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.
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.
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 informationwe 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.
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 ).
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%.
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.
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.
After the forest adventure, we then had to climb the mighty rocks.
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
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
.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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Located at around 120 KMS from Bangalore, Lepakshi is a one-day trip from the city Bengaluru.
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.
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
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.
After completing a one-day trip to Mekedaatu and Chunchi falls, we were damn hungry. As we had crossed Kanakpura, we struggled to find any hotels which could provide us an evening snack. Having lost of all the hopes and almost decided to fill our tummy in Bangalore, we luckily found the Davanagere Benne Dose on the Kanakpura road.
Located next to Venkatadri Kalyan mantap, we almost missed noticing it as the hotel is covered by the trees on the road. Thanks to my co-passenger who noticed and all were extremely happy to find something to eat.
We parked our car and headed to the hotel and only to hear Dose are out of stock. Extremely disappointed, we ask for the available options and could get the Bonda. Without much option but to fill our stomach, we took 2 plates of Bonda. We informed the cashier that if at all there is a chance of getting Dose, keep us in priority.
We started eating the Bonda cursing our luck for not getting the Dose but soon the taste of Bonda made us forget that we did miss Dose. Before we finished the Bonda, we heard the Dose Maker screaming ‘5 more Dose possible’. The cashier immediately searched for us and we made no delay in rushing to the cashier and get 5 Davangere Benne Dose.
We felt overwhelmed as we were finally getting what we desired. Within minutes, the freshly prepared Dose was ready on our table. As we took the first bite, our taste buds got activated. The Dose was delicious. The Butter could have been tad higher but the tasty Masala and the Aloo Palya in the Dose made an impact sidelining the negative point of less Butter or Benne. As we savored the taste of Masala Dose, we looked at the writings which did attract us.
We Enjoyed the Dose along with reading the above sayings. There was one more saying In English but unfortunately we couldn’t capture it. As we filled our tummy, we came back to Bangalore rejoicing the Dose and also the sayings. We have decided to visit the hotel again exclusively for this purpose. We hope to reach there again.
The hotel opens at 7 in the morning. If you are travelling on Kanakapura road, drop a visit here to have your breakfast.