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Skandagiri, also known as Kalwarbetta or Kalavara Durga, which overlooks Nandi Hills is a mountain fortress situated approximately 62 km from Bangalore city. The peak is located at an altitude of 1450 meters.
The trek starts from Papagni Temple (that houses the idols of Goddess Parvati and several local deities) near the village of Kalwara. The initial couple of minutes is a semi-dry trail but soon after the lush greenery begins.
There are old ruins of the fortress of Tipu Sultan and dilapidated ancient fort ruins that adds a haunting charm to the trek. History tells that this small hill fort was surrendered to the British troops on 19 October 1791 and stayed in The British hands until the peace treaty of 1792, which finished the third Anglo-Mysore war. There are two caves, through the hill as told by locals – one starts from the base and another one someplace halfway, about 30 feet below, both leading to the temple at the top.
After walking through some dense foliage, you will reach the fortress, but the experience has just begun. There are six ruined fortresses which lead to the ancient temple at the top. You can see the Kalwarbettar fortress in front of you amid your trail. The view all through is sublime and along the trail, there are little samadhi caves where you can rest for a bit.
Winters and monsoons are usually considered the best time to go on this trek. On a winter’s night, nothing quite beats the stargazing after a challenging climb and in monsoons, the flora and fauna provide a fresh appeal to the trek. This 10km trek can easily be completed within 4 to 5 hours of ascending and descending.
The quiet and eminent environment around Skandagiri will support up your adrenaline to an unheard-of level where one will be walking above the clouds. The uphill ascent is completed in the wee hours of the morning leaving the participants with enough time to take some rest. The most energizing piece of the trek is viewing the tremendous perspective of the rising sun at the break of the first light. This sight is enough to take away all the tiredness and fatigue. The morning winds caressing you, to get the most charitable sight of the sun rising above beds of clouds, a sight so rare and equally reviving. The hazy valley of Skandagiri is will undoubtedly leave an everlasting impact on your mind.
A highly regarded Sunrise Trek or Night Trek is tiring yet much remunerating as it takes you through awesome adventure in the midst of the wild and strenuous territories.