Date: 18 Jan 2014
Distance: 4kms roundtrip
Duration: 1 day
Picasa web album link: here
After planning and cancelling twice, this trek became a day outing instead of a sunset/camp/sunrise hike. The group this time was my friends from all the phases of my life, literally. Vignesh, Aarthi and Shashi my school friends, Anitha my sister, Naveen from Siemens (work) and Spoo from NC State. After a long day of planning and logistics, we decided to get to Madhugiri by a car and a bike instead of using public transportation to cut down on travel time. Madhugiri is well known for the ancient fort that it houses at a relatively higher altitude for strategic advantage. Madhugiri translated in English means Honey (Madhu) and Hill (giri). It is amongst the largest monolithic mountains in India.
We started our drive/journey towards Madhugiri from Aadigas Malleswaram at 9:20am after a very heavy and tasty breakfast there. We also packed Potato rice (Aloo bath) for lunch. The plan was to have lunch at the peak surrounded by the serene beauty of nature. Vignesh and Shashi rode on Shashi’s bike – the Royal Enfield and the rest of us took my car. The drive was a lot of fun especially with Spoo in the car. Thanks to Vignesh spotting a very nice lake, we took about an hour’s break to relax and enjoy there. The boulders there were very inviting. We started boulder hopping and heading to the top of the small hill. It took us quite some time to get back to the car. The day was hot and the sun was bright vertically above our heads for it was 12:00 in the afternoon. A stop for tea on the way and then we finally reached the town of Madhugiri at 2:00pm. Right next to the bus stand, there was a juice center which quenched all our thirsts that day. I remember each one of us having two glasses of watermelon juice before starting the hike. The restroom at the bus stop was also helpful to get ready for the trek. We started the trek at 2:30pm and made our way up the steep slope slowly. The slow speed wasn’t because of toughness It was mainly because the place was so beautiful that we were capturing the panoramic views every few minutes. We walked through a couple of arches that dated back to architecture of the kings. The fort is now part of Archaeological Society of India designated sites. At one point, the mountain face was so steep that we had to use the man made steps cut into the rock along with the cables and pipes that ran along it for support. We were completely exposed to the natural elements – wind, heat and rain. (Luckily it did not rain that day). We then went through another arch and from there, we took the old unused route up to the next arch. This involved some fun exploration of the place.
At 3:50pm we reached a point which looked like about 3/4th way to the peak. Aarthi and Shashi decided to stay back here and so the rest us decided to drop the gear and head out to the peak in a faster pace. We reached the peak at 4:15pm. Turn around time was 4:30pm so we took in the view, spent a good half hour (overshot the time by 15minutes). At the top there was a big fortified area with storage bunkers and strong holds. We explored the interior of the fort. It just looked marvelous to me. The peak provided us with unobstructed 360 degree view of the area around. Once could see Devarayanadurga, Siddarabetta and other fortified mountains prominently. Some group pictures and we headed back down to where Aarthi and Shashi were waiting for us. Oh yes I did forget about the final climb. The final cimb was a little difficult and it involved scrambling up boulders. The route was completely exposed on one side with quite a drop. It would be very difficult to find the right way down after dark with headlamps and flashlights.
We returned to the spot at 5:15pm and decided we would quickly grab lunch which we had packed. The food was simply amazing owing to the fact that we all were quite hungry and at that moment I think any food would have tasted the same. We started from that point at 5:45pm. The sunset was at 30minutes past 6 which also meant we were climbing down during the golden hour for photography. On our way down we climbed up and explored a fort’s corner type structure. We reached the base at 7:20pm. On our way back we stopped for tea and then followed by dinner at Kamat. I reached home at 11:20pm concluding a super fun outing with all my friends.
A video view of the hike:
How to get there: Bus is the most convenient way to get there.
(Majestic -> Madhugiri, Majestic -> Dabbaspet -> Madhugiri, Majestic -> Tumkur -> Madhugiri). Buses leave every 20 minutes. By car, drive to Tumkur and then take the state highway to Madhugiri (110kms from Banagalore). There is a direct route from Dabbaspet but the road is currently undergoing construction and is in a very bad condition.
Best hike to do: Go by bus in the evening. Hike up before sunset. Camp. Hike down and take bus back to the city.
Best time of year: All round. Much easier to hike in winter owing to the cooler temperatures.
Things to carry: Water, flashlight.
Tricky areas: Right after the railings. There are no railings or cables closer to the peak and the route is exposed. Need good trekking shoes.
Food: Madhugiri. There is no need to carry food if you don’t mind eating at a small simple place in the twon.
Restroom: At Madhugiri bus stand.
Parking: At own risk. There was no parking tickets or designated parking area.