Shivaganga, a sunday in the sun.


Shivaganga,Shivagange, Olakallu tirtha,Dobbaspet

First the basics:

[1] This is a good one-day weekend trip from Bangalore. Total distance from Airport road to Shivaganga and back was 142kms on the odo.
[2] Only equipment needed will be a pair of sneakers for a comfortable walk [people even climb up barefoot or in normal footwear], caps, sun-glasses and a liter of water per person.
[3] It is a 2 hour climb all the way to the top and a 1.5 hour climb down.
[4] There are small shops selling water, cucumbers etc. all the way till the top.
[5] Though there are steps or notches cut into the rocks up to the top, it is a strenerous climb, not advisable for the elderly.
[6] Kids with an adventurous streak will enjoy this unique experience, since there are railings to grab along the difficult parts of the path, it is relatively safe too.
[7] Do not carry any eatables, soft-drinks, water bottles, coconuts, bananas etc. in transparent plastic covers. There are lots of pesky monkeys on this hill and they’ll invariably jump on you if they see anything edible. Carry all your stuff in a back-pack.(A schoolbag will do just fine)
[8] Start early from Bangalore around 6am, you’ll beat the traffic and the climb up will be easier too.
[9] Unless you are planning to be back in Bangalore by lunch time, it is preferable to pack a light lunch for a ‘picnic’. [We did not notice any significant hotels in the place.]

Note: If you do get jumped on by a monkey or if they approach you, do not panic or try to run. They’ll not hurt you. They are just trying to see if you are carrying anything edible. They have developed this nasty habit of checking people out…(sometimes even seeing if you have anything in your pockets).

Route taken:

A friend of mine recently asked me…
"How come you suddenly turned so religious? You seem to be doing too many temple trips these days"

Look at it this way:
[1] Most of the well known and scenic places in India, be it a hill-top or a river bank, there is usually an ancient temple built there.
[2] The reverse of the above statement holds good too; just visit any place which has an ancient temple and you’ll see some scenic or unique places around it.

So either way, it is temples and temples all the way! 🙂

Coming back to the travelogue, we had returned the previous night after our Melkote – Srirangapatna trip and slept late into Sunday morning. Woke up at 9.00am, lazed around with tea & the newspapers till around 10.00am, had a late breakfast and considered the ‘to do’ list for the rest of the day.

Having finished most of our veggie & grocery shopping chores during the previous week, we had time on hand to catch up on a movie or something.

The conversation went towards: the heat outside > summer is almost here > After Feb, not many treks till monsoon > maybe we should try to cram in a couple of treks before March > Are there any ‘quick-trek’ places around Bangalore > I remember reading about this place called Shivaganga somewhere on Tumkur road…

I knew that Shivaganga is near Dobbspet on Tumkur road and had read about a phenomenon that is supposed to happen at the Shiva temple there – ghee turns into butter when anointed on the idol and there is a teertha (natural spring) famous for something.

Just on a whim we tanked up and headed off towards Tumkur road. If nothing, it would atleast be a leisurely drive! Traffic was ‘acceptable’ all the way to the outskirts of Blore and we crossed the Tumkur road toll plaza by around 12.30pm.

We came across a couple of the yellow Karnataka Tourism boards showing that Shivaganga was indeed close by. I was also wondering about the other places on the board and wanted to look them up later.

When you reach Dobbspet, don’t take the road-over bridge (flyover), but take lower road and turn left at junction. Shivaganga is just 6kms from there. Soon you will start seeing the Shivaganga hill. [The Dobbspet ROB is the first one on NH4 after Nelamangala]

Absolutely no problem with the roads, smooth tarmac all the way up to Shivaganga.

This hill apparently has four faces; it looks like Nandi from the east, Ganesh from the west, Linga from the south and like a cobra with an open hood from the north. We were not aware of this and did not observe anything. [We were told about this only later…]

Shivaganga has a sobriquet ‘Dakshina Kashi’. There are a few temples on and around this hill, the main deities are ‘Gangadhareshwara’ and ‘Honnamba’. Drove into the village and found a parking place…

To trek up the hill, we had to pass by the main temple. Our plan was to reach the top first and then visit the main temple on the way down…

A view of the Shivaganga village…

There are steps or notches cut into the rock…

See the peak behind the hillock? That is the destination…

Go on a weekend or on a public holiday and you’ll find school kids, families, pilgrims etc. all walking up the hill…

It gets quite sunny, especially so during summer. So start your climb up as early in the morning as possible…

There are ‘Traffic jams’ on the hill too. If you are a fast climber, you’ll have to ‘overtake’ the groups who are walking up at a leisurely pace…

First stop is at a place called ‘Olakallu Teertha’ i.e. ‘water in a stone’. A natural spring in the hills…

This is a cave temple with narrow entrances…

There is a small hole carved into the rock floor behind the garba-griha, through which you can reach out and touch water from an underground spring. You’ll have to lie down and really stretch your arm out to touch the water. The local belief is that only ‘good people’ can touch the water , so you’ll see everyone struggling to make the cut 😉

Complete the pradakshina and come out to continue your upward climb…

Another view of the surroundings…

A Nandi carved on top of a rock, with a precariously balanced mantapa!

The climb gets a little tougher from here onwards…

As mentioned earlier, you’ll see families, groups of kids etc. all walking up the path…

Some parts of the climb are really steep. But thanks to the railings on both the sides, you can navigate up the rocks…

See the projecting rock ledge on the top, that is the peak…

There are some small temples and mantapas scattered all over the hill…

It is a little scarier than it looks. The other side of the rock on which the Nandi is carved is a sheer drop! So you’ll notice everyone grabbing onto the railings for dear life 🙂

The temple at the top…

Contd…




3 comments to...
“Shivaganga, a sunday in the sun.”
Avatar
Karthik

Nice 🙂

Really brings back memories… we had trekked in the heat :O

http://prabhukarthik03.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/12shivgange-20310/


Avatar
P.K.Ananth kumar

Thx a lot for ur lovely narration. The Pics are very good. A person who cannot go all that distance can have a Tour reading & seeing the pics.
I wished u had posted pics of the amount of litter our people do & the defacing of the rocks they do.
Pls always post advice to our tourists, how to keep the Place clean.


Avatar
M.N.Gopalakrishna

Excellent narration! Thanks. Will visit shortly.
Please inform about your blogs on other tourist spots (you have visited).
Thanks
M.N.Gopalakrishna




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