Ballalarayana Durga Fort

Ballalarayana Durga Fort

Ballalarayana Durga Fort

If you are looking for a trekking destination that combines history, adventure and nature, you might want to consider Ballarayanadurga which is 55 Kms from Mekanagadde Homestay in Chikmagalur. This is a ruined fort located in the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka, surrounded by lush green forests and grasslands. The fort was built by the Hoysala king Veera Ballala I in the 12th century and offers a glimpse of the ancient Karnata Dravida style of architecture. The fort also overlooks the spectacular Bandaje Arbi falls, which plunge from a height of over 1000 feet.

To reach Ballalarayana Durga, you need to trek through a dense forest section that is home to various birds and insects. The forest trail is short but scenic and leads you to the open grasslands that resemble the meadows of the Himalayas. The grasslands are a delight to walk on, especially during the monsoons when they are covered with fresh greenery. The trek is not very difficult and can be done by anyone with a moderate level of fitness.

Bandaje Falls Trek

Bandaje Falls Trek
Bandaje Falls Trek

The highlight of the trek is the view of the Bandaje Arbi falls from the snout. This is a rare sight that will leave you spellbound. You can see the water cascading down from a great height and creating a misty cloud at the bottom. The sound of the waterfall is soothing and relaxing. You can also explore the ruins of the fort and admire its ancient design and structure.

The Bandaje Falls Trek is a captivating journey through the Western Ghats of Karnataka, offering trekkers a blend of historical and natural attractions. This trek is a combination of two distinct paths: the Ballalarayana Durga and Bandaje Arbi treks, which together reveal the rich tapestry of the region’s landscape. The trek begins with the exploration of the 17th-century Ballalarayana Durga Fort, built by the Hoysala King Veera Ballala I, which stands as a testament to the area’s historical significance. As adventurers ascend, they are greeted by the lush Shola grasslands, reminiscent of the Himalayan meadows, which turn a vibrant green during the monsoons, enhancing the trek’s scenic beauty.

The trek’s highlight is the Bandaje Falls, also known as Bandaje Arbi, where the water cascades down approximately 200 feet, creating a breathtaking spectacle. The view from the snout of the waterfall is particularly heart-stopping, as one can witness the water’s journey to the ground below. This trek is classified as Easy-Moderate, making it accessible to a wide range of trekkers, from beginners to the experienced, with some preparation. The best time to undertake this trek is during the monsoon and winter months when the landscape is at its most vibrant.

Reaching the Bandaje Falls requires a trek of about 6-7 km, which can take around 7-8 hours for a round trip. The initial section of the trek passes through dense forest, filled with the scents of flora and fauna, before opening up to the grasslands and eventually leading to the falls. The trek is not only a physical journey but also an immersive experience in the biodiversity of the Western Ghats, offering trekkers a chance to witness a variety of insects, birds, and flora along the way.

For those looking to embark on the Bandaje Falls Trek, it is advisable to start early to catch the sunrise from the Ballalarayana Durga Fort, which provides majestic views, especially during the monsoon months. The trek cannot be completed in a single day from Bangalore, as reaching the base village takes about 7-8 hours. Therefore, it is recommended to plan the trek over a weekend, staying at one of the local homestays near the start point.

In summary, the Bandaje Falls Trek is a journey that combines the allure of ancient ruins, the tranquility of nature, and the thrill of adventure. It is a trek that promises to leave participants with a sense of accomplishment and a collection of memories of Karnataka’s lesser-known secrets.

Ballalarayana Durga is a trek that offers a unique experience of history, nature and adventure. It is a perfect weekend getaway for those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy some tranquility and beauty in the Western Ghats.


Ballalarayana Durga is a trek that combines history, nature and adventure. Some of the highlights of this trek are:

  • A ruined fort that dates back to the 12th century, built by the Hoysala king Veera Ballala I and his wife
  • A hilltop that offers a panoramic view of the surrounding Western Ghats
  • Dense forests and grasslands that are home to various flora and fauna
  • Bandaje Arbi, a spectacular waterfall that plunges from a height of 1000 feet. The waterfall is visible only during the monsoon season and is considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Karnataka. The waterfall can be reached by a steep and slippery descent from the snout of the hill.
  • The ancient Kalabyraveshwara temple at the base of the fort

If you are an avid trekker and a lover of nature, you should not miss this trek that will leave you spellbound with its scenic splendor and historical significance.