Friday, August 17, 2007

Weekend Getaway - Kalavara Betta

Weekend traveling is limit less when you are in a city like Bangalore. An hour and half drive in any direction to the outskirts can take you to the most beautiful hillocks where tranquility can be described the best. Just to lie on a big boulder, stare at the sky and think about nothing. What more to ask for? One such hideout is Kalavara Betta in the Skandagiri range.

Driving on Bangalore- Hyderabad NH, deviation to Chikkabalapur and the road there on takes you to a small village called Kalavara that comes under Muddenahalli panchayat. Little will one believe that Sir M Vishveshwaraiah the architect of the KR dam, Dewan of Mysore, the greatest engineer India had ever know was born in this vicinity. So much we call as development that it takes away every thing from these villages and not even the basic necessities are addressed. Once you decide to ignore all the hard hitting facts you reach the base of a large mass of rocks.

The route to the top of the hill depends on what you have on your mind, you could take a difficult 4 km route where you get to do some decent bouldering, feel the rocks, beat the sun and sweat it all out or take a 7 km trail from ‘Papagni’ temple that has forest cover, shade and you could get to see the levels of the fort to the top. Either ways, the landscape around mesmerizes you. The smaller hills covered with all shades of green, big odd rocks jetting out and bearing the weather at all times and hoping that they will still be untouched by the human greed for years to come. The left side of the climb gives a spectacular view of the famous Nandi hills, you can see the rock face of the hills more peaceful and wild than the drive-up.

While you’re climbing up, never let an opportunity to look around, as that makes you feel less and less tired. The air gets fresher, the grass cover becomes thicker and you will come across the ruins of the fort that surrendered to the British during the Anglo-Mysore war. The piece of history, the story of life gone by that makes you wonder how such a multi-layered fort was constructed way up the hill yet preserving all the natural surroundings or is just merged with nature.

A good 2.5 hour of climb, feasting your eyes all along; will take you to the top of the hill, greeted by a stone carving of the ‘Basava’ (bull) and a tiny temple and you know its time to take a breather. The peace that surrounds you hearing the chirping of the birds, watching those colorful butterflies is more than one could ask for. Away from the noises of the honking vehicles the endless concrete buildings and the desperate search for fresh air.

If you opt to watch the sunset then choose a full moon day, camp over night and you will get to see the sunrise too. But be prepared to carry basic camping gear, food and lots of water. Sitting on one of those huge boulders watching the endless sky, the green carpet below, the big glowing orange sun setting only to rise the next day defines the life in total. A camera along can do the trick of capturing every moment that you do not want to let go.

Any thing that is this breathtaking has to be preserved for long. Be a responsible traveler and ensure that you do not litter and ‘leave no-trace’ of your visit as you return from serenity only to go back soon.

Author
BASECAMPER
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