Thursday, 14 May 2015

A Day Trek to Savandurga Hills

A Day Trek to Savandurga Hills en-route Manchanabele Dam

Savandurga Hills is one of the largest monolith hills in Asia that offers an unparalleled trekking experience to the adventure enthusiasts. Situated at around 1226 meter above sea level and 60 Km west of Bangalore, Savandurga hills is a great weekend getaway spot from Bangalore.

Several pilgrims pay visit to the Savandi Veerabhadreshwara Swamy and Narasimha Swamy temple situated at the foothills there. Apart from them, Savandurga hills are frequently visited by picnickers, rock climbers and adventurists who come here and get indulged into several kinds of activities. There are many Bangalore based private tourism companies that organize several adventurous activities in and around Savandurga, which are quiet cheap and easily affordable.

My visit to this wonderful place was suddenly planned on a Sunday morning along with two friends of mine, Shouvik and Subhankar. From Bangalore, Savandurga Hills can be reached either, via Magadi Road or via Mysore Road. We started at around 6 AM on Sunday from Shouvik’s place nearby HAL market in Bengaluru and took the Mysore road route. We decided to follow this route because, on this way, we will cross the Manchanabele Dam that has been made on the Arkavathi River, which passes nearby through the Thippagondanahalli reservoir. Manchanabele Dam was earlier famous for watersports activities and the landscape around the Manchanabele reservoir lake is really wonderful and photogenic.

Though the entry to the Dam and the Lake water is prohibited now due to some mishaps that happened in the recent past, but it’s still worth visiting Savandurga Hills via this route as you will get a closer glimpse of the Manchanabele reservoir lake when you travel through this route.
First view of the Manchanabele Reservoir Lake

Casual Posing! (Myself (right) & Shouvik (left))

We reached near the Manchanabele reservoir lake at around 7:10 in the morning; clicked some pictures and headed towards our final destination. On our way from the Manchanabele Dam, we crossed a state forest, where the road was blocked at one place due to a tree that got uprooted and fell on the road due to the other night storm. Somehow, we got off road and made our way to cross that blockage and went on. The road was narrow but well maintained apart from the last 3 km. Once you take a right hand diversion from the Magadi-Ramanagara road to the Savandurga road at Nayakanapalya, the road is a rough one that leads you to the foothill.
Road Blockage due to the other night storm

***There is a small restaurant at the junction in Nayakanapalya, just where you need to take the diversion. That restaurant is the best option to have your breakfast in and around Savandurga, as there are no other such hotels nearby and the only food options available are light snacks items like biscuits, cakes, tea, juices, & coconut water.

As we already knew this fact while Googling about Savandurga, so, we had a nice breakfast at this restaurant and finally reached the parking space at the foothill of Savandurga at almost 8:30 AM. We parked our vehicle there and without wasting any time, headed for the uphill trek. The parking fee was Rs. 10 per bike. We were lucky enough as it was a pleasant morning with not much heat of the Sun!
At the foothill of Savandurga

Crossing the shrubs and heading towards the Hill base (Subhankar (left) & Shouvik (right))

The trek to Savandurga Hills is not that easy and will surely make you feel a lot tired. This trek can take anywhere between one and half to two and half hours to reach the top, based on your stamina. You need to take rest at places and then carry on again with the next phase. Thus, it is always advisable to go there during early morning, when the weather is pleasant. Uphill Trekking during the Noon, under the scorching Sun will not be a good idea at all to plan for Savandurga!
Right at the base of the hill getting started for the Uphill Trek

A small, almost dried out stream on the way

Catching our breadth under a shade

Though there are some kids roaming around there, who act as guides and offers you to take you to the top in return for some money, but, you can easily try this trek without anyone’s help. All you need to do is, follow the electric poles and you will see arrow markings on the way. Just stick to those markings and don’t try anything odd, as it is quite dangerous in certain places and without your knowledge, you might get trapped.
Dangerous steep slopes on the way

At some places you can't even walk; It's better to crawl up and down there

A chameleon disguised as the marble rock

The first fort wall that we came across

Halfway victory!

Feeling the cool breeze

As we climbed up the Savandurga Hills, we came across several rocky trails with scanty vegetation and also the ruins of a fortress that was originally built by Kempe Gowda II but, later occupied by the legendary Tipu Sultan. The slope gets steeper and dangerous as you climb up. After around 2 hours, at 10:45 AM, we reached the top of Savandurga Hills, where a small Nandi Temple is situated.
Ruins of fortress at mid way

Taking some rest under the sky. Thank God, the weather was not against us!

As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people!

Slippery stretches

The last set of ruins almost at the Top

Good as drink is, it ends in thirst!

The Nandi Temple situated at Hill Top

Do not rush yourself during this trekking. Take your own time and trek in your own way, enjoying the scenic beauty and taking ample rest on the way. Once you are at the top, the breathtaking view of the surroundings will simply blow away your mind and your soul will be highly satisfied on this achievement. Spend as much time you want to spend at the hill top and start the down trek at least an hour before the sunset.
Scanty vegetation on the top

View of the midway Ruins from the Top

A closer look

Sunny patches amidst the cloudy sky!

We stayed there on the Hilltop for around an hour and then started the down-trek at around noon as the area was getting covered by dark black clouds. We wished we could have stayed back there longer amidst the breathtaking environment. But, safety first! We returned back as fast as possible, so that, we don't get stuck mid way due to rain and we were pretty successful on our venture. Unfortunately, there were many people who got stuck at the hilltop or in the middle, who took shelters under small cave type formations. It would be really a very difficult job for them to get down after the rain stops!
The Happy Soul!

It's getting dark too dark to see!

The outstanding view of the Manchanabele reservoir lake from the Savandurga Hill Top

Returning back

That cold black cloud is comin' down...Feels like I'm knockin' on Heaven's Door...!!!...

We waited at the foothill under a shed for around an hour or so until the rain stopped and then headed back to Bangalore via the Magadi-Ramanagara Rd and National Highway 4.

Overall it was an amazing day out that was highly refreshing!

Important Note:

Carry sufficient water and packed foods (especially chocolates, biscuits, cakes & other snacks) along with you as there are no options available at the hilltop and you will definitely need ample amount of water and snacks in order to support your body and stomach during the Trek.
Plan your trek in such a way so that you reach the hilltop before the Sun is too strong in order to avoid any unpleasant trekking experience. For the downhill trek, you can choose any time of the day but, make sure you start the down trek at least an hour before the sunset.
Follow the arrow marks on the hill and the electric poles that will lead you to the hilltop through a proper way. Don’t try anything unnecessary or else you might get trapped there.
Do not rush & stress yourself while going uphill. Take your own time and enjoy the view on your way. There are certain stretches where you can’t walk properly. It is better you crawl rather than walk on those stretches.
Wear shoes and other footwear that are having good grips. Avoid wearing slippers and sandals that do not have proper grip hold. If you do not have the proper footwear, then go there in naked feet.
Avoid visiting Savandurga Hills during the rainy season as it is highly dangerous and not at all advisable to trek when the slopes are wet and slippery.

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