8 September 2013
Hills near Bengaluru are mostly dry and rocky. Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta is an exception where the ‘feel’ of forest can be felt. Two paths that lead to the top of the hill are quite different in nature both in terms of route conditions and quality of people (More on it in the last section) using it. The first path is a Jeep track that starts from Kanakapura and does not excite trekkers. The other route is a proper trekking trail.
I, Subbu, Krishna and Girish started from Bengaluru one morning. Bengaluru-Kanakapura stretch has dearth of good restaurants and hence we had our breakfast at Adiga’s hotel before NICE road intersection. The diversion to the trekking trail is at the village of Harohalli. A left turn here took us to the village of Dodda Maralawadi and little further was the village where the trail to the hill starts.
Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta is clearly visible from the village. Pachyderms visit the area sometimes and it is better to check with locals about their movement before proceeding further. Luckily for us the coast was clear and we wasted no time to start walking. Only sore point being the village kids who were pestering us for money. It is a nuisance in the villages near Bengaluru. We did not yield to their pressures but hoped that they would not puncture the car tyres in revenge!!
A forest department board warning people on entering the forest welcomed us. Their wording was not very clear and no forest officials were there to help us!! We continued our trek.
|Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta from the village|
In spite of rains resulting in lot of undergrowth and green cover, the path was clear. The overcast conditions made the walk easier though the route continuously climbed up. A village dog had decided to join us and always leapt forward. The behaviour of the dogs is strange to understand. In many treks, I have seen the dogs following or leading us. May be it is in their genes to wander in the wild and wait for an opportunity!! My two cents to dog theory!!
|Dog that accompanied us during the trek|
We stopped at two places. The first time was to enjoy the scenery of the surroundings. At one point we found that Girish was lagging behind. So, we waited for him to join.
|The first pit stop|
The forests had signs of some wild life. The elephant dung was old but faeces of some animals were found at many places. A wild boar or some animal had slept flattening the grasses in the process.
After about 1.5 hours of walk, we reached the top where the trekking path joined the main road from Kanakapura. A small pond situated adjacent to the cliff. The place provided some good views with clouds playing hide and seek.
|View from the top|
In the beginning of this post I mentioned about quality of people coming to the place. The Jeep track enables less adventurous people to venture into this area. They come in bikes with huge number of ‘bottles’ to create ruckus. None of them look cultured or decent. It was a pain to see such lousy people during treks.
Fortunately, the area was wide and we could venture far away from the unruly people. We spent a long time just gazing at the scenery, talking about lot of stuff and sleeping!! In the meantime, Girish went to a Temple on the other side of the hill. He did not seem to be happy.
It was time to return and we wanted to have a look at the Temple on the other side. Girish refused to come and little later the reason was known. The drunkards had occupied the Temple. Bone pieces and bottles were lying everywhere. The people seemed to be in a different world. We fled the place before they started harassing us. They are more dangerous than hundred wild elephants!! Last time I found such creepy people was in Anashi when a relative of a forest official got drunk and puked all over the guest house. He had made sound of a jackal entire night!!
Getting down was a simple affair. And a little surprise awaited us when we returned back. We had parked our car in front of a house (with their permission) in the village. Now they demanded us to pay 200 rupees as parking charge!! It seemed to be more expensive than opulent Mallya’s mall!! Finally, we settled for 50 rupees which anyway we were planning to give as courtesy.
|Temple on the top|