Saturday 29 June 2013

Raagalli Betta

Raagalli Betta is one of those dangerous hills which have come in news quite some time.
It was just 2 months after our visit to the hill, we learnt from the news that an engineer was killed by elephant attack.! So, I am not sure how much safe the place is.

When we visited, even we came to know that there are a lot of elephants in the hill and surrounding forest and its very dangerous to go all by yourselves without any localities accompanying you. Luckily(?) we got a villager and went for trekking. Without a local company, there is heavy chance of you getting lost in the forest, so it is always better (can even say a must) to have a local company.

It’s a deep forest of Bannerghatta range. You get an elephant or not, but definitely you will get a clue of elephant having a walk in same place sometime before. Also, you can find foot marks of wild bear.  (One of my friend who visited somedays later found 2-3 deers in same place. Unfortunately I dint find one. L) Also, most important thing is, don’t get messed up with forest officers since we would have almost done if they had been near to where we were. We were close to a Km away from them so we were safe. Overall, if was one of the most thrilling experience ever in my life.

I don’t want to suggest this to anyone since I don’t want someone to mess up with the problem, but if you want a good trekking experience, definitely this is one.

How to reach?
Raagalli betta is one more trekking place present in Kanakapura road. The nearest landmark can be said as APS college. 2 kms after APS college, take left and continue for 4-5 kms, you reach a small village minikola and from there you start your trek. 

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Siddarabetta – As the name says, it’s said to be hill of Saints. It’s believed that, hundreds of saints performed meditation in the hill.  It’s a shrine and hundreds of piligrims climb the hill bare foot here. Climbing the hill is not a big deal, there is a shivalinga on Hill top. Rituals are performed in the place. All these are done only till afternoon and later the crowd will be little less. From the temple, there starts a cave and if you can get some guide to take you in, the visit becomes a worth one. Because, for trekking enthusiasts, the real fun is going in the cave.

The cave is the one where people believe there were saints meditating and definitely the cave is a perfect place to meditate. It’s not exactly a cave, but a place between/beneath rocks and there is good chance of getting lost if you  go by yourselves. There are places which are totally dark and hence just like any other place, carry a torch which is always helpful

One unfortunate thing here is that the hill is not kept clean and soon the hill will be covered completely with plastics and I wonder people climb with so much of holy feel but never thought of keeping it clean and healthy. Unless the hill is clean, there will be hardly any power existing there. 

How to reach?

If you are taking public transport, reach Koratagere (Pawagada bus from bangalore) and then from Koratagere, private buses are available to Siddarabetta. However, the frequency is very low and its better to go by your own.

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Shivagange - I don’t know how should I describe the place? A trekking place or a shrine?

Hundreds of people come to the place daily and climb here and hence I cant really call it a trekking place. You can call it a trekking place since you get enough to hike.
Half a way is the temple to which most of the people come and there will be a huge Q lined up to go inside as there is where the ‘ganga’ of the place is available. There is a small well kind of in which water is reachable and not everyone get the water in it. People feel so blessed if they get to touch the water from the well.

From that place, nearly a km away is the peak where there is a Nandi statue. There is a good view from there and once again the place is not free from crowd.

How to reach?
Shivagange is ~60kms from Bangalore and you can ride on your own or even take public transport. Both ways, you have to reach Dobespet which is in Bangalore – Tumkur high way. Take left from Dobespet and go for 8kms, you reach Shivagange.

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Madhugiri is one of those places which provide a true trekking experience and aslso enough opportunities for rock climbing etc.

It is the 2nd largest Monolith in Asia and adding to it is the beauty of the fort.

Even if I like travelling alone, never thought I will have that hunger to complete a trek all alone. Wanted to test if I can complete it all alone or will I quit half a way feeling bored to climb alone. It was all together a new experience. Everyone whom I interacted with asked if I am I trekking alone? I even got some free suggestions not to trek that way. 

I met a great dad in the trek and I would remember him for really long time. He had come with his 2 kids. One aged around 10 years and another aged around 6. He was not rich in his gesture but am sure he was really rich from his heart. He had already climbed the Madhugiri hill as he was from a nearby place and this time he wanted to show it to his kids! All he had with him was a pack of Biscuits and a water bottle. Unfortunately the bottle fell from his hand and it rolled down the rocks in a speed that can scare anyone! Fortunately I had an extra bottle of water which I could give him. These are some of the special experiences which you can get when you travel alone. You can speak to unknown people, share experience and gain some too.

The rocks are deceiving  and when you feel you are done, you find the next. However, once you finish the trekking, there is a great view waiting for you. Hill top has an old fort which is just not ready to accept its defeat against the nature and time. More than anything else, even if the area around is very hot, the cold breeze takes away all the heat from the place and gives an amazing feel.
Madhugiri is one of those trekking place which I wish to go again and again.

How to reach?
Taking public transport is also not a bad idea since enough buses ply from Bangalore to Pavagada which goes via Madhugiri.
If you are going by your own, reach Dobaspete in Tumkur Highway and take right from there. Road condition is excellent til dobespet and average from there. Trekking takes around ~2.5hrs and travel takes way more than that. But I promise you will carry a lot of memories from Madhugiri. A worth visit place.

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Thursday 27 June 2013


Hogenakal is one of the finest waterfall near Bangalore. Even if the height of the waterfall is not great, the beauty mesmerizes you. On a sunny day, the area is hot enough to burn you. Unfortunately I had been on a very bright day and to add to it, I took public vehicle and can say that was a bad idea. L

However, the time I was in Hogenakal was worth it. Got some good photos. I had been to the place alone and I did not mind going alone as long as I was sure that the place I am visiting is good.

To the people who love Fish, probably you would enjoy it a lot since they fry the fresh water fish which they catch from there only. I somehow felt the tourism Dept should take care that the beauty of the place is not spoiled because of this. Unfortunately we Indians are not taught the usage of Dustbins and we find each beautiful as the best dustbin in the world. You find the fish bones lying everywhere you go. L

Forget the fights between Karnataka and Tamil nadu, just enjoy the beauty of mother nature who never saw differentiated between us. She looks beautiful the way she is.

Hogenakal can be said as a ‘Must Visit’ place near Bangalore. And the pictures below say it again to you.!

How to reach?

I would say, take your own vehicle since the public transport available is not that great inspite of Hogenakal being one of the finest tourism spot. There are buses available but the quality of service is not even in acceptable standards.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

DudhSagar / Doodhsagar trekking + Belgaum tour

Belgaum is one of the most beautiful district in Karnataka with an ideal weather and scenic values. It falls under Malnad area and has some mind blowing scenic ghat sections and forests.

In the tour, could not cover many a places and I keep the Belgaum spot open for a second tour.

My school friends Abhilash, Charan and Vishwas were with me this time. Even though it was not the perfect time to visit Doodhsagar and Gokak falls, I just did not want to postpone the tour and hence went for it on – 13-10-2012.

We visited many a places on first day and special one was off course Gokak falls which gave me a few memorable photos like –

We had mainly gone for the trek to Doodhsagar falls and on the 2nd day, we planned for it and I must say, it was one of the most different trekking experience since there were no Ups and Downs, but was a railway track trek. The distance and also the boulders present in railway track make the trek a challenging one.

Can say difficult level to be high considering the distance. One way distance comes no less than 15kms and you can return from doodhsagar in the train which halts in the small railway station (?) just for a minute or 2.

Until above, what i wrote is my 1st experience with Dudhsagar. But, to be frank, I had missed 80% of dudhsagar's actual beauty in my 1st visit and had I not visited for the second time during september 2014, i would not have realized that I had missed it last time. The place is at its best during monsoon and I would say I have not seen any falls to give so much of fun when visited in right time. The rain adds to the happiness and all these are only or those who enjoy water falling on them and those who love getting wet in nature..! Did not get good photos during the second visit but have got a lot of memories in second visit to dudhsagar. (However, not really happy the way so called 'Educated people' behave. I have seen educated people throwing plastics, bottles everywhere around. I heard someone asking to his friend- "How does it feel to be in nature..?"  and unfortunately I saw same person throwing some waste into nature. If we feel like enjoying the nature, lets keep it the way it is supposed to be.!)

If on any day other than sunday, then direct train is not available from Belgaum to castle rock. So, following would be a few alternative plans.

Reach Londa By road from Belgaum (Or via train. Bangalore - Belgaum trains go to Belgaum via Londa.) and reach Londa by 8. Catch Chennai - Vasco train from Londa at 8.30 and reach Castle rock.

Return Train comes to Belgaum directly but one needs to buy the ticket from Castle rock in the morning itself since tickets are not given in Dudhsagar.

In the second visit, had been to places nearby Belgaum and details of them available here - Swapanveil and Amboli Ghat which are once again amazing places nearby.

A simple plan of 3 days in Belgaum would be -
Day 1 - Visit Amboli ghat , Swanpanveil, Hiranyakeshi , Thillari falls
Day 2 - DudhSagar
Day 3 - Gokak Falls, Godachinmaki falls.

How to reach?
The only path available to Doodhsagar is Railway path and if you want to trek, you have to choose it from ‘Castle rock’ station which is the station before doodhsagar.

Below are a few photos from second visit. However could not take photos of the falls properly since hardly got any chance to take the camera out near falls.

Railway track to Dudhsagar - Completely covered with mist during Rainy season
Gokak Falls during Rainy Season

Tuesday 25 June 2013


Kumaraparvatha - Every hiker's dream

If you say you are a trekking enthusiast, the first question you get from one is - "Did you climb Kumaraparvatha?" and I should say, I kind of got addicted to trekking just because of Kumaraparvatha. It was my very second trekking way back in my college days (15-03-2010)

Had a very bad pain in my hand but, could not afford to miss this chance as it was planned by me and Rajesh. More over, did not want to miss the dream trek.

We were a nine member group - Me, Rajesh, Rakshith, Abhijith, Vikas, Sathvik ,Karthick, Raju and Steve. Kukke Subrahmanya is hardly 50 kms from my home and hence reaching the place was not a big deal. Early morning we reached Subrahmanya, had breakfast and started towards the famous - Bhattara mane which is the only home in the entire Kumaraparvatha. We had already informed them about our arrival and had asked to arrange lunch for us. We reached there in the noon. Till Bhattara mane, its forest area and you dont feel the heat of sun much. Had lunch there, took rest for an hour and then started towards peak. From Bhattara mane, its totally grassland and in summer, its a hard one if you are starting from bhattara mane in the noon. However, we had to walk in the same sun and we reached the peak by 6.30pm. After 5pm, mist started covering the area and the visibility was not more than 10-15 mts. Its a great feel when the cold breeze hits your sweaty face. We slept in the open area with camp fire. If you dont have some fuel to support your camp fire, its next to impossible to keep it alive. Enough firewood will be available if you are visiting during summer. Extreme care should be taken if you are going for a camp fire since the entire mountain range will be covered with dry grass leading to the risk.

Kumaraparvatha is believed to be a house for various animals, reptiles etc. However, we did not find any, but there is a good chance of finding some.

Difficulty level can be said as High since you will have to trek around 26kms in total.

How to reach -
If you  are going from Bangalore, you have direct buses to Kukke Subrahmanya. Walk for 2 kms and you reach the base of Kumaraparvatha. 6kms from base is Bhattara mane. Once you reach bhattara mane peak is just 7 kms. You do not need any guide to trek here since there is a clear path (not a road) till the peak.
There is absolutely no other means of reaching the Peak from base other than your own strong legs. :)

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Friday 21 June 2013

Ranganatha swamy betta / Belibetta/belli betta

Ranganatha swamy betta / Belibetta/Belli betta
Searching for an ideal trek near Bangalore? Then, this is one of them which gives you the feel of trek.
As any Weekend, on 18-02-2012 I was searching for some trekking place, and read about Ranganathaswamy betta in some blog. Some quick call to a few of friends and this time I had 3 others joining me – Vishwas, Raju and Vikas.
Left early in the morning, had breakfast on the way and reached Konalvadi and parked the bike in front of a small village house. Walked for a Km to reach the base and later it was a good hiking experience amid dry forest. Sun reached his peak and it was really hard to fight with him. It was a very bright day and you hardly find and green trees to take proper rest. Trees, path is totally dry even in the month of feb, and hence if I would go to same place again, I would prefer during October-December or during rainy season.
The path is as much dry as in the below pics.

After hiking to the top of the hill, definitely you are not disappointed and you will enjoy the breeze and view from hill top. Off course I could not capture the breeze there, but the view here is the view.

If you are one of those who find god in all temples, then you have a small temple and you can pray. :P

How to reach?
Ranganathaswamy betta is one of those trekking spot present close to the famous Kanakapura Road
Public transport is not present till the base and hence will need to arrange yourselves. Enough buses available till Harohalli present in Kanakapura road. Haarohalli is ~25kms from Bangalore.

Once you reach Haarohalli, take left to reach Maralvadi, and then drive 3kms to reach Konalavadi.

Note - Adding Information on 27/07/2015 - Forest officials have not allowed to enter through trek route due to elephant sighting in the area. Probably, the area is elephant hub during monsoon and a little free during summer. So, do check regarding this before you take a decision to go to this place. There is an alternative route to the peak where you can take your vehicle too.