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Journal #17: Folks Create Bandaje Magic!

Updated: Aug 15, 2021

Travel Log #11

A Roller Coaster Trek to Meet the Crest of Bandaje Arbi

Location: Chikmagalur

Altitude: 700m

Surmounted on: 7th August Saturday 2021

Everything seem normal before the Magic happens...

Alrighty then! The eighth trek of mine and the fourth trek with BMC was prefixed to be Bandaje Arbi Trek because the other desired trekking destinations of mine weren't available due to the ongoing COVID pandemic situation. It was a pity to come to know that the majority of the other group members of this trip had initially signed up for a different one like Kodachadri, Kudremukh etc, but then because of the non-availability of the respective locations they had to be subsumed into Bandaje Arbi Trek. Well, guess what? It was not unfortunate for them, it was indeed their blessing in disguise!

With twenty five in number, we set out for the journey with many doubts as most of us didn't had any idea of how this particular trek is going to be; it wasn't a famous one. The ice breaking introduction session in vehicle, during transit, right after the dinner, paved way for banter and foreshadowed glimpses of many strong friendships that were to be forged in the coming days. We reached an endearing base camp home stay called Durgada Halli, that was a few kilometres away from the trek starting point and took a quick power nap.

Magic comes in different ways...

Incidentally, the story of 'HomeStays with Pets' continued in Bandaje as well for we were greeted with two languid but irresistible dogs at this stay too; they were too lazy to move but too cute to resist cuddling. We refreshed and came down to an amusing breakfast menu wherein I tasted the first of it's kind that I ever had, a weird dish - Kadubu, the Rice Balls. The combination of Kadubu and Sambar was simply delectable and I couldn't resist myself from consuming the perfectly spherical rice balls.

Before even I could overcome the overwhelming breakfast, to proceed to the trek entry point we were packed into the cargo bed of a jeep wherein we were made to stand like cattle during transportation. Now just stop! Did you think of seeing myriads and myriads of cows or goats being stuffed into cargo bed of a truck, not being able to move even an inch and made to endure the pain and suffering of the transportation? Your imagination is right but your conception is wrong! It was not suffering, it was enjoyment. We enjoyed the ride! It was exactly the same scenario, many people stuffed into the truck, standing with no space to move around, holding each other to balance ourselves but with rain drops getting heavier and muddy tar roads becoming bumpy, the experience was absolutely enjoyable and spectacular. I wondered, definitely even the cattle must enjoy these kind of jam-packed rides. Anyways, with this great experience we started the trek at high levels of enthusiasms.

Well, I have no Issues with Leeches Anymore!

Apparently, the leech issue persisted in Bandaje too since the monsoon was still active. But my empirical evidence collected from Kodachadri Trek gave me nothing but sheer audacity to face the leeches with a simple solution that I had identified: DETTOL. The medicinal liquid simply doesn't allow any leeches near the proximity of its presence. It is 'The Panacea', when it comes to leech troubles. And I achieved the feat of trekking at monsoon with no leeches yet again for the second time, at Bandaje, the previous feat being at Kodachadri.

Is Bandaje considered to be a trekking hill?

Ah, Yes and No!

Firstly, is it a hill? - Definitely.

Is it a trek? - Definitely.

Is it a trekking hill? - No.

You see at Bandaje we trek the hill but we do not have a peak to surmount. Instead we have the comely crest of a beautiful waterfall that begins at the district of Chikmagalur and falls into the district of Dakshina Kannada. So, we do get the opportunity of trekking here which is like a roller coaster ride with the trail ascent in tantamount to the descent but this goes on as an iterative path till the crest of the water falls. Therefore, you may imagine Bandaje simply as a roller coaster hill.

I must say the trek was indeed exacting and the meadows in between the ascent and descent were quite astonishing and breathtaking. Ignoring the fall, the crest of the Bandaje Arbi seemed like a regular mountain stream but with the fall which is about 200 meters high, the view was enchanting and exuberant. There was a perilous point near the edge which had a 'Cursed' place at which each and every one of the species, so called Homo sapiens, who had visited and were visiting, took a picture. You can't blame Homo sapiens for they have a knack of getting into dangerous spots for the purpose of survival at ancestral times. In this era, the purpose has changed; it's for Selfies!

People Create Magic and the Magic was Mafia!

There were no appropriate places to have our lunches and the rain gods showed no mercy. We sat down in rocks and had our packed lunches. Immediately then, we commenced the return hike and it was the same case of repetitive ascent and descent. We took a deviation to check out a beautiful view point - a dilapidated fort with profuse greenery, thanks to the monsoon, which looked colourful and picturistic that tempted me to take couple of my own snaps. The once strongly fortified but now derelict walls of the fort were formidable and looked like the Great China Wall. I wished I could imagine how this fort looked at it's apex times. Reaching the home stay, I was now conscious of achieving yet another feat which I had missed out at Kodachadri to my utter dismay - playing Mafia with a larger group of people. Indeed, with the strategy that I had learned from Chanakya - Create the impression before the impact, I was able to contrive and summon a vast number of people for playing the game MAFIA after a heavy palatable dinner. And you can guess what happened next? We ended up playing the game beyond midnight with so much enjoyment, camaraderie and banters. The net result - the simplistic trip had overwhelmed each and every member of the group, bringing us together in every way it could and etched an everlasting memory in our brains. My buddies had forgot about their Kudremukh and Kodachadri bookings and only wished that there was more time to enjoy the occasion further. When Beautiful Hearts meet at one point, People indeed Create Magic. Not necessarily Mafia though!

The camaraderie and the games continued in the return bus journey. With COVID restrictions stringent at Bangalore we planned and reached the city earlier even before dusk could set on. And with heartfelt adios, we parted our own ways.

Bandaje Oh Bandaje,

I came with an empty mind.

You showed me an Arbi.

You gave me many buddies.

And left me breathless too.

I will return for a tryst with you again,

Bandaje Oh Bandaje!

Check out my Bandaje Arbi Trek Gallery here.

Watch MTR Episode on Bandaje Arbi Trek from MWM channel

MaddiE's Bandaje Gallery

MaddiE's Note:

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