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Journey to Mystic Falls (Trek to Bandaje Arbi)

On a boring afternoon at work while I was struggling to stay awake, the email notification on the screen caught up my attention. Yes!!! You  guessed it right, it was an invitation to register for the Bandaje Arbi trek. My impulsive nature didn’t allow me to think much and I immediately registered for the event.

The day for trekking arrived and it comprised of a small group of 12 wonderful souls. We all had assembled at the pickup point on Friday at 10 pm. With quick intro we boarded the TT around 10.30 pm. The overnight journey was calm and cold.

Day 1:
We reached the Wild View Estate Homestay around 6.30 am. The homestay was in the middle of the Western Ghats amidst lush greenery. We were received warmly by a group of furry buddies and their owner. We were given enough time to freshen up and were asked to assemble for breakfast by  8.am. After a  yummy breakfast we all packed our dabbas for lunch and set out for the day one venture to Bandaje falls. We had hired a jeep to reach the starting point. We had also hired a guide as chances of getting lost in the dense forest was high.

Bandaje is located in the Charmadi Ghat section of Western Ghats . It was a moderately tough trek. After walking for a while through dense and humid path we paused at our first view point Ranibagilu. The view was stunning and it made me feel  for a moment life was still beautiful. After experiencing that panoramic view we continued our uphill journey to Bandaje falls.

While we were halfway through the trek  we spotted a huge Bison crossing our path. We watched it descend and resumed our trek. The path was slippery and people with ‘Grip slip syndrome’ (LOL) had their own struggle.

After trekking for about 9kms we reached the waterfall which is said to be 200ft high .The view was breath- taking and picturesqe. Watching the river Nethravathi fall into lap of lush green Mother Nature was serene and peaceful. After spending ample time at the fall we moved onto have our packed lunch. After a sumptuous lunch we headed towards the Ballarayana Durga fort which was almost 5-6kms from falls.
It was on a flat valley and hide and seek played by the sun had left us all thirsty and tired. We took few breaks and finally reached the fort. Though we could witness only the shattered walls of fort, the view from the fort was spectacular.
After spending enough time in filling our souls with the panoramic view we started our journey down to the base. The trek back to homestay was peaceful and had left us reflect upon the serenity and calmness of the nature. In no time we had reached the homestay and gobbled up the hot bajjis for snacks . After a quick shower and heavy dinner all of us hit the bed and were out cold in no time.

Day 2: Our day 2 began with a morning walk. It had  rained the previous night and the sky was cloudy. Mr. Sun was yet to  take up the charge for the day. The serenity of  nature had revitalized our fatigued  minds and body. The fresh air and sweet smell of flowers instilled a sense of calmness in us. Though it was a short distance walk it filled our souls with positive vibes and fueled us enough for the challenges ahead for the day.
After breakfast, we left for Maidadi view point quickly. The view was stunning, but the scorching sun was punishing.

Our next point was trailing down to Kirigal mane falls. The trail was slippery, and it was not that easy as it seemed. We walked for about 20-30 min and made our way to the waterfalls bouncing off the rock and flowing calmly. It was magical and refreshing. Each one of us found a spot to soak ourselves in the marvelous creation of nature. The feel of waves wash over your back and the sound of water was absolute tranquility. The entire experience left us shivering and hungry. After unloading all the snacks that we had carried in our bags we started our journey back towards homestay.
After reaching and having a  quick shower we played  our usual BTC games MAFIA and UNO while we  waited for lunch to be served. It was soon time to get back to civilization. We packed our bags in silence leaving behind the serenity, calmness and memories. It  was time to bid adieu to the wonderful people at the homestay. The service and their hospitality had been priceless. On our way back, we stopped by a shop and bought some flavoring spices.
Our last destination was the Annapurneshwari Temple at Horanadu. After the darshan of Goddess we had dinner at temple and sat down at the premises to share our valuable feedback. It was a perfect way to end our journey.

The whole journey from start to end was very relaxing and my sincere appreciation all the way to organizers Chaitanya and Sushma who took care of everything and made everything seem so easy.

The whole experience gave a new insight to life, gained me many friends, connections and memories. I will  surely miss the magnificent beauty of nature and I hope my journey does not end here…As the saying goes ‘Every End is a New Beginning’.

Note to All:  Kindly refrain from polluting the trail. It was very disheartening to find so many beer bottles on our way. Please be responsible and carry gunny bags to dispose the bottles. Thank you.

Written By    : Mahalakshmi
Organized By: Sushma & Chaitanya
Date of event: 6th & 7th Oct, 2018
Place            : Kalasa
Pictures        : FB Page

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