Savandurga from Base

Savandurga Trek

Trekking to Savandurga is a different experience altogether and I must say a trekker’s life is incomplete without completing the Savandurga trek.

Details of Savandurga Trek

Total distance : 4 to 5 kms (both ways)

Level of difficulty : Easy

Time duration : 4 hours in total

Permission required ?: No. But you can also book a guide through myecotrip website by paying 250 rs. You will get a guide along with you.

Details about Savandurga

Savanadurga is the largest monolith in Asia . Located at a distance of around 60 kms from the city Bengaluru, savanadurga is a center of attraction for pilgrims and adventurists . Savanadurga which provides a unique experience of trekking the single stone surely deserves a top place in their bucket list for the trekkers in Bangalore.

Savandurga from the base
Savandurga from the base
How to reach Savanadurga?

Reaching savanadurga should be of the least thing to bother as there are direct buses from majestic Bangalore . The bus with route number 241-A directly drops you at the Lakshmi narasimha swamy temple which is where the trail of the trek starts.

One can also choose to travel on their own vehicle. The place is located near magadi . One can reach there via magadi road or through the kengeri road and then Manchinbelle road.

Experience :
Reaching Savandurga

Our plan was to reach savanadurga by 4 am and reach the peak by 6 am or 6.30 and watch the sunrise. As a part of preparation, I googled trying to find every possible information about savanadurga and most importantly, is trekking allowed before 6 am as most of the treks are either banned or require forest permission. Unable to get a clear information we decided to start late and reach the base camp by 6 am.

As planned, we started from Bangalore around 5 and keyed savanadurga in the Google maps. The google lady suggested to take the route of kengeri but we missed taking a left near Nayandhalli and were forced to choose magadi road. On the way we picked some biscuits and water bottle . After travelling for nearly an hour , Google lady asked us to take left .

As I took left, we entered into a small village with not so good road. In couple of mins we reached a place in the village where it did scare us for a while.

Scary road in a village on the way to Savandurga
Scary road in a village on the way to Savandurga

Finally taking the guidance of the villager (thanks to the aunt who woke up early)we reached the base camp. We choose to have a breakfast before starting our trek.

From Savandurga to Peak

After breakfast we started our trek around 6.30 . As I looked at the mammoth stone , I was thrilled to trek. This was surely going to be a different experience in my short trekking life. As we started climbing, we watched the sunrise (sun had already risen but thanks to the clouds it appeared as though we are watching the sunrise ).

Sunrise during Savandurga trek
Sunrise during Savandurga trek

We realized it is unlike other treks where you have a ascend, flat surface and even descend at times. Savandurga trek offered no flat or ascend until we reached the 90%.

Pic of Savandurga while trekking
Pic of Savandurga while trekking
Machinbelle from savandurga
Machinbelle from savandurga

we made sure to take rest every now and then and keep ourselves hydrated. We reached the peak in about 2 hours with lot of breaks in between. After spending sometime at the peak we headed back and took roughly 1.5 hours to reach the base.

Suggestion for Savanadurga Trek
  • Like I mention in every trek, starting the trek early has an added advantage of less crowd, less heat, savanadurga makes no exception.
  • Take water. There is no water source. Take enough energy bars such as snickers
  • Trekking shoes are always mandatory.
  • There is no forest permission required and I have gathered the information from the local villagers that few people start at 2 in the night to witness the sunrise.

Check out more trekking destinations near Bangalore

Hidlumane Falls

Hidlumane Falls

Hidlumane falls, located in the Mookambika reserve forest in the shivamogga district is one of the famous waterfalls in Karnataka.

Details of the Hidlumane Falls:

Hidlumane falls is not just one waterfall but a series of cascading waterfalls. Each waterfall is a beauty in its own. Each waterfall is hidden from the cascading fall. The last hidlumane falls gives an enthralling experience to the visitor and to get under this waterfall which is falling from 40 to 50 ft is a totally an experience you cherish for the rest of your life.

How To Reach Hidlumane Falls

Hidlumane falls is secluded in the western ghats and there is no easy way to reach here than trekking.

Trek to Hidlumane Falls

Trekking to hidlumane waterfalls is a wonderful experience for all the adventureres . The trail starts from two places : Nittur and Sampekatte.

Total distance of the trek : 4 KMS(one way)

Time taken : 2 hours (one way)

Entry fee: 25 RS per head

Details of trek to Hidlumane Falls

The trek trail starts from sampekatte with a normal mud road on which all the jeeps go to Kodachadri . After around 1.5kms from Sampekatte , there is a deviation from the Jeep road to the right. But, one has to walk a few meters in the direction of Jeep road , pay the forest fees and come back.

Jeep Route From Sampekatte to Hildumanen falls
Jeep Route From Sampekatte to Hildumane falls

As one deviates from the Jeep track, there is a small stream of water that needs to be crossed . Crossing this stream of water is quite challenging during the monsoon. After crossing the stream of water, one has to trek through the jungles with a considerable ascend. The trek through this part is quite enthralling as you explore into the deep forest .

Trek in the forest to Hidlumane falls
Trek in the forest to Hidlumane falls

After nearly an hour of trek, you will reach a flat surface where plenty of paddy crops are grown and a small house awaits you in the backdrop of the mountains. The house is the hidlumane. Mane stands for home in Kannada. There is a small shop run by the hidlumane family where one can buy biscuits, chocolates etc. One can also taste the buttermilk which rejuvenates you after the trek.

Hidlumane
Hidlumane

This is also the place where the trek from the Nittur route joins . From this distance , hidlumane is hardly 30 minutes of trek . One would start feeling awarded as he sees the first waterfall but after proceeding the trek for 5 more minutes , Hidlumane falls would sure to make the trekker spellbound.

It is quite common that the trekkers continue to trek to Kodachadri after completing the Hidlumane falls. One has to trek through 8 Kms to reach Kodachadri from the falls. We trekked till Kodachadri and you can read about the details here.

Dudhsagar Waterfalls

Trek to Dudhsagar: Not a Trek But a Beautiful Long Walk

Ever since I have watched the Chennai Express movie, I wanted to visit Dudhsagar waterfalls. And I am sure this would be in the list of every traveler. With my newly added hobby of trekking, trek to Dudhsagar was what I was looking for from past couple of months. And finally I was at Dudhsagar waterfalls. Thanks to the wonderful organizing by the Bangalore AdventuRers with whom I choose to trek to Dudhsagar after an amazing experience in the night trek to Skandagiri

Bangalore to Londa:

With lot of excitement to trek to Dudhsagar and to enjoy the sea of milk, we boarded the Rani Chennama train to Londa Junction from Bangalore. The train scheduled to reach Londa junction around 7 AM in the morning and the last thing we wanted was a delay in the train. Luckily, the train arrived Londa junction on time which provided us the ample of time to finish our breakfast.

Picture of Train arriving at Londa junction
Picture of Train arriving at Londa junction
Londa To Kulem

We then traveled from Londa junction to Kulem station in Chennai Vasaco Da gama express in general compartment. As the train entered in to the thick forest making its way through the tunnels, we kept mesmerizing the beauty struggling to find a word to explain the beautiful nature. Travelling through the tunnels was quite a refreshing experience for me after nearly 6 years.

Train journey from Kulem to Dudhsagar
Train journey from Kulem to Dudhsagar

There were total of 16 tunnels and after every tunnel, our eyes busied themselves in the search of the Dudhsagar falls. And when we crossed the 11th tunnel, the mighty waterfalls was to our left. Every passenger in the train moved to their eyes to the left. The train slowed down allowing us to get a glimpse of the the Dudhsagar waterfalls but I was highly disappointed looking at the water level. It was the September 3rd week ; monsoon was not over yet but the falls had reduced to a great level. Anyways, within 10 minutes, we reached our destination Kulem station, where our guide awaited us for the trek to begin.

Kulem Railway station: Starting point of Dudhsagar trek
Kulem Railway station: Starting point of Dudhsagar trek
The Trek to Dudhsagar Begins:

After a bit of warm up and some stretches to our rusted body parts, we entered the jungle with a bit of ascend.

We crossed the railway track and entered the jungle again and in another 5 minutes we were on a broad mud road: the road that was meant for the Jeep safari. And From that point till the waterfalls it was just a long walk with no ascend or descend which is why I decided to call it as not a trek but a long walk. The walk in the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary was surely exciting where we witnessed different types of flowers, we crossed multiple streams of water and also saw a snake.

Trek to Dudhsagar: Walking in Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary
Trek to Dudhsagar: Walking in Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary
Flower
Flower
Crossing a stream of water while trekking to Dudhsagar
Crossing a stream of water while trekking to Dudhsagar

After walking nearly 8 KMS, we reached a home stay where we had our delicious lunch and a small break of 15 minutes.

We continued our walk after a small break to reach the bottom of the Dudhsagar waterfalls .

Dudhsagar waterfalls Entrance
Dudhsagar waterfalls Entrance

We spent some time there: few of them taking pictures with the mighty Dudhsagar waterfalls in the background, few of them enjoyed in the water and I kept gazing at the Dudhsagar waterfalls. Here was I, completing one of the most wanted trek. I wish I had arrived a month before to witness the falls flowing to its glory.

Night Stay At Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary:

We came back to the home stay where we had our lunch which was our abode for the night. The experience of staying in small house amidst the thick forest was surely an adventure. The dinner was as delicious as lunch and we slept with a full stomach.

home stay-during-Dudhsagar-trek
home stay-during-Dudhsagar-trek

Next day we took an early to Londa and from Londa to Bangalore with loads of memories.

Suggestions to Trek To Dudhsagar:
  • Trek to Dudhsagar is allowed only through the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary. The trek route of walking on the railway through the tunnels from the Castle Rock station is officially banned. There are enough policemen making sure you cannot escape.
  • I would suggest trek to Dudhsagar through some trekking clubs. The facilities in the location are not very great and you need to dig deep to reach there. Here is an article explaining everything about Dudhsagar that I could gather. Even if you try to explore on your own to save some penny, the chances you might not is more
  • Trekking shoes are optional. Your normal sports shoes suffice the need as the path is mostly a walk. I had trouble walking through the trekking shoes.
  • Plan your trek in July or August when the waterfalls is flowing to its maximum capacity.
Other details

Total trek distance : 12kms one way

Nearest railway station : Kulem

Forest charges : Applicable. Local guide will take care . You night have to pay extra for camera

Trek on Railway Track allowed ?: No

Best time to visit : During monsoon. A pure monsoon trek to enjoy the full view of Dudhsagar

Total time : 4 to 5 hours

 

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Skandagiri hill

Night Trek to Skandagiri

It was nearly 2 months I had done my last trekking Pangarchulla and the urge to go back and climb the mountain was increasing in me. The feeling in accomplishing the trek is totally different and I am sure every trekker can relate to it. On a fine day, I came across a post by Bangalore Adventures about the Night trek to Skandagiri.

Having heard from few of my friends that night trek is banned in Skandagiri, I looked at the post with suspicion. On the other side, the trekker in me was elated to experience as the dream of night trek to Skandagiri to witness the sunrise was possible now. After reading the complete post by the organizers, I was assured that the night trek(I would be more right if I call it as early morning trek) is legal with forest permission. Since it involved the forest permission and also in the night, I decided myself not to miss the opportunity.

On a Saturday night 11 PM, we arrived near the Majestic(Kempegowda bus stand) where the mini buses were ready for us to take the base camp of Skandagiri – Kalavara Durga. There were 2 groups named as Group 7 and Group 8 – 20 in each of them. We left Bangalore around midnight and reached Kalavara durga which is where our base camp was there.

Skandagiri which is located at around 70 KMS from Bangalore requires approximately 1 and half an hour to reach the base camp Kalavara Durga. As forest department allows us to start the trek only after 4 AM, we were forced to kill the time. Organizers conducted some team activity which helped to pass the next 2 and half hours.

As the clock was about to tick 4 AM, we started the trek. Within a few meters, we were at the forest check post. After quickly undergoing the check, the trek to Skandagiri started. Within a couple of minutes, the trail got steeper. The moonlight due to just completed full-moon day helped us to enjoy the trek without our torch. After nearly half an hour of trek, we were getting into the thick forest. The moon was helpless so were we. Few switched on the torch and others walked in the same path.

Entering into the thick forest of Skandagiri
Entering into the thick forest of Skandagiri

After the forest adventure, we then had to climb the mighty rocks.

Steps while trekking Skandagiri
Steps while trekking Skandagiri
Thick rocks during the Skandagiri trek
Thick rocks during the Skandagiri trek

Trekking through all the tough terrain in the dark was a new experience and fun. We took around 2 hours 15 mins to reach the top. The trek took a little longer as there were 40 of us and it was ensured that no one is left far behind. We reached the top around 6.15 and we were happy to make it before sunrise. However, the happiness was ephemeral as we realized the clouds forming and sun happily hiding behind them

Glipmse of Sun from Skandagiric
Glipmse of Sun from Skandagiri
View of cloud movement from Skandagiri
View of cloud movement from Skandagiri

Although disappointed for not getting sunrise view, the fact of trekking in the dark for the first time was something soothing.

We had samosa and also Soan papadi before we started to descend. On the way back we realized how big were the rocks that we actually climbed. It took us around 1 hour 45 mins to descend. After having a heavy breakfast, our target was to reach Bangalore and cover for the sleep of last night. I slept for continuous 8 hours 😀 had dinner and then again slept rejoicing the trek.

Here are few details of Skandagiri Trek

Total distance of the trek: 4 KMS

Total time taken: Approx 2 hours to ascend

Permission required? : Yes, from Forest department of Karnataka

How to take the permission? : Visit MyEcotrip

Fees applicable? : Yes, 250 Rs

Reporting Timings: Trek is allowed only from 4 AM to 9: 30 AM. You are supposed to finish the trek by 17:00

Difficulty level : Easy

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View of Lepakshi temple from the backside

6 Wonders 2 Stories and 1 Place : Lepakshi

.It was long pending to Visit Lepakshi temple – Veerabhadra swamy temple : at least from one year. We finally had an opportunity to visit the place and if I have to describe the place Lepakshi, I would say a place of great importance in architecture and also to the great epic Ramayana. Located at just around 120 KMS from Bangalore, we decided to make it a one-day trip to Lepakshi.

We started from Bangalore around 8 AM after an early breakfast and reached Lepakshi in around 2 hours. By 11 AM or around 11:15 AM, we entered the temple. As we entered the temple, I went looking for a guide. After my visit to Halebidu, I have realized one thing very clearly: for historical places a guide is a must and I was proven right again this time. Within seconds of our hunt, we got a guide named Virupanna(co-incidentally Virupanna is also the name of the person who built the temple). We asked him the fees and he replied with a sweet smile ‘We do not demand anything as fees. Any amount you give is fine’. We happily agreed and he started his explanation of the temple. Although the explanation of the temple is very much difficult to pen down, I try to put the most important things which seemed as wonders to me and my friends.

Wonder 1: Sita’s Foot mark

Since the crowd moving in the direction was clockwise, he chose us to take anti-clockwise. Due to this, the first wonder we saw was the foot marks of Sita Devi and the continuous flow of water coming from the foot mark. There is a story related to this and I have pen down in the 2 stories section.

Sita's foot mark in Lepakshi
Sita’s foot mark in Lepakshi

Wonder 2: Half constructed Kalyana Mantapa

As he progressed, he took us to the Kalyana Mantapa where the architects depicted the arrangements of the marriage of Shiva and Parvati. The Kalyana mantapa has many pillars and on each pillar one of the god has been depicted indicated their presence at the marriage. We noticed the Kalyana Mantapa did not have any roof only after Virupanna told us. The reason why the Kalayana Mantapa is left without roof comes in the story 2 which is explained below.

Roofless Kalyana Mantapa at Lepakshi
Roofless Kalyana Mantapa at Lepakshi

Wonder 3: Shivalinga guarded by Hooded Snake

As we came at the backside of the temple, we saw a huge hooded snake guarding the Shivalinga. The story behind this is what made me call this as a wonder. The architect came hungry to his mother who was cooking. The kitchen is exactly opposite to this wonder created. He approached the kitchen and asked his mother to serve him food. As the food was not ready, his mother answered him that the food isn’t ready and would need around 1 hour. The architect came out disappointed but to divert his mind from hunger and also thinking not to waste 1 hour of time, he created the hooded snake in that one hour. The snake covers the Shiva linga in the center. As the mother finished her preparation, she came out to call her son for lunch and was taken aback in shock looking at the creation of her son in such a short span of time. Due to this, the Hooded snake has a crack in the right side. It is said that it is caused due to the matru drusthi.

Hooded snake in lepakshi
Hooded snake in lepakshiyou

Wonder 4: The hanging pillar

As we came back to close to the entrance of the temple, we saw what is famously known as Hanging pillar. There are 873 pillars in the entire veerabhadra swamy temple. However, what makes this pillar stand apart is that the pillar is hanging. Meaning the pillar has no base. The pillar is not grounded completely. The gap between the ground and the pillar is clearly visible and we demonstrated moving a hand-kerchief beneath the pillar like every other visitor. You can watch the video below.

We were yet to come out of the amazement of the hanging pillar and Virupanna told us a mesmerizing story. He said the entire temple is based on this hanging pillar. the temple was in 1530. However, in the year 1902, the British came here, unable to control the curiosity wanted to test the pillar. They tried to move the pillar a bit and as the pillar moved slightly, they noticed the other pillars which were straight tilted as shown in the below pic. With an apprehension that moving this pillar might cause a breakdown of the entire temple, they immediately stopped their experiment.

Wonder 5: Nandi

If you are going to Lepakshi from Bangalore by road, you would see a huge Nandi 1 KM before the Lepakshi temple. The Nandi here is the biggest monolithic Nandi in India. Built with a dimension of 27 feet Length and 15 feet height, Nandi is undoubtedly a wonder. You also notice the Nandi is slightly tilted in the direction of temple Veerabhadra temple i.e. Lepakshi temple. Just few years back, if you would stand near the right ear of the Nandi and look in the direction of the face of Nandi, you would see the Shivalinga horded with a serpent which is nothing but our wonder 3.

Wonder 6: Building of temple

Another wonder is that the entire temple is built on a single stone. The stone was in the shape of tortoise. There is no basement for the entire temple. Hence you can see that the walls here are inter-locked so as to provide support to themselves.

Now let us move to the 2 stories related to Lepakshi

Two Stories that define Lepakshi:

Story 1:

The bird Jatayu was fighting with the Ravana when Ravana tried to abduct Sita devi. Ravana killed one of the wings of the bird Jatayu due to which the bird fell down. Seeing the struggle of the bird, Sita devi put her foot on the rock and the water started flowing helping the bird Jatayu to drink water. in the meantime, Lord Ram came to the place and after hearing the story said ‘Le Pakshi’ which translates to get up bird and so came the name.

Story 2:

There is another legend behind the name Lepakshi. Nirupanna, the treasurer of the Penukonda region built the The Veerabhadra temple. Several ministers complained to the King accusing that Nirupanna is wasting the money on building the temple. Agitated with this news, King ordered to make the Nirupanna blind. As Nirupanna heard the news, he decided to punish himself rather than being humiliated in the Kingdom. He pulled out his eyes from his own hands and thrown on one of the wall. In the early 20th century

The blood marks can be seen on the wall.  In the early 20th century, British conducted a test and certified it was the actual blood of a human being thus verifying the story. Since then, the place came to known as Lepa – Akshi meaning a place of blinded eye.

The construction of the temple was almost done and only the roof of the Kalyana Mantapa was pending. As Nirupanna became blind, the construction was stopped completely and this is why the Kalyana Mantapa doesn’t have a roof till today.

Other Small Attractions:

Apart from these, there are many noticeable work in the entire architecture of the temple. We managed to capture few.

Statue of Shiva
Statue of Shiva
Bird Jatayu just before Lepakshi
Bird Jatayu just before Lepakshi
Huge statue of Ganpathi at Lepakshi
Huge statue of Ganpathi at Lepakshi

Reaching Lepakshi:

Located at around 120 KMS from Bangalore, Lepakshi is a one-day trip from the city Bengaluru.

By Air:

The nearest airport is Bengaluru International Airport. It is around 100 KMS from the airport. One has to hire a taxi to reach this place from Bangalore.

By Train:

The nearest station to Lepakshi is Hindapur which is around 14 KMS from Lepakshi. From Hindapur, There are frequent buses to Bangalore and one can board these buses and get down at Lepakshi

By Bus:

There are plenty of buses reaching this place from Bangalore. Board any Hindapur bus and you would be in front of the temple in just a couple of hours.

As always, going by own vehicle is always the available option. One has to travel around 100 KMS on Bangalore Hyderabad National highway and take a left just after Bagepalli.

View of Pangarchulla from its base

Pangarchulla Peak Summit (15070 Ft) : My First Himalyan Trek!!

After nearly 3 months, we started (7 of us) our most anticipated adventurous trip from Bangalore to Pangarchulla Peak Summit on April 27th. We took a connecting flight from Bangalore to Dehradun Via Delhi. We stayed at Hotel Queens Pearl Inn in Dehradun. The hotel was good enough for an overnight stay.

Day 0:

Our next day, I call it as Day 0 as this was part of trekking days but we actually travelled in a 4 wheeler. We had a prior booking through Bikat Adventures to reach from Dehradun to Joshimath. Bikat had arranged a vehicle for us which started from Dehradun Bus station for which they charged us around 1200 per head. On the way to Joshimath, we saw DevaPrayag and Rudra Prayag. DevaPrayag is where Bhagirathi meets Alakananda and becomes Ganges. RudraPrayag is where Alakananda meet Mandakini river.

DevaPrayag : The confluence of Bhagirathi and Alakananda

DevaPrayag : The confluence of Bhagirathi and Alakananda

It was 8PM by the time we reached Joshimath. Hotel Snow Crest was booked for us in Joshimath by Bikat. Minutes after we checked in, we met our Trek Leaders Kamal and Lalit who became our friends and Family for the next 4 days.

After a brief introduction, Trek leader Kamal gave us briefing about the entire trekking plan. A surprising thing was Kamal also provided a demo on How to Pack your backpack. It helped many of my friends who had packed their bag just like any other pack. He also gave a demo on how to pick your backpack so that we put less strain on our one part of the body. This was especially helpful for me as I was lifting in a wrong way subjecting myself more probable to the injury. After the briefing we went to our respective rooms and re-arranged our luggage. Hotel provided us some space to keep the extra luggage which was not needed for trekking.

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