Skandagiri, also known as Kalavara Durga is a very popular night trekking destination among Bangaloreans and is admired for the fascinating views of sunrise. Skandagiri is a hill fort which was built by the local palegars and further improved by Tippu Sultan. Much of the fortification still remains intact. Owing to the illegal activities and unlawful acts that have taken place here, the forest department has strictly banned trekking at Skandagiri. Long ago (2009), when Skandagiri was just gaining popularity, we were fortunate enough for having an opportunity to trek. One evening, we acted on our spontaneous decision of exploring Skandagiri that night to see a beautiful sunrise next morning. Back then, witnessing the crowds present there and their unruly behavior, it seemed like a disaster waiting to happen.
We started from home at around 11.30 pm and after picking up a few friends who wished to join us, cruised along NH 7 towards Chikkaballapur. In less than 45 minutes we reached Chikkaballapur and stopped at a place where a few policemen were on patrol duty, to inquire for directions. We followed their directions and reached the hill base, where a person agreed to be our paid guide. We parked our vehicle as per his guidelines and started walking towards the other side of the hill from where the trekking trail began. After ten minutes of walk, we reached a small tea shop and took a much needed hot tea break.
We ensured carrying sufficient lighting equipments such as torches and flash lights. Though the ascent was supposed to be easy, we struggled quite a bit as none of us had done anything of this sort. As this was our first trekking experience, we had to take breaks quite often and progressed slowly. It took us close to 3 hours to reach the top of the hill and we were glad to have made it! Our next challenge was spending time until sunrise in that cold winter night. We bade a good bye to our guide after paying his fee and found a nice place to settle down till the sunrise. It was a good two and a half hour wait for the sunrise and seemed to take longer for the sun to be completely out. The views as the sun rose were simply out of the world and worth every single step we had put forward that night. After a really long photo shoot, we descended down quickly feeling like achievers! Fortunately, we had another chance of trekking at Skandagiri two years later. While the crowd had grown five-fold this time around, the security personnel were more stringent about the rules.
|Good Morning from Skandagiri|
|Peaks Around Skandagiri|
|First Glimpse of the Sunrise|
|Queued Up to Get a Closer Look at the Sun|
|Nandi Hills as Seen from Skandagiri|
|Moon Lit Trek at Skandagiri|
|Floating Atop the Clouds|
|The Fort Wall|
|Sati Stones and Hero Stones at the Base of Skandagiri Hill|
Latest Update: Trekking here is now conducted/regulated by Karnataka forest department under their new initiative "Myecotrip", check their website for further details. Many thanks to Thams Roy for sharing this information with us.