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Bilikal Rangaswamy betta

Duration: Half day
Elevation information: Peak - 3780 feet (1152m), Trailhead - 2300 feet
Elevation gain: ~1400 feet
Difficulty: moderate
Trailhead: village of Konaladoddi [Google GPS link] [12°34'03.0"N 77°30'53.2"E] (Within the boundary of Bannerghatta National Forest)
Directions to trailhead: From Bangalore -> Kanakapura road -> Harohalli -> Left towards Maralawadi -> At Maralawadi circle (at the bus stop) take right towards Konaladoddi (ask folks there) -> Konaladoddi Village -> After passing the village, park at a sharp right turn -> Walk 1 km towards map marker (If vehicle permits, drive that 1 km unpaved stretch to the trailhead)
Related Links: IndiaHikes (has a typo on the elevation) , Wiki , TripAdvisor 
Permission: required, from Bannerghatta forest office. More info here and here



It has been a while since I trekked in the hills around Bangalore, the last one being a day outing to Madhugiri in 2014. This trek was all that I had imagined would be and more. Bangalore already being a plateau puts the relative small hills around it pretty high up from sea level. Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta peaks at 1152m (3780 feet) above sea level with a panoramic view of the surrounding villages and hills from the Kolam “water tank” view spot. The village of Konaladoddi can be seen nestled in trees & greenery straight ahead to the north. Towards the east, cascading green forest and hills completes the landscape. The peak is accessible by a 4x4 jeep track from the south while the trek starts from the north from the Bannerghatta forest boundary.

 

This hike was planned in short notice but we had a healthy sized group of folks - Anitha, Preethi, Aruna, Anil, Deepak, Vignesh and I. Our cars weren't’ ready for the rugged journey from Konaladoddi village to the trailhead so we walked that 1 km to reach the forest boundary that’s marked by an electric fence preventing wild animals from leaving the forest. After permit clearance with the forest officer on-duty there, we started the hike by 11am. The trek starts from between the two electric fences baring south towards the mountain. An inviting emerald green pool of water and the mountain in its backdrop welcomes the outbound hiker after which the trail starts gaining elevation slowly.

We moved at a good pace with very few rest breaks. After a few minutes of climb, we reached a clearing with a hillock. We took a short break here and continued ahead. From this point on, the trail climbed quickly. The scenery changed from lush green dense forests to bamboo trees creaking by the lightest of winds. We reached the top in 1 hr 30 mins i.e. 12:30pm. We spent about 2 hrs at the top and started our descent at 2:30pm. On our way down, we had to stop and wait silently for our native friends to pass. The trees shook when there was no wind, a soft swish of the large feet made a very periodic footstep sound in the forest. Although we couldn’t spot our friend, It sounded like it approached us and slowly moved past us towards the peak. Our contemplation was that it would have either been an elephant or a bear. Being visitors to the home of these magnificent creatures of nature, we need to give them their rightful space and lie low. It felt like we had been still for more than 10 minutes. The rest of the hike after this excitement felt rather uneventful. By 3:30 pm (1hr) we were back down at the trailhead. A strong bout of rain congratulated the completion of our trek. Lucky enough, we were already in our cars. Adios, until next time!