A Day at Skandagiri – Kalavarahalli Betta

Back in the Year 2013, Me, Dev and Bobby formed a Gang for travelling and named it as “Galli Boys” – This was the time when Dev returned from Muscat, Oman and all Childhood friends regrouped to form this Gang. So let me start – I represent “The Gallis” AKA Galli boys. In this post we will take you to a magical journey to Skandagiri hills – Skandagiri – AKA  Kalavara Durga AKA Kalwarahalli Betta  is a mountain fortress located approximately 62 km from Bangalore city, and 3 km from Chikballapur in the Indian state of Karnataka

OK, before we start let me introduce Gallis. I am Sajjan my fellow partners Dev and Bobby, you will get to see us when the story begins.

It all started on a Friday evening when all three of us got together at Xtremesports bar for a fun filled Karaoke night. It was world motorcycle day and It is when we decided to go on a trip to Skandagiri 😀 Awesome!!!

With lot of excitement after karaoke night we went  to Indiranagar Empire spoke about all the fun at Xtreme and plans to  Skandagiri Bla bla bla…After heading back home around 01:00 AM Saturday morning we agreed to rest for couple of hours and start our day by 4:00 AM.

Saturday, 3:30 AM – With multiple phone Alarm making weird noise, I had to wake Dev to turn off his annoying Alarm tone and we crashed again thinking of postponing the plan (O yes, I stayed at Dev’s that night). Bobby was deep asleep as well and that was complementing our postpone plan: P

Our Savior, Rashin appeared from nowhere and woke us up at 3:45 AM started pestering till we actually packed our bags. I called up Bobby, we got ready and assembled at Dev’s at 4:30 AM

Note: This being unscheduled trip all we could pack was 2 bottle of water, 2 Camera and our sun glass.

So, we started off by 4:30 AM from Dev’s, Yelahanka. 3 Bikes – Avenger, Pulsar and RX 135.

Rashin would not let us go without a group pic 😀

It was a slow ride till Devanahalli junction, Enjoying the morning mist, we did not miss a single minute.

5:15 AM – Somewhere near NH –Chikballapur junction, we parked for a Morning tea with Bun at a roadside tea stall. Wondering which direction to go, I heard a noise sorry voice “Saar, Skandagiri ge route gotta” With Surprise and giggling “hehehehe” Dev and I look back, it is Bobby asking for direction and the shop keeper is like “Straaaaaaait hoge left thogli, town hall hatra right togoli” His Straaaaait gave us a hint it could be another 8-10 kilometer ride before chikballapur town.

Knowing rest of the day is going to be exhausting and tiring we picked up 4 packets  Parle-G biscuit.

Moving on, Our eyes were satisfied looking at lush green Vineyards and beautiful hills on one side and a glimpse of Nandi hills.

Even before we could say a word, looking at us Locals at Chikballapur knew where exactly we were headed. With the help of people and sign boards, we finally reached Skandagiri around 06:15 AM morning.

With smile on our face and full of excitement, remembering how nice people are, we parked our bike near Papagni mutt, Skandagiri base.

An old Man came running towards us with a smile on his face greeting us and warning us of Helmet thieves. After all the talk he Asked 150 rupees, I was like “What on earth??? But why? who are you?”

May be he was trying to tell us, you give me 150 rupees or I will make sure you pay some 300 rupees fine to police for riding without helmet.

Old man said he would take care of our bikes and helmet and 150 would be the parking fee.

It is when I remembered why skandagiri was also called as Kalwarahalli. Kalwara means ‘Thieves’, Halli means ‘Village’

Well, knowing it was too late for us to negotiate with the old man and not having Helmet locks we handed over 100 rupees and convinced him we all speak kannada 😀 

Trekking

Scene – 1 (06:30 AM – 07:00 AM)

Alright, All set to go we started our trek around 06:30 AM, cool Breeze and Amazing view of the hill our weekend josh was full on. As usual we had already clicked 20 photos even before we could complete 500 meters.

 

Dev – our team lead/photographer/HOD whatever whatever.. I could see his smile from a far off distance. He was bloody excited about the whole thing.

 

Bobby –  Founder – Galli boys/Body builder/ our dear friend.. bla blab la..  Bobby was just chanting “Super Maga”, I must say, you give him poison he will still say “Super maga”. Person who never show any negative vibe.

  I.. Sajjan, Gang call me Barney Stinson, I was Super thrilled to reach the hill top to immerse myself in the mist.

Before we could start with the actual trek, we were already exhausted. Without carrying any food, started worrying about rest of the day. That is when Dev asked me to pose for this 😀 😀 Solar energy 😉

Scene – 2 (07:00 AM – 07:30 AM)

We missed the trekking route and were going in a wrong direction; again an old man appeared from nowhere and started conversing with us about the distance to be covered and the route. He claimed he was a Guide and would take us to the hill top. Bobby asked how much he was expecting to guide us to the correct track and to my surprise he said “I usually charge 700 rupees but you can pay 300”.

I spoke to the old man gave him 30 rupees and asked him to show us the way eventually he did.

He is the one ..

On the way we could not resist but to take plenty of photos.. The view was spectacular!!! Bobby was smiling for almost all clicks checkout the samples if you think M lying.

Scene – 3 (08:00 AM)

We reached half way through and were tired. Found this resting place which Bobby named “Kanakana Kindi” because of the small window type opening.

Spent some time taking pics, watching trekkers passing by. Started with our first biscuit pack. Actually,  I dint know Parle-G tasted so good. 

Scene – 4 (8:30 AM approx.)

We started our trek after some laughter and photo shoot, route was nearly perpendicular. Crossing thorn bushes and steep rocky path we reached a place what looked like a cave. Yes, we had heard about 2 caves that are not explored yet.  As usual bobby was reasoning about tippu and his army and if they had used the cave route to reach the fort etc etc..

Passing the cave we reached a point which appeared like a starting point of the fort. Huge blocks of rocks stacked were beautiful to look. I insisted we sit for some time, enjoy the architecture and the scenic beauty of the place. Well, I did take a power nap 😛

Scene – 5 (9:45 AM)

Already experiencing heavy wind, cold weather we finally reached skandagiri hill top. Moment we been looking forward to see and believe me it was worth every step till hill top.

The view was impressive!! It was refreshing. Bobby, Dev and I were over charged for some reason.  Looking around hill top gave us Kingly feeling. Surrounded by Fort and majestic hills all around, All we wanted to do was to forget everything else, fill our eyes with the panoramic view.

We spent good enough time walking around the hill top, exploring. Abandoned temple looks awesome.

Yes, all our biscuit packs were over and we were hungry. Dev, Bobby and I were talking about Nice Andhra-Meal served on banana leaf, hot rice, Thokku, pappu, Papad and pickle and servings of Ghee..!! Man we were dying to eat.

We rested for few minutes and decided to climb down and hog Andhra-Meal.

While there are 2 routes to hill top and down, we chose to take the same path we came.

Climbing down the hill, looking back at the Fort we picked up the conversation we left about the design and architecture of the fort. Wondered how these huge rocks were cut into blocks and stacked. Dev, our wiki started explaining how the builders cut these rocks and surprisingly we did see the evidence supporting his explanation.

 I think I should give you a heads up. . In order to accurately split hard stone such as granite, a series of small holes are chiseled out, and then filled with wood fibers which expand when soaked in water, thereby splitting the stone.

Don’t miss to look for series of holes on rock surface when you visit any rock cutting temples/fort.

We reached kanakana Kindi rested for some time and started calling Gallis members (Ajay, Rashin, Teena, Sipi) explaining what I have written above.

Started feeling the heat, walking like Zombies, stumbling and falling we reached our parking. All ready to leave, an old lady started walking toward us. When I say old, she was very old. This Lady could hardly walk. I knew she was upto something so asked Bobby n Dev to start the bike and leave. Well, she reached the parking before we could leave and started asking for money, I asked for what and she is like “Parking fee”. She was like you paid someone else and not me lol. At this time all I could think of is Andhra meal so, we dint even bother to listen to what she was saying and left to Chikballapur town and belted full meals. 

Wow it was awesome, just as we imagined, Rice, Thokku, pappu, pickle rasam, Sambar with Ice cold Pepsi.

Friends, our trip was complete with a Wow moment. Everything went on well as we expected except for Sun rise part of it.

On the way back home it was cloudy and drizzling we reached Devanahalli. It was around 05:00 PM we decided to visit Devanahalli Fort and monuments. Place is nice and we covered in less than 15 minutes.

Heavy Rain after the Bangalore-International-Airport, we rode all the way back home, freshened up and all I remember is looking at the bed. Next thing I know I wake up at 9:00 PM after a satisfied sleep.

Remember Rashin how he troubled us to wake up and go? lol he had his own hidden agenda in our absence. may be a date with his girl 😛 

Damn!!! I missed it 😉 

Few Do’s and Dont’s

Things to carry:

  • 2 litres of water bottle per person
  • Snacks like Sandwich/Chocolates/Bread/butter/Jam etc
  • Warm clothing – Jacket, sweater etc.
  • Torch light with extra suitable battries
  • Swiss knife
  • Sun Glass (Optional)
  • First aid kit
  • Footwear (Sports ware/anti-skid)
  • Garbage covers
  • Camera (Optional)

Dont’s

  1.  Alcohol is strictly a dont
  2.   Do not litter the trekking path with garbage or plastic items. Any garbage please carry it till you climb down the hill and dispose it in a dustbin

Route

  •        Bangalore – Hebbal Flyover – Devanahalli – Chikkaballapur – Skandagiri. Take a left turn inside the city, follow the narrow road to reach Papagni Matt which is at the foot of Skandagiri.