Saturday, January 19, 2013

Enchanting Savanadurga, Bangalore

This hill was always a mystery for me. It always invited me. This big hill protrudes out of the earth and is visible from many places in Bangalore. I always admired this twin hill and one day I decided to go there. And one glance at it makes you feel like a giant elephants back. It looks smooth and bald.
When you go to Mysore from Bangalore, comes the town of Ramanagaram. Just before Ramanagram hills begin. Most are Monolithic and very charming. On one of these hills, famous movie Sholey was shot. This hills corridor extends towards Kanakpura Side. Magadi lies in this green, rocky, hilly and very scenic corridor. Savandurga lies in the center of this corridor. Then this corridor descends to the valley of Kavery River after Kanakpura. There lies a place called Mekedatu where Kavery rivers makes a very narrow ravine where goats can cross it by jumping and so is the meaning of Mekedatu in Kannada is Goat’s leap.
There is a ruined fort on Savandurga hill. In the perimeter of the fort are cross walls and barriers for defenses. At the bottom and also at patches on it are full of bamboos and other trees that constituted a formidable surmountable barricade for the troops attacking it.
Temple at the bottom.
There are no steps to reach the hilltop. Billibetta is a steep grey plain rock and a footpath can climb it. At the top is an open stone platform housing a Basava image on a rock is engraved an Anjaneya (Hanuman) temple.
Temple at the bottom.
After crossing, five gateways in the course of climbing towards the top are seen four hero-stones, of which one is right above an entrance to an underground cellar. Also found is a figure of Ganesha engraved on a slowing rock wall a top karibetta.
After changing two buses and one shared auto rickshaw and then some distance on the foot, I arrived at the famous temples under the mountains, in the serene jungle village. This area in general is very captivating and charming. Air is fresh, terrain is green and many birds sing here.
Way to the top.
There are no steps to go to the top. Just have to follow the arrows painted. You have to walk, climb, and crawl over to get to the top. Once on the top, here comes the biggest reward of the views. The whole climb up to the top is a once in a life time experience.
View from the temple.
It takes about 2 hours of leisurely climb to get to the top. One can visit both hills from the summit. On the top is a open temple structure with a Nandi. There are caves, marshy patches, tall grasses, weirdly bent trees which makes you fell that you are in some other country like Tanzania etc. People usually stay on the top for some hours, enjoying the views and breeze.
Fort on the hill
Picnickers come to spend time among the serene environment of the hill. Rock climbers, cave explorers and adventurers are among others who come often here. This hill is a paradise for rock climbers and you may see guided rock climbing groups here.
Ruins of Fort
From the top, Thippagondanahalli reservoir and Manchanabele dam are visible in the lush green ravines and it is very tempting to get there but it is not possible in a day unless you have a car and want to see many places in a day. This is not my style.
Savandurga view from the bottom.
I take my time to explore a place and get into the rhythm with it.
The hills are amazing and the surrounding landscape is very beautiful. There are many trees and plants one can enjoy. People say that this hill has mind cooling effect and I have also experienced this. Only regret I had, that I took the auto, I should have walked, as auto-rickshaw came out of Magadi, scenic landscape begun, extremely beautiful small villages, lush green jungles, farmlands, lakes and small temples.
After Magadi Junction.
But anyway I walked my way back to Magadi, all 12 kilometers.
Savandurga is a hill 60 km west of Bangalore, off the Magadi road. The hill is considered to be among the largest monolith hills in Asia. The hill rises to 1226 m above mean sea level. The Arkavathi River passes nearby through the Thippagondanahalli reservoir and on towards Manchanabele dam.
Serene temple at the bottom.
Savandurga is formed by two hills known locally as Karigudda (black hill) and Biligudda (white hill). The earliest record of the name of the hill is from 1340 AD by Hoysala Ballala III from Madabalu where it is called Savandi.
The Savandurga hills are frequented by pilgrims who come to visit the Savandi Veerabhadreshwara Swamy and Narasimha Swamy temple sited at the foothills. .
Bus route: Take a bus to Magadi Road from Majestic Bus Stand, Bangalore.
Steep pathless climb.
This bus usually drops you at one point of Magadi road within city limits, you will require to take one more bus from here to a Magadi road junction where you need to take a left for Savanadurga (12 km from the point), there are private and KSRTC buses to Hospete Gate (you can say Savana Durga here). Total traveling time 2hrs 15 minutes from Bangalore. (In case you don’t find a bus, auto can be used for covering these last 12 km)
Village at the bottom.
Along with Ramanagaram, this was also a location for the making of David Lean’s famous movie A Passage to India.
Shikakai grows all over Savandurga area
Shikakai Acacia concinna
Acacia concinna has been used traditionally for hair care in the Indian Subcontinent since ancient times. It is one of the Ayurvedic medicinal plants. The fruit is known in India as shikakai ( Hindi: शिकाकाई) “fruit for hair” in its use as a traditional shampoo. To prepare the shampoo fruit pods, leaves and bark of the plant are dried, ground into a powder, then made into a paste. While this traditional shampoo does not produce the normal amount of lather that a sulfate-containing shampoo would, it is considered a good cleanser. It is mild, having a naturally low pH, and doesn’t strip hair of natural oils. Usually no conditioner is needed, for shikakai also acts as a de-tangler. An infusion of the leaves has been used in anti-dandruff preparations.
Shikakai Acacia concinna
A. concinna extracts are used in natural shampoos or hair powders and the tree is now grown commercially in India and Far East Asia. The plant parts used for the dry powder or the extract are the bark, leaves or pods. The bark contains high levels of saponins, which are foaming agents found in several other plant species used as shampoos or soaps. Saponin-containing plants have a long history of use as mild cleaning agents. Saponins from the plant’s pods have been traditionally used as a detergent, and in Bengal for poisoning fish; they are documented to be potent marine toxins.
Other uses
Acacia concinna leaves have an acidic taste and are used in chutneys.

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