Saturday, January 17, 2009

Trip 8: Savandurga - Manchinbele Dam - Big Banyan Tree!

Date : 21/12/2008

Difficulty level
: Moderate to Easy (V.EASY) and this is being told by a guy who suffers from Bathmophobia.

History: Savandurga (a.k.a Saavina Durga - Fort of Death!) is a hill 33 km west of Bangalore .The hill rises to 1226 m above mean sea level and is formed by two hills known locally as Karigudda (black hill) and Biligudda (white hill). Kempegowda and Tippu Sultan were the main Kings, who built the forts at this place, during the British era. River Arkavathi forms the back waters of the manchinbele dam.

Filmography: Savandurga was the location for the making of David Lean's movie A Passage to India. Also, Ramnagar is famous for the shooting of Indian Blockbuster Sholay. A lot of movies have been shot at the Big Banyan Tree :)

Route: Bangalore - Magadi Road - Just before reaching Magadi, take a left to Ramnagar - 22 Km before Ramnagar you get an arch on the left which is the enterance to savandurga - Ask locals for route from there to Manchinbele Dam - from there ahead to Big Banyan Tree - Kengeri - Mysore Road - Back to Blore

Additional Comments:
A wonderful trek including sight seeing, which can be completed comfortably within a day without any hassles!

The Trip in Detail :
After the recent Skandagiri trip, we were waiting for another trip...this time a decent and "non adventurous" (pre retirement types) sight seeing trip... but ended up as usual going for a "TREK" :) . Calling ourselves this time - The "Trek Madi" team, constituting of Bhagya, Rajeshwari, myself, Vibhav and Vijay, we set out to trek up Asia's largest MONOLITHIC Rock - The Savandurga Betta.

"This Rock doesn't seem to be easy to climb from any side" - Team member to Sudhir on Savandurga
after being scared by other blogs

We left at around 7 am. Got lost a bit, because the auto guys had covered the sign board at Savandurga. So reached the base at around 8:30 am. Further, we searched for a nearby guide, to inquire which was the easy way up :). BP TIP: FOLLOW THE ARROWS (Which later felt like a stupid question, coz there's ONLY one EASY way UP... many of course to come down ;) ).
Helpful arrows on the way, showing you the right way up :)

So, at 8:51 am IST we finally reached the spot from where we were supposed to start the climb :).

Vibhav, Vijay, Myself, Bhagya and Rajeshwari - At the Base of Savandurga

The climb up Savanadurga is pretty simple. 4 levels and finally you are at the top where u get to meet Mr. Nandi. and have a personal Lunch with him :)

Looks difficult - but the easy path up to the summit of Savandurga...

SO here's the 4 rest points on the way... make sure u rest... saw a few people giving up at level 1 itself. It gets easier as u climb... its only route to level 3 which is a little steep!

Level 1:
Small fort wall which is 15 minutes up the hill from the base. It's almost non existant... but Vib , Raji and Vijay still managed to climb it ;)
BP TIP: Have breakfast here :)

Level 1 fort wall : Vibs, Raji and Vijay explore...

Level 2: Half an hour later (incl. breakfast time) you reach a small cave on the way. Its to the left of the rock your climbing... took some snaps there... have a look :)

The Cave at level 2: Nice place for taking rest...

Level 3: Half an hour from here(level 2) (time incl. for a photoshoot of a spiders web which seemed to look good with the dew and sun) you reach the main fort :). This a famous part of the fort, and most of the blogs have snaps here of people jumping posing e.t.c (I cudnt put the jump snap bcos a few of the team members wud kill me :P ) So make sure... u too take snaps :D and send me good "jump" snaps. U can also see a part of the fort wall going up...we took this route to climb some part of the distance as it was kinda easy to have grip on (good for takin snaps :P )

The only tricky part climbing up the hill... the footholds help out :)... Vijay showing the way

"Trek Madi" gang atop the fort wall at level 3 :)

Level 4: After the fort wall (level 3) there's not much climbing. U'll see a small pond...with weeds in it... nothin much interesting... Sort of straight land. On the way, there's a nice rock which u can see in the pic. Nice place to take rest just before the final climb... (Half an hour from level 3).

Level 4: Bhagya and Vijay help Rajeshwari to lift the rock :)

After this its a piece of cake to the top...(15 mins walk) and U reach MR . NANDI... A few snaps at the summit :).

Mr Nandi : Guarding the top of the hill :)

Vibhav and Vijay pose in front of Nandi

Vibhav lazes around in the hot sun... on a very comfortable bed... I wudnt dare TO turn in my sleep while I'm there...

SO we took a total of 2.5 hours to reach the top. Had a light lunch and began our descent.

At 2:21, after having darshan of Narasimha and Lakshmi at the temple at the base, we reached the forest guest house, where we got permission to freshen up a little. From there, we proceeded to Manchinbele dam.

Sadly, now the authorities do not allow you to go on the dam, you can see it from far and proceed to the back waters of the dam. There's nothing much to do around here, only one dhaba which we never spotted :D. There's no shade as well... We reached here by around 3:30 PM. I guess there was a shorter route...unfortunately took the longer one...

Lucky to spot two things... one a Yatch being sailed by some foreigners... (Dono how they got here... just shows how beautiful our INDIA is!! :) ) BP Tip: FILMAKERS STOP going to BANGKOK SWITZERLAND... see what u have in your hands...

Foreigners sailing a Yatch at the Manchinbele Dam...

The other things we spotted (Luck by chance :P) was a water snake! elegantly posing for the cam.

Water Snake poses at the cam... in the cool waters of Arkavati River...

We spent some time here...had the remainder of lunch and just stepped into water for some snaps... it was refreshing... (little dirty water though... chalta hai... :P )

Trek Maadi Gang at Manchinbele dam :)

From there we left to the Big banyan Tree. On the way, we noticed the HUGE satellite dishes... must be for the chandrayaan mission. Pl. Note if your lucky u can see them from LEVEL 3 fort... look like big Plates... :P

Satellite dish zoomed 40x times from Level 3 point atop Savandurga :)

Close up of the Antenna, on the way to the Big Banyan Tree!

1 hour drive from Manchinbele dam, is the Big Banyan Tree... which in the 1980's was considered the most imp. place to see in Blore...
u havent seen Big banyan tree... u havent seen anything...

Now things are different... we didnt find anything particularly interesting at this place... except for the HAWAN place... reminded us of Phoonk...

Rajeshwari poses amidst the branches of the Banyan tree... a scene from phoonk 2?

We were also Disappointed there was no indication as to which was THE MAIN TRUNK :P (ok in short...maybe we were all tired out n found nothin interesting... )

A snap at the Banyan Tree :)

Anyways after a lovely trip n trek we left back to Bangalore at 5 with deep thoughts of the wonderful time we had and we were back by 6:15 sipping hot tea at home. A wonderful jouney in the Ramnagaram area, I surely do wanna visit Savandurga a second time.

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