So we learn about this place near Ujire which is supposed to be a really nice trekking trail that doesn’t usually feature a lot when folks are talking about trekking in Karnataka. While obviously folks seem to have trekked it, there’s not a lot of information floating around.
And the title kinda says it all. We chose November on the premise that the rains would’ve abated. However, it rained, and it rained copiously all over the Peninsula leading up to the trek. And just to trick us into going, the rains stopped for a couple of days prior to us leaving. Obviously, we weren’t going to let a little bit of the damp to dampen us. (Yeah, tired old joke). However on the night we left in the comfortable confines of a new Innova, it rained. Which brought out the collective population of leeches in the entire southern Western Ghats on to the trail leading to Bandaje Arbi. For that is where we were going and where Mr. Murphy decided leeches should be.
This post is going to be short on both details and photos. For the simple reason that on the way up, all of us were worried about not getting feasted upon, so we didn’t stop too much. And our confines-of-A/C-offices flogged bodies couldn’t take the rush-up-the-hill-before-we-get-bitten pace. So there are no photos going up. Once we got up there, we barely had time to find a place to camp – which was relatively leech free – before we could cook and before the rain Gods descended upon us again. Which left us grappling with another issue. One of our allegedly (meaning the Usual Suspect was lying through his teeth) waterproof tents turned out to be not. So in a tent meant for 3, there were 7 sweaty, hungry trekkers. But then what is life without some breaks? And it did come through with the showers stopping in about 20 mins and then with some amount of water evacuation both the tents were fairly sleepable. Which is a long winded way of saying that we didn’t even get to the waterfall. Where by the way, there are excellent spots to camp.
The next morning we woke up as refreshed as we could’ve been in the circumstances. But again, we didn’t go all the way up to the waterfalls. For those interested, the trek begins at Bandaje. This is near Ujire and Dharamasthala. You’ll need to call up Narayana Gowda, whose farm is at the base of the trek who’ll then arrange for one his trusted lieutenants Vasu to come with you. The actual trek is from Bandaje to Ballalrayana durga to Sunkashale. Or the other way around. Because the elephant grass between Bandaje Arbi and Ballalrayana durga was not cut, we were hesitant to go all the way over to Sunkashale. Like all places remote, transport to and from your entry and exit points are minimal so you’ll need to make arrangements.
And yeah, try not going when the leeches are feasting.