At a distance of 23.3 km from the city of Dharmasthala is the beautiful village of Bandaje, an amazing trekking destination for all those trek enthusiasts and for people who would love to explore the woods and the waterfalls. There is no direct bus or a train to this place, you may have to get down at Dharmasthala and hire a jeep or take a bus till Ujire which is at a distance of 9km from Dharmasthala and then hire a jeep or share auto-rickshaws until Bandaje.
Trekking to this place is generally done over the weekends by most of us, however; it would be ideal to spare 3 days for this trek due to the trail and also the nearby attractions.
A spider on the web - PC : Hemanth Kumar
What's up with the trail?
The trail comprises of woods, streams and grasslands. We have to first walk through the woods and cross three streams to reach the top and the Arbi waterfalls. The walk inside the woods is also steep however, as the grassland appears, the climb becomes all the more difficult. Crossing the streams are also a little tough as the rocks are slippery and you may have to sacrifice some blood too if you invite leeches.
Trekkers getting ready to start off - PC : Hemanth Kumar
When to start?
It is good to start trekking to this place around 11AM in the morning on day 1 from the base camp, once it gets sunny on the grasslands it would become very difficult to reach the summit. As you walk in the woods you would not feel the heat of the sun, however; once the jungle ends and the grassland starts that is the time when we would feel the taste of the actual trek. We would be walking in the woods for atleast 4 hours and with the breaks in between, we would reach the grassland only around 4Pm, and by then the sun would almost be bidding good-bye. It would take another couple of hours to reach the summit and this seems to be the ideal time to start trekking.
Camping at the top - PC : Hemanth Kumar
Once you reach the top of the hill, you may choose to set-up the tents and take a walk to the waterfalls, soak yourself in the amazing Arbi to let go all your exertion and get a mind-blowing view of the sunset from the edge of the cliff. Be careful, when you look down the cliff. The different shades of green and yellow blended with the orange and red in the blue sky is certainly a bliss to the soul. After you fill your heart and soul with this scene, its time to get back to work. Start cooking and wait to watch the starlit sky while you enjoy the heat of camp fire with some roasted meat or potatoes. Slide into your cozy tents with the beautiful background music of the Arbi falls and the soothing wind.
As you trek - PC : Hemanth Kumar
As you wake up to the beautiful sun the next day morning, start off with a refreshing shower from the waterfalls and start moving towards the view points and the Ballarayanadurga fort. Come back to your tents and spend sometime dancing and enjoying the beauty of the paradise you are in.
Wake up kissing the morning sun and to the melody of the lovebirds and start off your day as early as 6 AM, get inside the woods by 10 AM - before the sun starts sucking up all your energy and from inside the woods another 4-5 hours; you would be at the base camp. So a 3 day plan to this place will do justice else, it would certainly be a tedious one.
The amazing Arbhi Falls - PC : Hemanth Kumar
What is the best season to trek to Bandaje?
The ideal time to trek would be during the start of winter season, since the monsoons are pretty heavy the water flow in the streams would increase drastically making it impossible to trek. The woods would also be rough and slippery during the monsoon time. Summers would definitely be scorching without any water in the waterfalls. Hence, it is better not to choose any of these seasons. Getting totally drained and dehydrated would take away the happiness of trekking. Since, the trail is not all that easy, choosing a season ideal to trek would be safe.
View from the base camp - PC : Hemanth Kumar
Necessary things to carry!
There are no facilities available once we reach the top of the waterfalls. Remember, we would be camping on the waterfall itself. At the edge of the cliff is the waterfalls hence, the sight is breath-taking. You may have to undoubtedly be equipped with tents, camping bags, food items to prepare something, snacks, water bottles, utensils. You may also need to carry torches, solar lights just in case the camp fire goes off. You may also choose to carry some energy bars, dry fruits and glucose as well.
A group of trekkers - PC : Sreehari Sukumaran
Important things to remember
- Check for permission from the Forest Department before entering into the forest reserve.
- Check for all the necessary equipments required for trekking.
- Check for comfortable clothes and footwear.
- Check for unnecessary luggage or things that can be avoided to reduce the weight while you are trekking.
- Do not touch any insects or fruits in the woods if you are not sure about them.
- Do not go and try finding your own way in the jungle, follow the trail.
- Do not unnecessarily waste time, as it gets darker the path becomes difficult.
- Fill water bottles wherever you find the streams.
Keeping all these things on mind, go ahead and explore this beautiful part of Bandaje near Dharmasthala this weekend if you are looking out for some adventure!
Happy trekking! Saying this, Brunda signing off for the day from NativePlanet!