Showing posts with label Kempe Gowda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kempe Gowda. Show all posts

Sunrise Trek to Huthridurga - Uttari Betta, Treks Around Bengaluru

'Huthridurga/Hutridurga', also popularly called as 'Uttari Betta' among the trekking community is one among the popular trekking trails around Bengaluru. It is rated as one of the easiest treks around Bengaluru suitable for all age groups. It is a great place for beginners who desire to trek. A word of caution for first time trekkers is to better be accompanied by people who are familiar with this place. Huthridurga is about 55 km from Bengaluru and is one of the Navadurgas (nine forts) built by Sri Kempegowda. This fort was built in the 16th century CE and has later undergone a few modifications during the reign of Hyder/Tippu and the British rule.  Click here for more details about this fort.
We, from #RTCBengaluru had planned a drive cum trek to Huthridurga this Sunday. Though initially many were interested to join the trek,  the number gradually decreased as the week progressed and after the last minute dropouts, our group comprised of 6 adults and 2 kids. We started our journey on time to Huthridurga and traveled in 2 vehicles. We started from home around 3:15am early morning although our scheduled time of departure was 3:00am. We were a few minutes late as we were waiting for one of our friends to join us. Unfortunately, he failed to pick our call and without wasting any more time we drove to our next assembly point which was Magadi Road. The rest of the group  were already present there. We joined them around 3:45 am and began our drive to Huthridurga, via Magadi.
Since it was that hour of the day when traffic is the least, we were able to cross Magadi in time and reach Huthridurga crossing at 4:45 am as per our plan. Here on we had to drive on a small section of ghat road and as we drove ahead, we were informed that Ravi Sir's vehicle had a break down. An inspection of the vehicle revealed that the issue was with one of the tensioner pulleys that had given way.  A wise decision of stopping the car was made to avoid any further problem. We were a little ahead of them and had to return to check on the situation. The vehicle was parked by the road side leaving enough space for the movement of other vehicles without any hindrance. All of us now drove ahead in one vehicle and reached  Huthridurga which was about 1 km from here. We decided to complete our trek first and check on the availability of a mechanic after our descent. 
Sunrise Trek to Huthridurga
Crescent Shaped Moon
We found a proper place for parking at the hill base and started our trek  at 5:15 am. It took us about 45 minutes to reach the top of the hill including a 10 minute break, under the clear black sky dotted with millions of stars and the lone crescent shaped moon. At the break point, I tried my hand at photographing the stars though I couldn't manage capturing a decent picture of the star lit sky. I realized that I should spend some more quality time to learn photographing the skies! We were greeted by a carving of Lord Anjaneya housed in a shelter a little further from here. We trekked  at a slow pace and reached the peak top comfortably. The weather was quite windy and chilly up there and amidst this, we patiently waited for the sun to rise. There is a temple atop the hill built by Sri Kempegowda dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is Sri Sankeshwara Temple which houses a shivalinga with an idol of Lord Nandi opposite to it. Attached on one side to the temple is a mantapa with pillars and roof covered with stone slabs. While my wife and kids took shelter inside the temple to keep themselves warm, the rest of us made ourselves comfortable and took respective positions so we could catch the first glimpse of sunrise.
Sunrise Trek to Huthridurga
Yes! He Finally Arrives!
Best Sunrise trek around Bengaluru
Lord Surya above Savanadurga Hill
Top Place to Watch sunrise around Bengaluru
What a View!
It was cold and quite breezy, and finally at 6:50 am the Sun made his appearance just like the description of Lord Surya arriving on his seven horsed chariot! Every Sunrise is a unique experience. For the next 20 minutes we enjoyed the showdown utilizing every opportunity for photo ops. After the sun rose and the weather turned warmer, we decided to explore the other portions of the fort. We spent some time between the boulders that acted as wind breakers for having snacks and chatting. Finally we descended and reached the starting point where we again halted for a short break to bask under the sun. It was time for breakfast as we all were quite hungry and drove down towards the town of Magadi for some hot Thatte Idli's (Plate Idli's) and filter coffee. After satisfying our hungry stomachs, our next job was to find a mechanic to fix the car, but being a Sunday most of the shops around remained closed. A few who were open were quite reluctant and refused to come along as the destination was quite far. Meanwhile Ravi Sir contacted his regular mechanic who agreed to come by and fix the car. We dropped everyone at the required stops and reached home safely. The weather turned pretty hot along our return journey and we were only reminded of how pleasant it was atop the hill amidst nature! We were informed by evening that Ravi sir got his vehicle repaired and reached home safely. He is quite an inspiration for all of us and his stories kept us engaged all through our trek and drive. It was yet another great experience. If you wish to join us on such drives, kindly visit the website of Road Trippers Club for more information and be a part of many such fabulous drives across India.
Hutridurga Trek
Kempasagar Lake
Uttari Betta Trek
Team on the Top
Trek, Trail and Tales

The Trek Team
1. Teamgsquare (Me, Amrutha, Adhi and Diya) in our Loyal Xylo
2. Ravi Shankar in Mahindra Scorpio
3. Vishwas Gowda, Natesha and Shiva Prakash, car pooled

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1. Moonlit Sunrise Trek to Channagiri 
2. 101 Places to Visit Around Bengaluru
3. Channarayana Durga Fort

Huliyurdurga Fort - A Legacy of Sri Kempegowda

'Huliyurudurga/ Huliyurdurga', literally meaning 'the fortress of  the tiger town' is located about 28 km from Magadi and 75 km from Bengaluru. Huliyurdurga is currently a hobli of Kunigal taluk in Tumkur district. A visit to this place was long time pending for us and after reading many articles about the failed attempts to reach the peak, we were a bit skeptical to step ahead. While our dear friend Prashant (popularly known as Payaniga) who has spent considerable time in this town confirmed that very few have made it to the top, we only imagined how challenging the trek would be!! Also, most of the locals acknowledge that it is quite difficult to reach the top. Last week, while doing a research on the same, I came across an article that gave details about the completion of Huliyurdurga trek in 20 minutes! Inspired by this, we  were bent upon reaching the peak top of Huliyurdurga. There was  no looking back this time around!!
Huliyurdurga Fort/ Kumbhi Betta
 The Fort of Huliyurdurga is popularly known as 'Kumbhi Betta' and the hill fort here was built by Sri Kempegowda, who was the then chieftain of Magadi town. This hill though small in size, carries natural advantages of being incorporated as a hill fort. The fort later came under the rulers Chikka Devaraya Wodeyar, Hyder Ali, and Tippu Sultan in turns, after which finally in 1792 the Marathas and the British together laid siege to the fort. They eventually captured and destroyed the fort as they believed it was not worth saving it. Up to 1873, Huliyurdurga remained as the taluk headquarters after which it lost its prominence and currently serves as a hobli. This place was surrounded by thick forests and we still get the feel of the same while traveling along the Magadi - Huliyurdurga highway. The name Huliyurdurga is attributed to the tiger (huli in Kannada), which was a frequent visitor to this place. There are a few ancient temples at the base of the hill believed to have been built during the reign of the Wodeyar's.
Huliyurdurga Fort Entrance
Sri Kumbhi Ganapathi
Vertical Limit 1
The Climb
Reaching the hill base of Huliyurdurga was quite an easy task and the fort seemed inviting. We parked our vehicle at the entrance of the fort. Hereon, steps are laid up till the temple of Lord Sri Kumbhi Ganapathi. We had a casual conversation with a local who was involved in work in his cattle shed. He informed us that climbing up till the fort is not advisable with kids around. Hence we decided to climb as much as possible and then take a call. We reached the Sri Kumbhi Ganapathi temple in no time and investigated for the trek path here on. Finding two routes, we took the one of which had which had directions marked, while the other path went around the hill. We reached a point where there were multiple arrows pointing towards 3 directions! We took the route as per directions towards the left and reached a point from where the route seemed to disappear. The only way up was to climb the steep hill from here or return to explore the other two paths. We continued to hang on, take time to strategize and challenged ourselves to trek further. While our 3.5 year old team-mate Adhi climbed up quite easily on directing him for multiple stops and then proceeding, our 1 year old was very cooperative and we three joined our team-mate in some time. Though the ascent was somewhat possible, we knew that getting down would be definitely challenging!! Meanwhile, Adhi led us to a door way and we followed him to another hill with gradual slope.
Path of Ascent on the Steep Slope
The Fort Wall
Final Frontier
Ruins of Building atop Huliyurdurga Fort
Ragi Grinding Stone

The upper most tier of the fort had ruins of a few buildings, springs (water ponds), powder magazines, durbar hall, granaries, etc. We spent some time here exploring the ruins. In the meanwhile, my wife wished to climb the brick wall of a ruined structure and did so. On spotting a dead leaf mantis on the inner wall, she spent time capturing the mantis who seemed really dead (owing to its name) and happily posed for us. After some time, we decided to head back and reached the spot from where the descent was challenging. Fortunately, our team work was fruitful and we were able to reach the safe spot without any mishap. The rest of our descent was easy. After reaching down, we visited the Sri Gopalakrishna/Venugopala temple built at the base of the hill. The temple architecture resembled that of the Mysuru Wodeyar style and must have been built during the17th century. This temple is a Trikuta and houses murtis of Sri Guru Shankaracharya and Goddess Lakshmi in the two garbhagrihas. Besides this temple is the Sri Lakshmi temple built during the same period. Sadly a few years back, owing to the greed of the people, this temple has been damaged in order to find hidden treasure, if any. During this incident, the main murti of Goddess Lakshmi Devi was damaged and now the temple is not in use. From here on our way back towards the town, we sighted the Kote Anjaneya Swamy temple and a Nandi Mantapa, probably indicating the presence of a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on the hill. Thus ending another successful quest, which coincidentally also was our last capture of all the Navadurgas, the nine forts built around Bengaluru by Sri Kempegowda.
Dead Leaf Mantis 
Water Pond
Base of the Damaged  Murti of Goddess Lakshmi Devi
Sri Venugopala Swamy Temple
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Fort Bhairavadurga, Kuduru Betta

 Ever since we read about the existence of  Navadurgas (Nine Forts) around Bangalore, our hunt for these were on. It is rather surprising that information on the Navadurgas is limited along with the ambiguity about the nine forts and the basis of them being called as Navadurgas. We were confident about eight forts out of the nine namely Savanadurga, Kabbaladurga, Huthridurga, Devarayanadurga, Makalidurga, Channarayanadurga, Nandidurga and Huliyurdurga. The ninth one listed, Bandallidurga, did not sound convincing since its location ( M M hills) somehow seemed to be  far away from the Bangalore circuit. When we read about  Bhairavadurga , we thought that it fits this list perfectly, though not sure. Not much of history of this place is known except that it was built by Kempe Gowda II and later was conquered by Tippu Sultan and the British.
Bhairavadurga Hill
The Path
 Every now and then, we were haunted by our incomplete trek to Fort Bhairavadurga. On a early Sunday morning, we decided to conquer this fort second time around and set out towards exploring Bhairavadurga. Having chosen a wrong path along with a wrong time for climbing this hill last time, we ensured all was well during our ascent this time. We inquired about the right route to the hill top from locals . We began our climb slowly and steadily and after some time, we came across a fleet of steps which gave us some relief since the trek until then was quite tiresome.  The end of flight lead us to the first tier of the Fort. Hereon, we followed the trail up to the next tier and continued until  we reached a spot which looked tricky to climb without any support as it was very steep. There were remains of  iron rods embedded in the rock which probably served as a support system for climbing. After crossing this, it was a leisure walk to the top tier.  There is a water spring or Dhonne (in Kannada) in between two massive rocks on the hill top with well laid steps. The water in this spring never dries up even in the severest of the summers. There are big boulders and a few ruined structures on the top .The views from the hill top were outstanding.
Final Tier of the Fort
 Spring (or Dhonne in Kannada)
Balancing Act
Boulders and the Ruined Structure

Base of a Grinding Stone
Bird's eye view of Kudoor village
Glass/ Poly-House
Lord Anjaneya
There is a cave temple dedicated to lord Bhairaveshwara on the other side of the hill . The Antaragange temple in Kudoor village is considered to be more ancient than the Fort. Unfortunately, this temple was closed during our visit.
View of Shivagange
Crumbling Walls 
Panoramic View
Sun Basking
 Directions from Bangalore - NH 48 - Solur - Right Turn -Kudoor - Left Turn - Travel a kilometer, then take a Left Turn to find an Arch Entrance - Reach the Fort Base
 Distance from Bangalore - 55 km

1. Navadurgas 
2. Deccan Herald
3. Fortmapper

Fort Bhairavadurga

    On a lazy Sunday noon, after a sumptuous lunch at home, we decided to explore a fort situated close to Bangalore. Our target this time was the Bhairavadurga Fort. After gearing up suitably, we drove towards Bhairavadurga. On reaching Hulikal, we stopped by to get directions from a local. He instructed us to drive through the mud road just after passing out of the village and on reaching a mango grove, we could start our trek. We parked our vehicle and headed straight towards the hill base. We came across another local whom on inquiring about the route to the hill top, warned us about the presence of leopards and bears in the dense areas surrounding the hills and advised it would be better if we explored this place during the early hours. He then calmed us down by assuring our safety if we returned before sunset and informed us we had to walk  about a kilometer to reach the base of the hill and then follow the path to the hill top. Since we were already  late, we made an instant and a strict decision of  trekking only up till 5:30 pm and returning to ensure safety. That meant we had about an hour and fifteen minutes as our trek time limit, which we thought would be just enough.
Fort Bhairavadurga
Into the Woods
     As we walked further, the vegetation gradually changed from shrubby to woody and though it was summer, the walk through the woods was quite pleasant. We reached the hill base and also found a path for our trek uphill. We followed the path and all of a sudden, reached a dead end on the path with all sides covered with thorny shrubs. We had nowhere to go further. Somehow, we spotted a small opening in between the shrubs and realized that if we crossed a few yards, from there on the walk would be easy and so we did. We were excited to see a flight of steps that lead to a gateway that was completely engulfed by shrubs.
The Dead End
Under Shrubs
Steps leading to the Gateway
 The Gateway
   After passing the gateway, and walking ahead, it seemed like we had lost our way as there was no path to climb up. Though the upper most tier of fort was in sight, we could not find a way to the hill top. We tried different routes that we thought would lead us to the fort but in vain. Since it was late evening, we decided not to venture further and planned to return.
Area engulfed by Shrubs
Upper Tier

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