This blog was written by Aman Singhania, who is a Host Alliance Manager at Xoxoday.
Hello People, here I am sharing my amazing one-day trek experience that I went through. Well, the seeds of the Shivagange trek were sown with the kick off TrekNomads. You must be wondering what’s TrekNomads??? Well to say, it’s a group of very passionate people who are inclined towards adventure. Here, adventure = Trek+Travel+Fun.
So, this community was born within a bunch of crazy travel enthusiasts, or as they like to call themselves, ‘Nomads’ from the Xoxoday team. To get the Xoxoday team up and going, everyone decided to head for a day trek to a hill near Bangalore and end the glorious month of August.
If you’re looking to heading somewhere where you can find some peace and solitude while adventurous, then Shivagange is the place to be. It’s a mere 60 kilometers away from Bangalore and must I say that you will definitely not want to come back one you visit.
Before, hitting the road for the trek, we planned to drop by at one of Bangalore’s oldest and most recommended food joints, SLV. We reached SLV at 7 Am and it was a surprising sight to see that the place was teeming with people. The crowd was going crazy and the queue was unending. All of us ordered for Idli Chutney, SLV’s signature dish. The first bite I took made me realize why the crowd was going mad over the breakfast here. It was worth the wait and the queue. We also binged on some deliciously crispy Vadas and ended the breakfast with a cup of steaming hot coffee. The super cloudy weather, the early morning crowd, and the filter coffee made this one of the most simple yet amazing breakfasts I’ve had in a very long time.
After a hearty breakfast, we finally started towards Dobbaspet which was the base camp for our trek. We decided to go via the NICE road, and I cannot begin to explain how beautiful the drive was. The rocky hills around, the supremely cloudy weather, an empty road, and driving at a speed of 120 km/hr made this a perfect for a mini road trip.
So, we reached our base camp at around 9 in the morning after a beautiful 1 and half hour’s drive.
My experience at Shivagange was quite mesmerizing. This hill has ancient cave temples that is at a height of 1368 meters giving you a brilliant view of the land below. The weather that day was just perfect and the whole trek was like a complete rejuvenation of mind and body. The trail to the peak is well marked with the presence of man-made steps carved into the rocky landscape. But a great part of the success of the trek goes to the railings that these treks have which provided us with some much-needed support while climbing. Especially because the last stretch of the trail becomes quite challenging.
Colourful legends, mythological gods, cave temples and innumerable spring water fountains are what greeted us, once we started our climb the rocky hill.
Before we started out, we were in a dilemma, if we should continue our trek with our footwear on, considering it as an auspicious place. After noticing some people, we finally got over it and kicked off for the trek, considering all for the good we continued with our shoes on.
After climbing around 50 steps we noticed a huge rock structure known as the Gangadhareshwara Temple. What is magical about this place is that the priest applies the ghee (that you brought along) from each devotee’s pot onto the lingam and almost immediately, the ghee begins to melt down the black surface and is converted to butter. This butter is also said to have medicinal value.
This temple and the ritual has drawn the attention of the tourists from all over the country, we noticed a lot of people doing the same. The walls of the Gangadheshwara Temple have beautiful carvings and nearby are the remains of a fort. It is widely believed that from this temple there is a tunnel that connects Shivaganga Hill to the Gavigangadhareshwaraswamy Temple in Bangalore.
Our next stop was Olkala Teertha, which came after another 30-minute climb. The path now started getting steeper with every single step, making it a tedious task for us to climb. We thought not to lose our hope, just to make our way to the top.
So, finally, we made it through to the second temple known as Olakala Teertha (Olakallu Teertha). This temple is a significant one. There is a small hole in the rock into which you put your hand; the belief is that only those who have done good will be able to touch the water and will prosper. It is merely a mental game to which the trick is quite simple, try to put your hand in as deep as possible and try and touch the natural spring that is present at the certain depth.
Once past the Olakala Teertha, we decided to take a short break where we quenched our thirst with ice cold water and some energy bars to set ourselves back on track. Now came the toughest part of the trek, with an almost negligible presence of the steps, where one has to take the help of metal railings to ascend the hill.
This was accompanied by the most adventurous part of the trip, where one of our group members was attacked by a monkey. So, the place has a danger quotient of sorts, the entire trail is infested with Monkeys who are just waiting for a chance to pounce on the food that you’re carrying with you.
To defend ourselves we quickly tried to move in groups, after realizing that the group was getting outnumbered. After ascending for a while, in order to get rid of fatigue, we quickly grabbed a slice of cucumber, to make our way for the final feat.
The next sight that we had to encounter on the way up was a magnificent Black Nandi (bull) carved out of the rock. The hill rock looked scary and is rather difficult to climb, as the platform on the top is quite narrow and it seemed as if it cannot support the crowd that is standing on it. However, the age-old solid rock can be afforded more credit and one can confidently make their way up, where the Nandi is placed.
Once I scaled the peak, I was lost with the beauty of the place. The place is just fantastic, with a breathtaking view of the city below from the high altitude. Once you reach the top, you are sure to be mind-blown by the spectacular view.
We peaked at around 12 pm. At one end, one would find two huge stone pillars and a couple of bells hanging from a huge boulder. At the other end, one would find the cliff, known as Shantala drop or suicide point, from where Hoyasala king Vishnuvardhana’s wife dancing queen Shantala is supposed to have jumped to her death.
While on top, one would have their first bird’s eye view from Shivaganga. The village in the distance, the surrounding hills, square fields, the temple pond and birds swooping in and soaring above you are part of the experience.
After spending some time in the midst of clouds, it was time for us to descend. While coming down, we rested in a spot, where we came across a shop serving fresh fruits sprinkled with some condiments. We relished it, with a glass of local lime juice.
Around 2:30 pm, we returned with fond memories of mystical Shivagange. Despite the fact that on most days the view from the top is covered in clouds and mist, it is still worth the 2 km trek up Shivaganga. With the clouds at your feet, covering the landscape for as far as the eye can see, the magnificent view is unforgettable. I would thank our ever enthusiastic office trekking community for making this possible.
“Now, I can say that the lost old memories of being a Trekker are finally back.”