Savandurga : Adventurous Rock Climbing

Location: Savandurga
Date: Nov 1st 2010
To get there: [Click here for Google Map].
There are 2 routes to reach the place from Bangalore.
1) Take the Mysore Road. Turn right after Kengeri, right after Rajarajeshwari Dental College. There is break in the divider here and the road leads to Big Banyan Tree and Country Club. Go along this road passing Big Banyan on the way until you reach an intersection in the middle of a village. Turn left here towards Manchinbele (ask somebody just to make sure). Go past Manchinbele Reservoir (on the right) until you come to an Village where there is a sign to turn right for Savandurga. Now the road goes through some wonderful greenery. After about 10km, you will see a right turn with a big signboard for Savandurga, facing the other way though. Some shops with lot of Autos will be there. Ask to confirm you are the right track. About 4km after this you will reach Savandurga.
2)(We returned by this route) Go on Magadi Road past Tavarekere and Thippagondanahalli. You need to take a left towards Savandurga before you reach Magadi. Best to ask when you are about 6-8 kms from Magadi. Then its a left from this road where the big signboard is.
Distance: About 70kms from Bangalore
Trail type: Solid rock! Savandurga's 2 hills Billigudda and Karigudda are Monoliths. So, you are walking on rock surface at a fairly decent incline. Route is marked with white arrows. A local person latched on to us as a guide and he was able to show us a route which even my 5 yr old managed without being carried. However we only went 1/2 way so not sure after that. Beware that climbing in wet conditions is probably very dangerous.
Facilities: Several shops sell snacks and water near the temple at the base. Some basic dhabha type hotels were also present. We did not try them as we had carried our food. Magadi, I am sure will have decent hotels. Toilets... are on your own. Our guide let us use the marriage hall.

It had been some time since we had done a family trek close to Bangalore. Nov 1st being Kannada Rajyotsava which made Monday a holiday, it seemed like a crime to let it go waste. So, us and Bipin, my college friends family, started searching for a nice place to go. It had to be kid friendly as between us we had a 12(kruthi), 9 (Nithila), 7(Samitha), 5 (Swarup) yr olds. Finally, it was the Kruthi who suggested Savandurga. We settled on it after a quick Internet research and it turned out to be a great choice!

We started out around 7.30 choosing route 1) as it was closer to us. By 9am we were at the Big Banyan tree. After stopping to take in the sight of this large tree, we continued until we crested a hill and came upon the magnificent view of Manchinbele reservoir. Using our experience during our last visit here, we decided to take the road along the reservoir for a short distance and have our picnic breakfast by the side of the reservoir. Kids were of course happy with that decision!

All along, this trail we birded where ever we could. Highlight was about 25 Baya weaver nests in a roadside Palmyra tree, half of which seemed active with birds building, fixing and just living in them. Doves, bulbuls, sunbirds, cormorants could be seen all along the way. Manchinbele hosted lots of Red-rumped Swallows, some Grey Herons and a pair of Spot-billed Ducks among others.

We proceeded along some beautiful roads and quite thick forest to Savandurga. The hills looked magnificent as we approached it. Soon we were parked opposite to the temple and asking for directions to the start of the trail. Everybody knew it! An old local man, Mr Rajanna, approached us asking if we needed a guide. We were not sure. He hired himself as our guide and tagged along. After seeing the menacing the rock surface, we decided to let him take charge. That was a good decision as he chose good routes and helped the kids over tough parts. This I think is the easier Billigudda, though we never did ask anybody there. The other Karigudda is supposedly much more difficult to climb.

The climb itself is awesome for anybody who does not do much rock climbing. The slope is not too daunting once you get used to it and feels quite adventurous to trek over. Since we had only couple of hours and with small kids we asked our guide to lead us only half way up where one can find remnants of Kempe Gowda's fort. The kids had a whale of a time scrambling over the hills to reach this spot which is about one km from the starting point and with 100 mtrs or so elevation gain.

The views from here were fantastic. We savoured it over cookies, drinks, chips and what not for more than 30 mins. Reluctantly as thunder clouds started moving in, we descended fairly quickly to the trail head near the temple. After a well deserved tender coconut, sandwiches and snacks, we headed back to Bangalore around 2pm.

This time we took the Magadi route, then hopped on to NICE road after Tavarekere to exit at Banashankari via the Link Road or PES College Exit. At 62Rs it was close to a rip-off but both the Magadi and NICE Roads made the drive easier and maybe it was worth it.

So, what do I think of this place? I recommend it as a great spot for an adventurous family outing. The drive along Machinbele and the forest before Savandurga adds to the experience. The trek or climb itself is quite exhilarating and kids are sure to enjoy it provided due precautions are taken. Wear good shoes and don't do anything stupid like running up or down, especially when the shoes get wet in the various small streams of water. Rajanna or Thathappa as we called him warned us about many mishaps ending in broken bones.

As always, if you do choose to trek here, take all the photos you wish and leave only footprints, that is, if you can on the rock! Yes, I mean do not litter and keep the area clean which it surprisingly was compared to other such spots in Bangalore.

More photos can be found at:


Team G Square said...

nicely written and nice photos .

Team G Square said...

updated with details you have asked regarding agumbe .

vinayak_suryavanshi said...

Is there any organisation for rock climbing ????