It would have been just another Sunday morning if it was not for this trek. This was my first trek around Bangalore. Yes! being a Bangalorean and a trek enthusiast, it is a bit sad that I hadnt done any trek around Bangalore.
Savanadurga, is the largest monolith in Asia. It is around 60 kms from Bangalore towards Magadi. Drive towards Magadi is around 50 km. Once yo reach Magadi take the Left turn on to the Ramanagara road and drive for 8 km before you get an arch welcoming you to the Savandurga road.
Another 2 km drive along the almost non-existant road you reach an old temple of VeeraBhadra(Some believe an incarnation of Shiva, while others believe him to be one of his close associates). The Gopura of the temple has a "Nandi" (the vehicle of Lord Shiva). Just beside this temple is a small park where one could spot various birds and animals. This place is called Savanandi.
Further down this road, we reach the famous Lakshmi Narasimha Swami Temple at Savandurga. Large number of devotees throng the temple to seep the blessings of the Lord. There is also a medical herb plantation situated close to the temple. This is the starting point of the trek.
The Savandurga monolith is visible from the road much before Magadi, but one needs to almost circumvent the rock before being able to begin the ascent to the peak. At 4050 ft, this towers over most of the surrounding hillocks, or any man made structure - Normal human beings around 6 ft is negligible.
The best time to begin the trek is early morning when you could see the sunrise on the east and enjoy the serene beauty that could be associated with it. The whole feeling of the effort to make it to the peak, completely exhausted and then savor the divine feeling of the sunrise is definitely an occasion in the person's life.
We began pretty late from Bangalore after our breakfast. We traveled by car to the base from were we decided to trek to the peak. It was almost 11 am when we reached the base.
After a quick sip of the tender coconut, we were ready to begin the trek to the peak. A quick walk through the shrubs along an established trail, we immediately reached the base of the monolith. The recent showers had left some watery trail along the sides of the monolith were the natural process of breaking stones into soil was in progress.
It is really amazing the patience nature has in breaking the large rocks into smaller one, then continuing to break them further. The hot sun heats the surface, the rain water then tries to cool it in one go, leading to formation of cracks, and then seeps in. The wind then continues to cool it further over time Widening the cracks further and then repeating the process. One can easily see these at Savandurga. The work of nature over millions of years is very visible. I could see some rock broken probably a few years or decades back.
The rock side close to the temple is very smooth and poses some good challenges initially. The trek begins on a pretty steep note. One needs to maintain the stamina and push consistently to get to the first level of the fort.
Many people tire up at this level and return. There are some vendors who sell fruit juice along the way adding to the pollution (inappropriate and inadequate disposal has the tetra packs hanging on the side of the monolith).
Continuing along the slope of the hillock, we find many stones and slippery patches. One needs to navigate these carefully to avoid any damage. If there is no cloud cover, this phase might get really hard.
There are numerous routes from here to get to the next level of the fort, where the watch tower is constructed. The climb is pretty manageable till one reaches the steep uphill just before the tower. This is the second challenge and many people give up at this point to return without visiting the peak. It is not really difficult, as there are number of small steps/grips that people have made to make it easy for their followers.
At this juncture it is a real test of character for many, do the embrace the uncertainty and move ahead by stretching themselves to realize a new self or do they just accept the complexity and stay with the status quo! The question is of the mind set and the toughness!
Once a person crosses the fort besides the watch tower, there is whole different world that one gets to see. The confidence of having tackled an almost seemingly tough task is a great booster. One could rest here for some time, watch the surrounding areas from the Watch Tower and then resume the trek. From this point onwards, the bubbling city of Bangalore can be seen - some high rise buildings also could be spotted.
The next part of the trek is pretty much at the top of the peak. A small climb uphill and we come to a Mantapa. The Mantapa was probably the resting place of the watchman of the fort. The watchman could see all the sides in the surrounding given the peak and inform the King who could then take appropriate action to handle the situation. There is also a small tank that is created here, this might have been used by the watchmen for their daily purpose.
The final peak which has a Nandi Mantapa is pretty is separated by a small cave-like formation. There is some thick vegetation here which provides a good shade from the scorching heat.
The final phase of the trek is a steep climb along the side of a rock and then an easy walk to the Nandi mantapa. We reached the peak around 1:30 pm. The clouds had moved in and gave a good cover from the sun's hear. After spending around 20 minutes at the peak, we decided to get back to the base and on the way have some of the snacks that we had gotten along.
We rested near the Watchman's pond and had our food, and then continues on the descent.
We could spot the another majestic hill the Shivagange at a distance, I could feel my hear call for another trek to that hill, I would be going there soon.
Continuing on the descent with some exciting and adventurous moments we reached the base around 3 pm. With another dose of tender coconut, we were ready to get back in our car and reach Home.
This trek was a memorable one for me given that it was my first trek around Bangalore. I began to appreciate the difference in trekking in the western ghats and the rocky mountains around Bangalore.
The trek wouldn't be complete without a mention to the few typical characters I met along the way.
The NCC cadets were on a trekking expedition with one of their group leaders. The enthusiastic people were in a hurry to climb leaving their not so able compatriots who were lacking the confidence. I guess they should have spent some time in encouraging the morale of those people who were on their own mental wars along the trek.
Another instance I saw was the rigidity in the mindset of some of the cadets to innovate and explore. There were alternate routes to a common path don't be blinded by a single choice.
The fruit juice Vendor at the Nandi Mantapa:
This guy taught me a lot about economics (- monopoly and the like), Strategy (first mover advantage)
The Director's son:
The talkitive boy got me to realize the power of dream; when one is young and how one pursues it in all (s)he does.