So this was the first non-bike trip I decided to take, mostly because of the proposition by my good friend, Mitesh to use his car instead. The plan was finalized late Saturday night, as we did manage to wake up at 4:00 AM sharp. Not that we had to be far off, the destination was just about 60 KM from my house. Mitesh lost his way when picking me up and we hit the highway about 20 minutes late than expected. NICE road was a pleasure to drive on as usual but yes, I couldn’t shake off the feeling of being there on my bike instead. The good part of being in a car was the music and conversations though. 20 minutes onto the highway, we took the Bangalore-Mysore highway and took a right onto the state highway just before a small village called Hejjala. We took a different, longer route on our way back as I’ve mentioned in the map below. Will shortly come to the reasons.
After taking the detour, we were suddenly transported from a busy, somewhat crowded highway to a small road with almost no traffic. For most part, we were the only ones on the road in either direction. The road went through farms, many villages, from near small ponds and later on through a forest. This was the most amazing part of the road journey with a couple of really nice scenic views like the one below.
This was a view of Manchanbele Reserviour and the road just wound past it after this view. We decided to take a stroll at the point to enjoy the view from a small hill just by the side of the road and to do some photography.
After taking a couple of shots here, we decided to move on through more villages and then hit an approximately 5 KM stretch of dense forest. The road at this point of time had deteriorated significantly and we were mostly driving into puddles, bumps and patched tarmac. But again, the surroundings made sure it didn’t matter and hence this didn’t dampen the spirits. We hit the Magadi-Ramanagara Road once past this and from there it was a 20 minute drive to the base of of Savandurga Hill. There’s a small temple there which seems to attract some crowd which we figured out later. At this point of time, there were just a couple of people around other than us. We had to ask one of them for directions to the base of the hill from where to start the climb. After a couple of attempts, we figured out the way through a small forest and reached the bottom of the hill which called for some selfie-style photography.
After promising ourselves that this would be the first and last pic of ‘us’ for this trip, we moved on to climb the rather daunting-looking rock. Now here’s the deal, when you’re facing this hill, it looks(and actually is) like a 50 degree plus climb and the first thought that comes to mind is – how the hell is anyone supposed to climb this. Just to give you an idea about how it actually looks, here a pic of Mitesh posing in front of it.
Luckily, we did figure the actual path out which took us around the hill and THEN made us climb a 60 degree slope. Here’s me posing before we just started the ascent.
The climb is quite fun and is not monotonous at any stage. You always get a different scene every few meters and there are enough places to just lie down flat on the rock and take a short nap before moving on. We didn’t get a chance to do that but did take a few breaks. This one was one of the best views we saw on the way up and since at this height there were no clouds(yes, the clouds were so low that they were covering the top of the hill), the pic came out to be quite clear. I didn’t want to miss the chance to click my favorite shot here.
On the horizon is the same reservoir that I’ve mentioned earlier and a stream leading towards it. This still being quite early in the morning, the wind was cold and it became stronger as we went higher. And the sky was was cloudy in all the directions we could see it. There are small yellow arrows painted intermittently to keep you on track and I guess for most part, those were the only things that give us a sense of direction. everything else just looks like an equally likely path(or a dead end). So after an hour and half of climbing, three breaks, gulping down a litre of water, loads of pics, passing through trees and small caves, talking about useless stuff, we finally reached the top. I can tell you one thing – the view from here did not disappoint even slightest bit. This is the highest point in all the directions and hence, the view is simply amazing. The fall is steep, the wind is too powerful and cold but its all worth it. So here’s another one of an ecstatic me.
After munching a few packets of biscuits at this place, we started the descent which took us about half the time it took for coming up. It had become a bit hot by the time we reached bottom and the number of people we saw on our way down had increased a lot. There were a bunch of people trying to climb the hill the mission-impossible way and then asked us if that was the right direction. They did come down and took the correct path once told. Some were just way too high up in the wrong direction to be called back and everyone let them be.
We took a longer route back through the town of Ramanagara as the road was way better and consequently reached back faster. We were home at around 2 and so, all in all, it took 9 hours from the moment I left home.
Frankly, I did not expect a place so close by to city to be such a good weekend getaway spot. This is a must see place for anyone who like a bit of hiking and wants to just get away for a day. Do wear shoes with good grip and carry a lot of water as there’s nothing to replenish that on the entire path. Also going early morning is better because once the sun comes out, the rock starts to heat up and climbing up becomes significantly difficult.
That’s it for this trip. Hoping to find more such places soon.
Edit: Just realized that this is the largest monolith in Asia and by sheer coincidence, I’ve managed to cover two biggest monoliths in first two trips here. Not bad 🙂