I had visited Nandi Hills as a kid and wondered about the beautiful mountains on the other side. After more than a decade, it felt great to be sitting on one of those mountains, looking at Nandi Hills and thinking.. ‘Grass is greener on my side’ (Please don’t judge me for not being modest 🙂 )
Skandagiri is famous for its night trek as the view early in the morning is supposedly breath-taking. But I was desperate for a trek. This happens to me and my dog, Pearlie. We have too much of energy in us and we don’t know what to do with it. She chooses to coax us into taking her for a walk/run and I choose to trek/travel. Soon we both will be going on a trek to channel our energies in the right direction – The direction of exploration.
I met Raj at the Rayakottai trek and since then we have been planning to trek together and this time when he said he was planning to go to Skandagiri for the 5th time with a few friends, I manipulated him into inviting me(and a couple of my friends too :P). So on a September Sunday morning, 7 of us headed out of Bangalore in a Ford Figo and Karizma.
The drive was beautiful. The hills on our left were all hidden under a thick blanket of clouds and we so wanted to stop and hike one of them. But we reminded ourselves that these mountains will have to wait coz today it had to be Skandagiri.
As we entered Chikballapur, we stopped at a local breakfast hut, gobbled down some awesome bread omelette, sealed it with a good cup of tea and headed towards the base village. We started our hike at 10:20 AM. Skandagiri from the beginning proved to be a constant ascend giving us hardly any plateau walk to cool our systems a little. Hence we chose the other form of catching a breath. Taking lots and lots of breaks. I’m totally OK with breaks as long as it doesn’t break the rhythm of the trek. Sometimes it does and it becomes hard to get the pace back. Something about the body cooling down and needing more time to warm up again.
Every time we stopped to catch a breadth and turned around the view from the top kept getting better and better – Various formations by clouds, the illusion they create with their shadow on the landscape, lush green forest all around Skandagiri, rocky patches to add some colour(or not).
We reached the peak by around 1:30 PM and even though the sun was right above our head, surprisingly it was not hot. There were no trees. Lots of greenery yes but no trees. And hence, we picked the best dining area one could only dream of. The picture will do the talking for you.
We sat above this structure, strong wind making every action a little tougher but pleasurable and by the end of our meal, we were feeling cold. After a quick 10 minute nap, we started exploring the remains of what was once Tipu Sultan’s fort. I tried very hard not to compare this to Shivaji’s forts (which I think are extremely strategic).
After walking around, sharing stories of what we have seen in different parts of India, looking at the gorgeous forest cover so close to Bangalore and clicking some awesome jump shots, we decided to head back. The descend was relatively simple and we managed to reach the base village by around 5.
I drove on the highway for the first time, got busted by 2 cops, one of them was for over speeding :s but it felt great to drive on good roads!
So, all in all a great trek!
Location: Skandagiri, Chikballapur District
Date: 25th Aug 2013
Distance from Baqngalore: 60 kms
Not with any organised group
Map from Bangalore: