Bandaje Falls Treks | Ballalarayana Durga

Highest Altitude: 1493 m (4900 ft)

Location: Kudremukh National Park/ Belthangady

State/Country: Karnataka / India

Base Village: Durgadahalli

Total Distance: 18km (Return)

Number of Days: 1 Day

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Bandaje falls is located in Belthangady Taluk of Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka. The trek to Bandaje falls can be done from Belthangady (The base of the waterfall) or from Durgadahalli (The top of the waterfall). The trail from Durgadahalli is popular. On this trek, immerse yourself in the lush green surroundings of the western ghats and visit an ancient fort on the way. Bandaje falls trek is therefore an interesting package of nature and history. Here are the details on this trek.

Plan Your Trek

Best time to Trek

The best time to trek in the western ghats is during the monsoon or just after. The entire region turns green and the waterfalls are flow in abundance. A trek during the months of July, August and September would be extremely rewarding. However, you can do this trek year-round.  


To do this trek you will have to pay an entry fee of Rs 250. This can be done at the forest Checkpost, at the beginning of the trail. You can also pre-book your trek on the following website – Karnataka Eco Tourism


This trek can be a weekend getaway from Bangalore. Here is a rough plan that you could use and modify it as you wish. 

Friday night: Travel to Sunkasalle, Durgadahalli or Kottegehara cross and Stay in a lodge / Homestay.

Saturday (Around 7AM): Drive to the Forest Checkpost and begin your trek to Bandaje falls and Ballalarayana fort at or before 8AM. 

Saturday (Around 5 PM): Return back to Homestay.

Sunday: Explore Kodige Falls, Kyatanamakki or the temples of Belur-Halebidu and return back to Bangalore by night.  


How To Get There?

If you are taking a bus, then board a bus to Chikkamagaluru. On the way, get off at Sunkasale. At Sunkasale, look for some local auto-rickshaw or jeep to drop you off at Durgadahalli or directly at the trek starting point. Alternatively, you can also drive to Kottigehara cross, then take a local bus to Sunksale and then a jeep ride to trek start point. 

If you plan to reach there on your own vehicle, then you have to turn left at Sunkasale. Bandaje falls trek start point is 4km from the main road and 21km from Kottigehara cross. 

Where to Stay?

There are several homestays on the road from Sunksalle to Durgadhalli. I would recommend Durgadahalli homestay. (Sanjay – 7795754335). They charge around Rs2000 per head per night, with food included. 

If you want to travel budget, then you will find lodges in Kottigehara cross. You can stay there overnight and drive 30mins next morning to reach the trek start point.

Things to Carry

Well, like for any other trek, you have to go prepared. Special attention is required if you are doing Bandaje falls trek during the monsoon. I have put together a list of things you must carry  – 

  • A good trekking shoe is a must. 
  • Water bottle (2lt or more)
  • Packed lunch and snacks. 
  • Waterproof jacket or poncho during rainy season. 
  • Some salt to chase away the leeches during rainy season.
  • Sunscreen lotion or Hat 
  • Flash light in case of emergency
  • Day pack to store all the things
  • Waterproof covers for your bags

The Trail

The trail begins near Rani Jhari viewpoint. Soak in the magnificent views at this location for a while before beginning the trek to Bandaje falls. 

The initial stretch passes through a jungle. Occasionally, you get a view of the Ballalarayana durga (fort) at a distance. 

After crossing this dense forest, you reach the grasslands. Here, you will find a left deviation towards Ballalarayana durga. My suggestion would be to continue your trek to Bandaje falls and  visit the fort while returning. 

The trail continues through the meadows and goes up and down a few hills. The trail might seem never-ending at a point but keep going. The onward journey is easy and mostly flat or a descent. There are some sign boards on the way. But, I would recommend that you download an offline map and follow the trail towards the waterfall. Sometimes, the mist covers the entire trail and multiple routes can misguide you. 

After a steep descent filled with gravel, you reach a dead-end where the Bandaje waterfall takes a plunge of 200 feet to reach Dakshina Kannada and eventually make its way to join the sea. Relax for an hour or more and soak in the beauty of this location before heading back. 

The return journey is what makes this trek a moderate level. All the descent that brought you to the waterfall now transforms into a steep ascent. After about 5km trek, just before the forest area, you will reach the deviation to the fort; this time on your right. 

A short but steep climb up a hill will take you to Ballalarayana Durga. The views from the fort are spectacular. 

During the Monsoon, the entire region is covered in mist and sometimes makes it difficult to view the trail lead. But this would only make your experience more interesting. 

Other Treks Nearby

If you are staying here longer and would want to do more treks in the region, here are a few interesting treks in the Kudremukh national park  – 

You can book these treks on Kudremukh National Park website. Most homestays can arrange the trek for you as well. 


Other Attractions Nearby

If you are planning a week-end outing, then on the second day, you can visit a couple of places around the region. Here are some of the interesting places. 

  • Kodige Falls
  • Bettada byraveshwara Temple
  • Belur Chennakeshava Temple
  • Halebidu Hoyasaleshwara Temple
  • Javagal
  • Belavadi Veera Narayana Temple
  • Kyathanmakki
  • Sringeri Sharada Peetham
  • Hornadu Annapurneshwari Temple

My Experience 

I trekked Bandaje falls in the end of August. The entire trail was being covered and revealed by the mist. It was truly a magical setting out there. The cloud movement not only contributed to spectacular views but also gave me some great time-lapse shots. I would highly recommend doing this trek during the Monsoon or just after the rains.  

I did find the journey back from a waterfall a bit challenging due to steep climbs. Also, you will be walking back the same trail therefore, there is nothing new to expect. 

We stayed in Durgadahalli homestay and on our way back, stopped at Kodige falls and Halebidu Hoyasaleshwara temple. All in all, it was a refreshing experience. Checkout my film on this trek to know more. 


My Film on Bandaje Falls Trek: