- What – Half day hiking trip from Bangalore, India.
- When – Have made multiple visits with friends between 2010-2013
- Travel –
- 50Km car ride from Dairy Circle Bangalore towards Kanakpura Road
- Highlights –
- Very short ride to start trekking from Bangalore
- Descent hike for closed to 2 hours
- Part of Bannerghatta National park, very green, wind gust makes pleasant to walk even during summers
- Part of Bannerghatta national park, visiting is allowed only during weekend
- Wild elephant in vicinity. I never actually saw one, however one can see elephant dung. I dont think you should be worried unnecessary, however if you really spot any wild elephant, use common sense and don’t entice them by making noise or throwing stone etc.
- Permission to hike is tricky part – Last time we visited there was a watchman who asked us money during descent.
- Suitable Time Period
- Except monsoon any day is great to visit. If one starts at 5PM, by 1PM you will be back home.
- Arrangements – Self.
- STAR Rating – 3/5 – Rating reduced only due to uncertainty over trekking permission. Otherwise wonderful place to visit, there is nothing this close to Bangalore.
Rangaswamy betta is also called Bilikal Betta. It is one of the highest hill in the Kanakpura area. There are multiple routes to reach on hill, which includes damaged tar road and relatively stiffer hiking route of two hours.
From Bangalore if one wants to head out for hiking in western ghats, then one need to travel at-least 7-8 hours to reach the base. Rangaswamy betta surely fit the time constraint if you are looking for descent hike for less than 2 hours of travel . From Dairy circle where I started clocking speedometer, its not even 50 Km. In morning hours one can reach in an hour and start climbing up.
On hill there is Rangaswamy temple which will be usually locked. If you are planning for overnight trek then there is one open hut where 5-6 people can stay. There is one water pond too, but i guess it may get dried up in summer.
Early Morning Pics
Our Itinerary –
Initially we were planning a night trek and leave from Bangalore in evening. However none of us had actually visited place before so we opted to leave early morning next day. It turn out to be wise decision since the terrain is little stiff and there are lot of bushes around so it would be tough to figure out route.
We started at around 5 AM from dairy circle, and after a brief tea break a little confusion over starting place we had started walking around 7 AM. We need to walk for almost 1.5-2km, for about 35-40 min before we actually start climbing. Reaching top take another 1.5-2 hours, so by 10 AM we were on hill top.
After spending couple of hours on hill top we started descending. By 1 PM we reached the village and by 3PM we were back to Bangalore.
- Take Kanakapura Road drive around 30 KM to reach Harohalli – Its a state highway, and in very good condition
- At Harohalli take left turn after Bus Stand drive another 10-11 Km to reach Dodda Maralawadi. This too is good tar road.
- From Dodda Maralawadi one need to take slight right turn, drive 5 Km, to reach – Koonala Doddi. I suggest to ask direction here. Also the road is very narrow and bumpy. This place is also called Onaaladoddi, probably a different pronunciation !! My fried Sudhir told me its acutally called KonaDoddi, so keep all pronunciations handy 🙂
- Park your vehicles here and walk another 1-2 Km before you start trekking to Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta.
- KSRTC and private buses are available to Kanakapura from KR Market which passes through Harohalli. From Harohalli KSRTC and private buses are available to Dodda Maralawadi. From Dodda Maralawadi very few KSRTC buses are available to Koonala Doddi. The trek path starts from Koonala Doddi. Private cabs are available Harohalli.
- Apart from the Trek route from Koonala Doddi, there is jeep track till the peak from Kanakapura. I hear route is in reasonably good condition.
Difficulty Level – Its a easy to moderate trek. Terrain is little stiff, but since total trek duration is less than two hours its manageable.
Watch Out For –
- We find relatively fresh elephant dung on the way. We hear from villagers elephant are frequent visitors to the area, so take due care and if you indeed find elephant herd don’t make noise.
- Park your vehicle at your own risk – Local kids scratched my car little bit. Actually if you are on bike, you will be able to take your bikes till base, and parking there may be relatively safe.
- No Water on they way. Carry enough water with you.
- I heard on every Thursdays and Saturdays there will Pooja in temple. So if you are expecting quite outing, avoid these two days.
- There is some annual festival too when thousands on villagers gather on top. I have not seen any documented date when it happens, but be aware of it.
Things to look For
On top there is temple and an elephant sculpture. The landscape from top looks good, but i did not find it spectacular. But what i enjoyed most is how villagers cultivate Silkworms. I had never seen silkworms before and it was good to know how Silk is made.