Known for its calm and pleasant weather all round the year, Bangalore has emerged as quite a popular tourist destination in the country. The Silicon Valley and IT hub of the country is known for not only the corporate stuff but also for the various tourist places in the city. The city is visited by domestic as well as international tourists in large numbers every year. Among the popular places, one can visit in the city are the nearby trekking destinations. Since it is close to the Western Ghats and known for its connectivity and accessibility, the city provides ample opportunities for trekking. Particularly the western parts of the city are relatively hilly, and are visited by trekkers and hikers in large numbers throughout the year.
The city also has the highest elevation among the major cities in the country. These treks in and around Bangalore are becoming increasingly popular among amateur as well as professional trekkers, owing to their accessibility and the breathtaking scenic beauty that they offer. This article gives a brief description of some of the most popular and most visited treks in the city.
Savandurga Hill Trek
Located around 60 kms west of Bangalore along the Magadi road, the Savandurga Hill is considered to be one amongst the largest monolith hills in Asia. This is one of the best treks near Bangalore. With an altitude of about 1,226 metres, it has emerged as one of the most sought after trekking destinations in the state. Mostly visited by trekkers and hikers all round the year, the place is also known for its religious significance. The Savandi Veerabhadreshwara Swamy and Narasimha Swamy temple at the foothills make this region quite popular among pilgrims and devotees as well.
Apart from these, the region is also frequently visited by rock climbers, cave explorers and adventure seekers in general. Major attractions of the Savandurga hill trek are the scenic beauty that one can witness all along the way, and the rich natural biodiversity of the region, making it an absolutely delightful experience for nature lovers. Mostly consisting of scrubs and deciduous forests, it is home to some rare and exotic species of animals which include the white-backed vultures, the pointed ciliate blue and bright babul blue, the yellow-throated bulbuls, sloth bear, leopard and many more. A moderately difficult trek, it has a relatively gradual elevation apart from a few tricky and difficult terrains. It is generally advised to not visit this trek especially during the monsoons due to slippery terrains, however, trekkers and rock climbers visit this place throughout the year.
Nandi Hill Trek
Located at a distance of about 60 kms from Bangalore, the Nandi hill in the Chikkaballapur district with an altitude of about 1,478 metres is one of the most famous trekking destinations in the state. The hilltop has an ancient fortress (named Nandidurga) built by the Ganga dynasty and extended later on by Tipu Sultan, and is the major attraction of the region. The fort is believed to be Tipu Sultan’s summer retreat. The hilltop also has a place on a cliff called Tipu’s drop, from where prisoners were pushed off during Tipu Sultan’s reign. It is among the oldest tourist spots in the area, and offers stunning views to the nearby forests and localities.
The hills also have two ancient temples dating back to the Chola period, and are visited in large numbers by pilgrims and devotees. Apart from their historical and religious significance, the Nandi hills are known to be the origin of rivers like North Palar, South Pennar, Chitravathi, Arkavathi and Papagni. Adding to the charm and appeal are the stunning views from the top of the hill, and the rich variety of flora and fauna of the region. What makes the Nandi hill trek even more special is that there are several trekking routes to the top of the hill, which have various levels of difficulties.
This makes the Nandi Hill trek accessible for all kinds of trekkers and hikers- from beginners to professionals. It is even considered perfect for amateur trekkers to gain some experience. Although the Nandi hills trek can be visited throughout the year, still it is advised not to visit this trek during the monsoons as the roads become slippery and climbing to the top becomes difficult.
Devarayanadurga Hills Trek
Situated at a distance of around 73 kms from Bangalore, Devarayanadurga is a small hill station and temple town in the Tumkur district of Karnataka. Literally meaning ‘the Fort of God’, the place is surrounded by numerous hillocks and is a perfect destination for trekkers and hikers. The hilltops and foothills have several ancient temples which date back to the Chola period, which include the Yoga Narasimha and Bhoga Narasimha temples and many more. Naturally, they are visited in large numbers by pilgrims and devotees.
A perfect weekend getaway, the Devarayanadurga hills are visited in large numbers by tourists throughout the year. Apart from its historical and mythological importance, the rich and diverse flora and fauna is another major attraction for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The place is in fact declared as a reserved forest area by the forest department. It is an ideal location for someone looking to spend a day or two in peace amidst nature, away from the busy and hectic life in the city. The rocky and steep terrains make the Devarayanadurga hills no less than a paradise for trekkers and mountain climbers.
The scenic beauty of the region and the stunning views from atop the hills also add to the charm and appeal of the trek. Other notable places of attraction in the area include Namada Chilume, Siddara betta and so on. The treks are easy to moderate in terms of difficulty, and traversed by beginners as well as experienced trekkers. Though the hills can be traversed during any time of the year, it is generally advised to avoid trekking, especially in the monsoons as the roads become slippery.
Ramanagara Hills Trek
Ramanagara is a small town at a distance of about 50 kms from Bangalore, mostly known for sericulture (it is also known as the Silk Town) and is the largest market for silk cocoons in Asia. The Ramanagara hills are actually seven major hills, namely Yeti Rajagiri, Shivaramagiri, Somagiri, Revana Siddeshwara Betta, Krishnagiri, Sidilakallu Betta and Jalasiddeshawara Betta. Mostly known for their rich natural biodiversity, the Ramanagara hills have emerged as quite a popular trekking destination in the state and an absolute delight for nature lovers.
The compact hills and the seemingly vertical rock faces make this place an ideal one for rock climbers. These hills are in fact one of the oldest climbing sites in the country. Located 3 kms away from Ramanagara is the Ramadevara Betta hill with an altitude of 1,187 metres, which is also a popular place to visit for trekkers and hikers. The region has a rare collection of exotic birds like the yellow-throated bulbuls, the Eurasian eagle-owl and the white-backed vultures. The region also holds the only vulture sanctuary in the country and is no less than a paradise for bird watchers.
The Ramadevara Betta hill also has two ancient temples atop, which are mostly known for their historical as well as religious significance. An ideal weekend getaway, the Ramanagara hills trek is a sheer delight for anyone looking to spend a refreshing day or two in solitude and tranquillity amidst nature. There are several ancient temples at the foothills as well as atop the hills and are frequently visited by pilgrims and devotees. The hilltops also offer stunning views to the nearby localities and forests, and are worth all the physical exhaustion and fatigue to climb up to the top.
Situated at an approximate distance of 70 kms from Bangalore, Skandagiri (also known as Kalavara Halli) is one of the five major hills in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka, the others being Nandi Giri, Chandra Giri, Brahma Giri, and Hema Giri. With an elevation of about 1,350 metres, the Skandagiri hills trek is growing rapidly as one of the most sought after treks in the state. The stunning views that the trek offers are one of the main reasons behind the huge popularity of this trek.
Each year, a significant number of trekkers and hikers visit the Skandagiri hills trek in search of serenity and solitude, away from the hustle and chaos of the city. Not only this, it is also visited by tourists from all over the country, and the tourism industry has especially grown manifolds in the past years. Apart from the breathtaking views, other major attractions of the trek include remains of an 18th century hill fortress built by Tipu Sultan, the Papagni mutt (one of the oldest mutts in the state) at the foothills, and so on. The rich variety of flora and fauna of the region is another important factor, making this trek an absolutely delightful experience for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. An ideal trek to visit for both beginner as well as expert trekkers, the Skandagiri hills trek can be traversed during any time of the year.
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Located at around 60 kms north of Bangalore and about 10 kms from Doddaballapur, Makalidurga is a small village and has an ancient hill fortress atop a huge granite rock by the same name at an elevation of about 1,117 metres. The nearby hillocks are formed like a valley and close to Ghati Subramanya, a place of religious importance.
The summit also has an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, and a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna at the foothills. The place is a well-known trekking destination and is visited by many throughout the year. The hills also provide ample opportunities for mountain climbing, and are mostly known for the stunning views one can witness from the top.
Vegetation in the area is scarce and mostly consists of date plants and lemon grass. Another major reason behind the huge popularity of this trek is the serenity and calmness at the hilltop, offering a refreshing and rejuvenating experience away from the crowd and chaos of the city. The hills are moderately difficult to trek, yet they are quite a favoured trekking destination in the city. Climbing upon the barren rocks and rugged terrains can be a little tricky, but the Makalidurga trek is still suitable for amateur as well as experienced trekkers.