A Fort of Annihilation
Not many know about the Navadurgas or 9 Forts around Bangalore. These Hills Forts which served as Sentinels from Invasions are today abandoned. History of these hills forts or Navadurgas ( Nine Forts ) surprisingly is limited along with the ambiguity about the nine forts and the basis of them being called as Navadurgas. The eight forts out of the nine are namely Savanadurga, Kabbaladurga, Huthridurga, Devarayanadurga, Makalidurga, Channarayanadurga, Nandidurga, and Huliyurdurga. Not much of history of this place is known except that it was built by Kempe Gowda II and later was conquered by Tippu Sultan and the British. Bhairava is a wandering form of Shiva associated with annihilation who guards the cardinal points. Bhairavadurga is toughest of all the climbs. Not much of fort or ramparts to see at the top, but the actual trail leads the hiker through the forests and open lands. Not much of history of this place is known except that it was built by Kempe Gowda II and later was conquered by Tippu Sultan and the British. Bhairava Durga, located at a distance of 60 km from Bengaluru has the legendary Byraveshwara temple dedicated to lord himself and a fort built by Kempegowda. This is a spine-chilling place for trekkers and a view atop of the hill is simply magnificent. The view of Devarakere, Shivagange peak resembling a lingam, Kengal Betta, Greenfields is a feast to eyes!
Surprising 9 Hills
Ombattu Gudda, one of the highest hill ranges of the Western Ghats is located along the borderline of Chikmagalur and Dakshina Kannada. The entire to and fro trekking activity of the peak which derives its name from the Kannada word ‘ombattu’ (meaning 9) and ‘gudda’ (meaning hills) due to its location and appearance is said to be one of the mysterious and challenging treks of Western Ghats. - would cover around 18km over in a day. Thus, the trek is bound to showcase beautiful landscapes all along. You will encounter a lot of streams along the way. The best time to complete the stretch would be before sunset. The trail offers a panoramic view of the entire hill range and the surroundings.
Trek To Buddhas peak : Shingani Gudda
It is one of the major peaks in Charmadi range and is also known as Buddha's Peak. This is a 3 hour trek and being a moderate one, ideal for beginners too. The peak resembles the forehead of elephant and often referred to as gigantic elephant too. One passes through thick jungles adjoining Amedikallu and Sibile Gudda peaks, Minchukallu and Kumbhakallu peaks.
On the Ridge
Tavoor Hills Traverse is one of the lesser known Picturesque treks in Bhagamandala range, Coorg of Karnataka which makes this place one of the perfect weekend trekking destinations from Bangalore. From the summit here offers the best of the scenic views of Coorg. The trail in the Tavoor Hills is also known as Dumachi Gudde by the locals. The trail offers everything that a trekking enthusiasts expectation. On one side during the traverse, it has deep dense forests and streams and on the other there’s a beautiful ridge walk towards the peak. Standing tall on the Tavoor Hill Peak, one can also see the beautiful Kopatty Hill Range. As the legends say, Lord Vishnu, Brahman and Shiva surveyed Talacauvery Hill and Tavooru Hill to decide the origin of the river Cauvery which would then nurture and nourish the surrounding forests and the lives of so many living beings. Bagamandala being the holy Place, trimurthis decided and thus originated here.
OOty of Karnataka
A green patch of forest situated at 3400m above sea level, in the rocky region of Chitradurga - Popularly known as a 7 hill fort in history is a place called Jogimatti. Amidst prevailing heat wave and perennial drought, the green cover prevailing at the edge of the city has created a climate that resembles Ooty. Hence, the region is also called as ‘OOty of Central Karnataka’. Presence of heavy breeze, misty mountains and greenery are attracting the people from far away places. It is very clear that the forest got its name from a saint called ‘Jogi’, who was known for his social services, and a natural cave that houses a Shiva Linga and idols of Veerbhadra and Basavanna. Jogimatti is home for rare animals, including leopards and sloth bear that are on the verge of extinction, and the plants with medicinal value. In the midst of the forest, there is a waterfall called ‘Himavad Kedara’ that rejuvenates the visitor. Jogimatti is a trekkers delight and must see the place for nature lovers in the pristine state.
In The Scotland of India
Kopatty Hills Trek in Coorg is one of the best weekend treks around Bangalore where you can experience the bliss of the Coorg lifestyle and the endless tropical trails of the Western Ghats in the Coorg district of Karnataka. Kopatty is one the tallest peak in the region. Situated at a height of 1375 meters in the Tala Cauvery Range adjoining to Bhagamandala town.
There are jeep trails, dense jungles, Waterfalls, Streams, Vast green Grasslands and meadows to experience for a trekking passionate person. Atop a fantastic view awaits and Erulli Vana Pradesh - Forests (which are considered sacred by Kodava Community)
You rock here....!
The sugar bowl of Karnataka , Mandya is known for pictureque locations and hillocks. Among them is Kunti Betta is a picturesque hill in the quaint town of Padavapura, marked by the two hills at an elevation of 2882m, the Kunti betta. Locals believe as per mythology the Pandavas and Kunti lived in the area during their exile. Mythology states that the Pandavas during their period of exile stayed here for some time, and Kunti, mother of the Pandavas, liked the hillock so much that it became one of her favorite haunts. The town is also named after the Pandavas because of their brief stay in this region. The name "French Rock" dates back to India's Pre-Independence days, the place was used as the camping ground by the French army, which came to help Tippu Sultan in his war against the British. It is believed that French named the small town as "French Rocks", as the town is in the vicinity of two rocky hills. After Indian Independence, these rocky hills called as "Kunti Betta" by locals. It is a trekkers paradise, they stand apart and one of the most sought day hikes for those who want to seek adventure, it is thrilling to trek amidst bushes and rock faces. A trek during dark adds thrill tends to sharpen the body sensations and ignites a feeling of uncertainty and curiosity about your trail. As one reached the pinnacle , the view from atop is a feast to eyes with view so lakes, light and shadow play, clouds engulfing mountains and paddy fields. During the night trekking adventure accompanied with fire flies, a starry night and local anecdotes make this a magical experience.
To abode of Lord
Shiva Ganga or Shivagange is hillock where Adventurous trek and pilgrimage comes together to offer you instant weekend getaway. Located just 60Km. Mountain peak of about 2600 feet. Mountain is in the form of a Shiva ling and a spring flows from top of Hill , referred as Ganga and hence place gets the name ShivaGanga. The place is known as Dakshina Kashi and a Hindu pilgrimage center.
From Bangalore and being well connected by road makes it an ideal tourist attraction. It is said that the hills looks like a ‘Shiva Linga’ when seen from one of the sides. Also it is said that the spring water found here is from the sacred water of ‘Ganga’. Cave temples of Gavi Gangadhareshwara , Gavi Honnadevi , Gavi Veerabhadreshwara , Patala Gange , Olakallu Punyatheertha can found in the hillock .
From the religious point of view there are several temples and holy locations like ‘Patalagange’, Monolithic Nandi in Shivagange. Shiva ganga hills is also known as Kashi of the South. A surprising phenomenon of Ghee when offered on Shivalinga turning back to butter may be witnessed here - which could be due to temperature difference. The ornate pillars & carvings gave us glimpses of Hoysala architecture. Most of the place is rocky, with railings to hold on to as you climb, and monkeys to make sure you don’t take any offerings to the deity on top.
Inside some of the rocks and even inside the temple and the deities and sannidhis, you could find some small fountains or water bodies, that never dry up throughout the year. But the most intriguing of all was a tunnel which supposedly led into the heart of Bangalore.
With sun beating tiredness takes its toll. But the spirit motivates one to reach the hill top. The cool breeze and very sight of Basavanna / Nandi Idol soothes the tired nerves. A scenic view of Shivangage & surrounding villages stretch is a pleasureful experience. There are 2 temples on top dedicated to Veerabhadreshwara & Gangadhareshwara . Besides is the spot known as Shanthala Drop , where queen of Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana during 12th century had committed suicide by jumping from top of hill.
Surrounding hills , water bodies , rocks , Sunrise and sunset is a a sight to behold..!
Makali Day Trek
Makalidurga is a perfect weekend destination from Bangalore as it is only 60 kms on the outskirts of the metropolitan city. Situated at an altitude of 4,430ft. It is a picturesque hill surrounded by a scenic lake which appears to be in the shape of South American continent. The fort at the summit has an old temple of Shiva with Nandi and in legend Markandeya Rishi performed penance here. There lies a fort atop the Makalidurga hill and a railway track follows just at the base of the hill which makes the trek route highly scenic. The ideal way for all trekkers to start the trek is from Makalidurga Railway station which adds a vintage style to the trekking activity. The whole trail is covered by dense grassland which grows so tall that at times it hides the trail leading up to the hill. Makalidurga hill is famous for spectacular views of sunrise and sunsets. The area of the Hill top is seen to be divided into three parts - the center where in a Shiva temple is located, Western side from where the beautiful lake can be observed and lastly the eastern side from where one can see the beauty of the unveiled sun.
In the Broadest and Tallest mountain
Tadiandamol, the tallest peak in Kodagu, is another trekker's paradise. Tadiandamol is the third tallest peak in Karnataka with an elevation of 5,735 feet and offers a challenging to terrain to cover with some breathtaking views .From the peak you can view the distant Arabian sea and the spell-binding beauty of Kodagu all around. The name Tadiandamol means “broadest and tallest mountain” in Kodava Thakk (language).The best time to visit Tadiandamol is early winter. "Highest Point" as called in Kodava language, this peak is the highest one in the Madikeri district. This peak is just adjacent to the Makutta forest. In Malayalam 'Tadiandamol' can be translated as 'The fat man's daughter'. On the way, you also get an old palace called 'Nalknad Aramane'.
If you intend to do camping in Coorg, there are some excellent spots with boulders blocking the flow of wind for setting up camps. The sunrise from Tadiyandamol is a sight to behold, so do not forget to pack in your camera too.
On reaching the peak, you will be able to view the beauty of the landscape with the greenery stretching below and the misty clouds at your feet.