Most of the South India is placed on a plateau. In the South India, when we go to coastal area, hence we descend down to the sea level so that area is called Ghats. These appear like mountains. Western Ghats are lush green and Eastern Ghats are dry due to different weather systems.
If you take a train to Bangalore (Karnataka Express Route), after Hindupur, Karnataka begins just after 7 kilometers. Train begins climbing towards Bangalore and terrain takes dramatic changes after the temple town of Gauribidanur to Dodballarpur. After Gauribidanur climb becomes severe and area becomes intense scenic.
Climax of the scenes come around the station of Makalidurga. Whomsoever see this area first time; only gasps. Cameras come out and flashes begin lightening. Station of Makalidurga is at the base of the huge granite hillock.
Makalidurga located around 60 km from Bangalore and 10 kilometers from Doddaballarpur offers various options to visitors like bird watching, Trekking and Rock-climbing etc. Makalidurga (fort) stands atop on the hill, huddled up amidst the chains of mountains, formed like a valley closer to Subramanya Ghati, a well-known pilgrimage center.
It has a fort on top, at the height of 1,350mts. There is a temple of lord Shiva. The fort at the summit has an old temple of Shiva with Nandi and it is believed that Markandeya Rishi performed penance here. It is a joy to climb on this hill and scenes are superb. Once can see the whole Subramanya Ghati and Nandi Hills. When I was young and studing in Bangalore, I used to come to Makalidurga and Subramanya Ghati very often.
After train passes Makalidurga station Subramanya Ghati becomes visible and grand temple situated in the hills amidst of the small village becomes visible (2 kilometers as crow flies). Train goes around the temple and makes its climb till the scenic station of Odarahalli and from Odarahall climb eases up and after Doddaballarpur climb is over. Scenes are different. Those rugged dry hills and terrain of Andhra are way past and now whole area is extremely beautiful, green and cool. Bangalore suburbs begin a little after Doddaballarpur.
Subramanya Ghati is an ancient Hindu temple, The uniqueness of this temple is that the prime deity “lord Karthikeya”, is found together with “lord Narasimha”.
According to mythology, both idols are believed to have emerged from the earth. It is also an important centre in South India for snake worship. Special rituals are performed during Brahmarathotsava, i. e. , on the day of Pushya shudda Shashti. Narasimha Jayanti is the other major festival celebrated here.
Behind and around the temple are thousands of idols of snakes and childless couples come to worship these snake idols and upon the fulfillment of their wishes they install a snake idol here.
Probably these many words were necessary to describe the area around Subramanya Ghati and now let’s begin our walk to this scenic place. Let’s catch Yeshwantpur Vijaywada passenger from Yeshwantpur station at 8AM.
We arrive at Odarahalli station at a bit before 10 AM and begin our walk. We will return on the same returning train but from Makalidurga station. This arrives there at 14.
33 but it is always more than 2 hours late so we plan to end our walk at 4PM there and if we miss this train then we will just hail any bus to Bangalore just outside the station. Even if you ask locals about the arrival time of the train they all say it arrives at 4PM.
So we are at Odarahalli and walk out on the main road to Ghatti. We cross the small village and railway line. There is a small restaurant here just near the railway crossing. Then we walk and come out of the village.
On the way we see some farmers selling their fruits and sugarcane. You may buy Papayas; Sugarcane cut pieces, Watermelons and black grapes for much low price. These fruits grow all around here. Lemon grass grows all over here so as usually I pluck and keep some leaves in my pockets for the lemon tea. After 2 kilometers comes another small beautiful village under the grove of huge trees. We keep walking and valley begins.
A small brook from hills crosses our road and the ravine is full of flowering bougainvillea bushes that are gone wild here. After a turn we see the village of Ghatti below.
We are in this small village. In from of the temple is a large open area and at its right side a street goes to a grove of trees, there are the thousands of idols of snakes under the trees. We enter in the magnificent temple and after paying our respect to the Gods we come out of temple and walk its behind. Behind the temple and below are more snake idols in a serene park setup.
Several people are doing poja at their own fixed idol. Monkeys are busy in snatching and stealing. It is a nice and serene place to sit and watch the valley. There are benches and water taps under the trees. We come out and have basic and inexpensive food in a restaurant and then walk to the bottom of the valley towards Makalkdurga. Road makes a hairpin bend and passes behind the temple then continues in the valley.
On the way we pass a river. After few turns in this scenic landscape we pass another river.
Whenever I see a river, I cannot resist taking bath. An old man who just took bath here, I ask him to borrow his dhoti that he is about to spread on the bushes to dry. He gladly lends me his dhoti and I take a long bath in the gentle cold water. After bathing I return the dhoti and we walk further.
We are near Makalidurga and we see some upscale resorts. We pass resorts and arrive at the main road and Makalidurga village.
It is 4PM, and so far no symptoms of any trains, so we have time for another cup of tea and some vadas. Then we walk to the station and purchase tickets. Station is at the bottom of beautiful hill and we walk around. Nobody get bored here because area is so beautiful.
Train arrives at 4. 30 and we arrive back in Yeshwantpur at 7PM.
This was a great memorable day.
Dil dhoondta hai, phir wahi phursat ke raat din.
Dil dhoondta hai, phir wahi phursat ke raat din.