thats what each knwn/unknwon place in south india is) is famous of Annapurna Temple, where food is served 24X7. we take two rooms in a lodge (150 per room) near the temple which is at the bus stand itself, and after freshing up visit the temple and dine with 200 people in the temple hall. (amazing exp after a long time). 9:15 PM, and the bus is ready to leave, and we wait for the "duo" who by now have turned quad and ran of somewhere, taking the lodge room key with them. KD finally manage to find 'em and get the key and we catch the bus to be back in Bangalore monday morning 6:00AM.
A little but no so unknown group, a tough or rather moderate first day trek, perfect sunset, and moonlit night, and not to forget the first waterfall I have seen hanging upside down, the trek should be called nothing less than successful. and we feel really proud that we could kick it off. on retun we found ways to hang out together in the city, having met up 3 times already, and planning the 4th one, The Mail-thread subject: Bandajje/Agumbe is still alive and kickingm, and damn, I see no sign of having in muted in near future.
Detailed Itinerary for reference.
Friday Oct 30
8:45PM: Meet at Platform 23, KSRTC bus stand, Majestic
Saturday Oct 31
7AM: Reach Ujire, Have breakfast/ try parcel lunch for afternoon
8AM: Take a jeep to Mundajje Narayangowda house
9AM: Start trek.
3-4PM: Camp at Bandajje waterfalls.
Sunday Nov 1
7:00AM : Have packed breakfast
7:30AM : Trek to Ballarayandurga fort
10:00AM: Reach Ballarayandurga fort
10:30AM: Trek to Sunkasaale (We managed to reach here by 4:30PM)
1:PM Sunkasaale, lunch(packed)
10:00PM: Bus to Bangalore
Update: Horanadu is about an hour bus journey from Sunkasaale. Bus comes every 30 mins. Our bus from Bangalore starts from Horanadu anyway. So we took this route instead.
Monday Nov 2
6AM: Back to Bangalore.
(Bus details )
Bangalore - Ujire
Trip Code --> 2124BNGMNG
Time of Dep - 21:24 Hrs on 30th Oct
Platform Num 23
(Service End Point - Mangalore)
(Passenger end Point - Ujire)
Horanadu --> Bangalore
TripCode - 2115HAOBNG
Time of Dep - 21:15 hrs on 1st Nov
Platform Num HAO
(Service End Point - BLR)
(Passenger end Point - BLR)
[Images & Text Copyright Poonam Parihar. No Derivatives Allowed.]