Shivagange Betta (Shivaganga Hills) Trip

Travel Date: 05-October-2008
Location: Shivagange, Near Dabbaspete, Tumkur
Mobile: No coverage (Tested on Airtel and Vodaphone). You can get coverage as you climb at certain places.
Transportation: Take any private bus going to Dabbaspet, take an auto from Dabbaspet
Food: Better to carry if planning to stay for long.

Shivagange or Shivaganga is hillok where trekking and religion comes together to offer you instant weekend getaway. Located just 60 Kms from Bangalore and being well connected by road makes it an ideal tourist attraction. It is said that the hills looks like a ‘Shiva Linga’ when seen from one of the sides. Also it is said that the spring water found here is from the sacred water of ‘Ganga’.

From the religious point of view there are several temples and holy locations like ‘Patalagange’, Olakala teertha, Nandi and Veerabhadreshwara temple in Shivagange. Shivagange is also known as Kaashi of the South. One of the marvelous points to note here is that in Shivagange if you do an Ghee abhisheka in the temple it turns into Butter.

From the trekking point of view, though it not as demanding as Savanadurga it is still tough and is a good 2+ kms from the bottom to the top of the hill. Most of the way till the middle or the starting point of the main climb is easy, after which the climb becomes a bit tough with the steps carved out of the hill being narrow at places.

I am my friend Harish started off from Banashankari Bus stop and made our way to KR Market in a BMTC bus. We were told we would get direct bus to Shivagange from the Kalasipalya, when we reached there around 8:30 we were told the bus had already left and we had to take a bus which would take us till Dabbaspete. From Dabbaspete we were told there are enough number of buses which would take us to Shivagange.Before boarding a bus we had tender coconut (Rs. 12/person) and hesitantantly took our seat in the private bus (charge till Dabbaspet Rs.30/person) (this was the first time we went in a private bus in Bangalore). From minute one the speakers and the woofers in the bus made our ears plead for mercy.

We left Kalasipalya at around 8:45am moving slowly and in about 20 mins into the journey and still in Bangalore the driver decides to have food that to for a whole 20 mins!! As we began moving again we were in a bigger shock, he put on a film, and guess which??? AK-47, such a nice film to put which speakers on high volume level. Continuing we reached Yeswantpur around 9:45am, and left it at 10:20am!!! Wow this was turning out to be quite a nice experience something we had not yet experience in our own KSRTC buses.

There was nothing much to say regarding the remaining journey, just heard lots of shouting and bullet shooting in the film. We arrived at Dabbaspete at around 11:40am. It took us almost 180 minutes to travel 60Kms!! We got down from the bus and were immediately surrounded by Autorickshaw people who offered to take us till the Temple for just Rs.20 /person.We just ignored them ate (Rs.5/person) something from the bakery and at the same moment enquired about the transportation. Based on this info we found that the distance from here was around 8 Kms and that auto generally take only around max Rs.10 and the number of buses were very less.

As we were deciding about the transportation, a Tata Sumo variant arrived shouting they were going to Shivagange when enquired they told the charge would be Rs. 5/person, we immediately jumped on. It turned out to a press vehicle which was returning from Bangalore after delivering the paper. At around 12:20pm we finally reached the footsteps of Shivagange.

A bit late than we expected but as people say it is never too late for anything. We quickly started climbing the steps and immediately reached the footsteps of two temples one of them is ‘Gangadhareshwara’ and the other one I cannot recall at the moment.

The Gangadhareshwara temple is known for what people call a miracle where in if we do a Ghee abhisheka it turns into Butter!! One more interesting point about this is that there was a board and an entrance which mentioned ‘Kempegowda’s Treasury’. Kempegowda is known as the architect who helped the region florish with his planning. This place is thought to be the place where all the treasury was kept.

There is also a tunnel which is believed to be connect Shivagange to the ‘Gavigangadhareshwaraswamy Temple’ in Bangalore. Imagine going down the tunnel in Bangalore and appearing in Shivagange, but alas there is no much scope for investigation as at both the places it is kept closed as it is very risky to undertake this journey through the tunnel as the air/oxygen would be very low also since it has not been used for a long long time it may not actually be very easy to go also.

We quickly visited both the temples and continued further, we would see wonderful carvings on the walls and we could also see remains of the fort walls. We first passed the giant entrance above which a bull (nandi) statue was placed, then after much climbing/walking on the steps we reached another temple which is known as ‘Olakala teertha’ at around 1:30pm. Before moving in we had Sauttekayi (don’t known what it is called in English)(@Rs.7/person).

‘Olakala Teertha’ has its own significance, there is a small hole inside here and when someone puts their hand inside and if that person finds water then he/she has done good deeds and is a good person and vice versa. Knowning this and then giving this a try is always a mental game. I put it my hand, could not find water, then when I looked inside did I realise the trick, it was a bit deep so one had to put the hand inside fully. Since I had not removed my hand and it was still inside I bent and as my hand went more deep finally got water. What is the learing you say? If at first you dont succeed try again ;-) Since this temple is carved inside the hill, it gets pretty hot inside, infact we came out sweating.

Now came the interesting part as we continued we finally came to the starting point of the main hill, it was already 2:20 pm by now. Here is a small place where you can rest and buy some snacks. Before proceeding we had a decision to make, it was getting cloudy and the climb was steep and the rock steps were not the best option when climbing down if it rains. We decided to proceed.

Now we came to the most adventurous part of the trip. We were cut off by our now old friends whom we meet in all our trips, who??? Introducing for the first time in this writeup…the Monkeys…whereever you go outside Bangalore you will find them!! The different thing about the other Monkeys we encountered before and these were that these were WILD monkeys.

Just as we started our climb, Harish was attached by a monkey. Now this was all our mistake itself, we had made two big blunders (1) Even after knowning that the place is monkey infected we took along a bag in which we were carrying water and biscuits (Rs.15). (2) the main mistake being we had kept an empty buiscuit cover in the side pouch (we are environment friendly and do not throw plastic covers here and there, we just bring them back and then dispose).

The monkey on seeing the buiscuit packet wanted to remove it, Harish stayed calm, the monkey was hanging on the bag. It took out the cover, noticed it was empty. We would have expected it to jump off now, no this monkey meant business it tried to open the bag zip. To defend ourself we had two sticks which would not have even scared a housefly, it was more like a straw. Soon we were joined by another family and seeing that it was getting out numbered it finally jumped away.

The rest of the journey to the top was like a James Bond movie, we had to be on the look out for the monkeys, as they would be anywhere left/right/above!!. We stuck with the family we had met and reached the top of the hill at 2:50pm.

At the top on one side is a giant Nandi statue, though there are steps and barricades, it was very frightining as there were far too many people here than I though it would hold. Regardless we took a quick round and proceeded to the other side. Must mention one thing there, the views from the top of the hill is just fantastic and mindblowing. The clouds were a welcome addition to the scene and we felt like on top of the world.

There were two more temples on the top of the hill, we went about took quite a few snaps before heading down. We did not like the idea of being outnumbered by the monkey as most of the other people had already started moving down and only a handful of us were left at the top.

The descent was more fast and we reached the bottom of the hill at 4:30pm, we had stopped in between for rest and to have some soft drinks (Rs.12/person), before moving away we noticed another place which is to the immediate right just before the entrace of the first two temples. This place is called ‘Patalaganga’, it is said the water which flows is connected to Antargange which is quite far from here. We had to descend one by one inside the cave to reach the water as the place narrows down as we go down.

Finally, we came to the streets and it was already 4:45pm, we had not had our lunch till now and we were very hungry. We had some food at a small hotel (spent Rs 8/person which included tea also!!) and took an auto for Rs. 10/person and reach Dabbaspete around 5:20pm.

Finding a bus from Dabbaspete to Bangalore was quite a difficult task as most of the buses were full and we did not want to have another wonderful expericence in the private bus. Finally around 6:15pm we got a KSTRC bus (charge from Dabbaspete Rs.34/person) and though thee were no seats we had no other option, after all the climbing we were really tired, but we managed. We got seats when we reached Satellite town bus stand. The best part of the whole bus journey was that the return journey took us only 80 minutes!! compare than with over 170 minutes it took for us in the morning in a private bus!!!

In a whole it was the best trip we had till now, it had everything one would expect – some good experiences, some bad, some exciting. All in all a memorable expirience. The total charges for the whole trip came out to be Rs. 277 for two of us, so individually Rs.138!!

Tips and Suggestions:
1. Do not carry any bags, monkey are wild and will snatch at anything they can put their hands on. Ladies need to be careful about their handbags and should avoid taking it along as far as possible. If you would like to take a bag see that you have a should bag, do not carry items in plastic, not even bottles, Unless you are like us and would like a bit of adventure ;-)

2. There are two small hotels in Shivagange, so carry your own food and eat it before/after you reach the bottom, do not carry it to the top.

3. If you do not have a private vehicle, bargain with the autowallahs, wait till the auto is full and they will take you on minimum rate of Rs.10.

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