So what if COVID has impacted all your travel plans. Bangaloreans are lucky to be surrounded by beautiful nature spots in their backyard. A mere 50 – 100 km from the city is a paradise of hills, lakes, cliffs, waterfalls, rivers to explore. Almost all of which is an easy 6.30 – 3.30 day trip.
Trekking is a great outdoor activity that you can undertake with friends and family during this COVID season. Trekking can be fun – but one wrong step can cause a serious accident. Take the help of a specialist. Not only do they guide you on the safe techniques to climb up and down but they also know the best places to park the car, camps for picnic & restroom breaks. It really takes a lot of your head when you have an able guide in your midst. My initial trips in the past were solo trips but the last few months I have been taking the help of Nandish & Vani who have been my guide for all the treks. I have recommended them to many of my friends who have enjoyed the experience. So when you plan your trek do reach out to them, Nandish +9731140126
I am listing down the treks that I have done from the toughest to the easiest.
- Location – Off the Bangalore Mysore Road, 50 Km from Bangalore, Take the Magadi Road from Ramanagara and head towards the reserve forest. Elevation 1226 M
- Level – I found it Very Difficult (9/10) Skandagiri, Savandurga and Madhugiri are the 3 toughest treks in and around Bangalore. Steep slopes, barren rock, long trek. To be done with care and precaution, many accidents have happened in these treks.
- Time to Trek – 2 – 2 1/2 Hrs up and 1 hr 45 min down
- Landscape – Its located in a reserve forest close to the Arkavathi river and the Manchanabele Dam. Savandurga is the largest monolithic hill in Asia so the climb is mainly on barren steep rock. No green cover, no water bodies. 70% of the climb is on steep inclines. Gets very hot during the day.
- Other Points – There is a temple popular with the locals at the base and a small Nandi on the Top. Has remnants of a fort that was built by Kempegowda and later used by Haider & Tipu, before the British took it over. Used to house prisoners. Dont use your snow boots/ Himalayan Quecha trek boots for these rocky climbs. Use rubber soled Reebok / Nike shoes with grip. carry lot of water and some healthy snacks with you. Breakfast spot – A2B or Malgudi Vattika
- Location – Off the Tumkur Road, 100 Km from Bangalore, Take a right turn from the highway below the underpass before Dobaspet. Elevation 1200 M
- Level – I found it Difficult. (8/10). Steep slopes, barren rock, long trek. To be done with care and precaution. One stretch is steep and windy, need to be extremely careful. Some part has steps and railings.
- Time to Trek – 2 Hrs up and 1 hr 30 min down
- Landscape – The road leading to Madhugiri is beautiful and green with hills, lakes and forests all around.
- Other Points – Its named Madhu Giri because of the huge honeycombs that were present on the hill. Its a large monolithic hill. It houses one of the 9 forts surrounding Bangalore. Fort is in ruins. No restaurants close by, you need to come to main Tumkur Road for lunch, so carry water, snacks, fruits with you. Breakfast stop on Tumkur Highway – Sree Rathnam
- Location – Off the Tumkur Road, 100 Km from Bangalore, Take a right turn from the highway below the underpass before Dobaspet. On the way to Madhugiri, beyond Devrayanidurga. Elevation 1188 M
- Level – Difficult. (7/10). Steep slopes, barren rock. To be done with care and precaution.
- Time to Trek – 1 1/2 hrs up and 1 hr down. No steps.
- Landscape – The road leading to this trek is beautiful and green with hills, lakes and forests all around. As you trek up there are nice green spots. 50% of the trek is up steep rock and the rest has greenery.
- Other Points – Channarayadurga is a village. It is one of the nava-durgas (‘nine-forts’) around Bengaluru. This 1139m hill was fortified by Channapa Gauda, a chief of Madhugiri in about the middle 17th century and was later taken by the Marathas. It was also under the control of the Mysore Rajas during whose regime the name of the place was changed to Prassannagiri. In one of the inscriptions, dated 1766, the hill is called Channarayanadurga. The ruins of this majestic fort is inquisitively structured with ancient temple, dungeons, granaries and other ancient structures. Breakfast stop on Tumkur Highway – Sree Rathnam
- Location – Off the Tumkur Road, 70 Km from Bangalore, near Hospet take a left. Height 1300 M
- Level – Moderate (6/10). Steps for most of the trek, last stretch is steep with jagged rocks. Lots of monkeys angling for food and your bags. carry a stick to chase them away.
- Time to Trek – 1 1/2 hrs up and 1 hr down. Most of the Trek has steps and there are temple stops on the way.
- Landscape – Rocky and breezy. there are halting points on the way that give you a breather.
- Other Points – Many temples Enroute and a small temple at the top, very windy. Famous for a suicide drop point – Shanthala, named after a queen who committed suicide by jumping from there. Hill is shaped like a Shiva Lingam and is also the source of an underground water body. Juice and snack outlets at the top. Breakfast stop on Tumkur Highway – Sree Rathnam
- Location – After Devanhalli airport take a left turn. 75 Km from Bangalore. Elevation 1478M
- Level – Moderate (5/10). Steps for most of the trek, very green trek.
- Time to Trek – 1 hr up and 45 min down. Most of the Trek has steps.
- Landscape – Green trek, nice breeze. There are multiple paths to trek up.
- Other Points – Lots to see on the top including a beautiful stepwell and an ancient Chola temple. At the foothills of the trek – there is an ancient Shiva temple that is very large and well maintained – Bhoganandeeshwara temple. Mayura Restaurant at top – but service and food is bad. Visit Nandi Grand at the turning from Highway for breakfast / lunch.
- Location – On the Old Madras Road near Kolar. Altitude 1712 M
- Level – Easy (4/10). Steps for most of the trek, very green trek. But the challenge is not the trek – the fun part is squeezing yourself past the rock crevasses once you go to the top.
- Time to Trek – 1 hr up and 45 min down. 1 Hr at the top. Most of the Trek has steps.
- Landscape – Green trek, nice breeze.
- Other Points – Your guide will be a small kid from the local village. May need permit. Temples at the foothills. Antar-Gange literally means Ganga from Within/Ganga of the deep in Kannada. It is a huge field of boulders and rocks. Located at an altitude of 1712 m above the sea level, the boulders are amassed one on top of the other to appear like a cave. This network of cave formations makes this place famous for cave exploration and easy trekking. There are two ancient temples in Kolar close by which you must visit – The Kolaramma temple (Durga) and an ancient Chola age Shiva temple. Stop by for breakfast at Nandi Grand or Mayyas
Haddina Kallu (Eagle Stone Hill)
- Location – On the Mangalore highway towards Hasan
- Level – Easy (4/10). Steps for most of the trek, very green trek.
- Time to Trek – 1 hr up and 45 min down. Hanuman temple at the top.
- Landscape – Green trek, nice breeze.Towards the top there is some garbage. Avoid that and move to the hill top that is green and empty. You may have to cut thru forest and shrubs.
- Other Points – Locals walk without footwear. Some people may insist you do the same. But you can bypass the initial entry part and walk up the hill from the side. New restaurant called Paakshala that serves excellent food, spotlessly clean bathrooms is located very close to the trek point on the highway. Cut in median allows you to access the restaurant easily.
Ramadevara Betta (Vulture Sanctuary)
- Location – On the Bangalore Mysore Highway off Ramanagara. Take a right turn under an arch near Ramanagara town. Elevation – 3000 feet
- Level – Easy (4/10). Initial part has 400 steps leading to an ancient Rama temple. (name ramanagara comes from the fact that Rama is supposed to have lived here in the area of the temple). After the temple a short 15 min trek to the hill top. Amazing views from the top. Very green trek.
- Time to Trek – 1 hr up and 45 min down.
- Landscape – Green trek, nice breeze.Nice Temple with a small clean lake that has water all the time. Lots of flowers.
- Other Points – Locals claim that this was the place Lord Rama spent some time on his way back from Lanka. The small Rama Temple and lake next to it is very serene. Add Sholay shooting spots to this trek – Its a short few min drive from here. This is the Ramgad of Sholay fame. You will ned help to get there walking through some tough shrubbery and undergrowth. A nice camping site is close by where you can stop for a picnic lunch. Claimed to be a Vulture Sanctuary none are visible now. Breakfast at A2B or Malgudi Vattika. Pack your picnic lunch
- Location – Muthurayanabetta is about thirty-five km from Bangalore near Ravgudlu, Off the Kanakpura road, the green and irregular countryside is an idyllic destination for a quick weekend getaway. Light trek up Muthurayanabetta that stands like a tower on the edge of a panoramic landscape is also a wonderful destination for camping.
- Level – Easy (3/10). Very green trek, perfect for a warm up family trek
- Time to Trek – 45 Min up and 30 min down. Its a nice green trek.
- Landscape – Green trek, nice breeze. Small temple at the top. Lots of water bodies and flowing plants as you walk up.
- Other Points – NASA is a food court enroute where you can stop for breakfast / restroom.
- Location – Old Madras Road, 20 Km after Kolar take a right turn and drive a few km thru villages. About 80 km from Bangalore
- Level – Easy (3/10). Rocky terrain , clean track. This is pilgrimage route for the villagers who believe that Sita spent some time here.
- Time to Trek – 1 Hr up and down
- Landscape – Rocky boulders. Surrounding is green fields and water bodies. Small temple at the top.
- Other Points – Stop by for breakfast at Nandi Grand or Mayyas. Avani is known for the Sita temple situated on a hill. This temple is one of the few temples dedicated to Sita in India. There is a belief that the sage Valmiki was residing here. Avani is also known as the Gaya of the south and has ancient temples known as the Ramalingeshwara, Lakshmaneshwara, Bharateshwara and Shatrugneshwara, dating back to the period of the Nolamba Dynasty and later renovated by the great Cholas
- Location – Mysore Road – take a right turn at Ramnagara and head towards Jalamangala. Its a scenic drive through mango orchards and farms. After about 20 Km from the Mysore Highway you start seeing many hillocks. The Narayangiri hill is adjacent to a large lake. Distance from Koramangla 80 Km.
- This hill is 3800 feet in height.There is a small temple at the top of Lakshmi Narasimha which is open to only on weekends
- Level – Easy (3/10). Nice track – road for car being made ( earlier it was a trek up the hill) – about a 1000 easy steps after that. Takes 45 minutes to get to the top if you walk all the way. Cars / Bikes can go upto the steps now.
- Time to Trek – 1 1/2 Hr up and down
- Landscape – Green and pleasant. Lovely views. No crowd – totally empty ( we visited on a weekday)
- Other Points – Stop by for breakfast at Kadamba. The last mile from Jalamangala you may have to ask the locals. No shops close by.
Other Treks around Bangalore that I am yet to do.
- Makalidurge – Near Devanhalli, Requires permission from Forest Department
- Skandagiri – Near Nandi Hills one of the toughest treks
- Channagiri – Near Nandi Hills
- Chunchi Falls – Kanakpura Road
Plan your treks with Nandish – 9731140126
Get in touch with this passionate couple to plan your day treks around Bangalore or to venture beyond to Coorg, Kudremukh, the W Ghats, Dandeli … . They deliver a lot of value and are great with kids.
Before I sign off one last point I want to reiterate – Treks can be fun but you got to be serious, being foolhardy and one wrong step can put you in serious trouble.