Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta is almost 16 kilometres from the town of Kanakapura is a great trekking destination for a day trek. It is one of the highest hills in the neighbouring area with an elevation of 3780 feet, the hill also houses a temple devoted to Lord Rangaswamy that is constructed under a large white granite monolith. It is one of the most striking features of the hill with the hill drawing its name Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta from the rock. The hill is also a great place for a trekking excursion, it is relatively unknown to tourists and hasn’t been heavily commercialised yet and is perfect if you are seeking to explore the hills at your own pace and unwind over the weekend away from the crowds. The pinnacle offers the best views of the neighbouring hills and a peaceful setting for you and your thoughts away from the hustle bustle of cities.
Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta comes under the jurisdiction of Karnataka Forest Department and is encompassed by a lush shrub forest along its periphery. The forests get quite dense during the monsoon. The nearby forests are also home to elephants and a few other species of wild animals, the elephants sometimes cross over to the shrub forests and you could encounter some of them on a trek if you are lucky.
Places to See
1. Lord Ranga Swamy Temple
The temple is at the peak of the Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta under a gigantic granite rock. It is the most prominent tourist point on the hillock and is the only structure atop the hill, it is also the recipient of maximum influx of devotees throughout the year who come to seek the blessings of Lord Ranga Swamy in the calm and serene ambience of the hill.
2. Chunchi Falls
Chunchi Falls in Kanakapura originates from the river Arkavati and is about 40 kilometres away from the Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta has an elevation of descent of about 50 feet. The waterfall draws its name from a tribal couple Chuncha and Chunchi and is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the vicinity sequestered away amidst lush green hills and valleys. You could also trek down to the foot of the waterfall for a thrilling experience and great views of the whole cascade.
3. Janapada Loka
Janapada Loka is a folk museum approximately 45 kilometres away from Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta. The museum has a wide array of folk arts on display from the villages of Karnataka. The museum has a collection of over 5000 artefacts that were sourced over a duration of 30 years and the plethora of art is spread out over various broad categories like music, dance. Culture and literature. The folk arts museum is the most famed wing in the Janapada Loka which showcases a variety of musical instruments, farming tools and folk culture art. The Loka Mahal wing of the museum has the maximum artefacts which include large figurines of the folk artists. All in all, the museum is a very immersive experience and is enjoyable for people of all ages.
Mekedatu is a breathtaking gorge fed by the river Kaveri about 50 kilometres from Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta through the Kanakapuram-Sangam road. The river Kaveri flows through the deep and narrow gorge at a high velocity making the white stream roar in thunder. The place is a total treat for the eyes and the surroundings are very picturesque. Local legend says that many years ago a goat being chased by a tiger leapt across the narrow gorge and that is how the place got its name Mekedatu, which translates to Meke meaning goat and Datu meaning crossing. The place is also locally famous as the Goat's Leap.
5. Ramadevara Betta
Ramadevara Betta is a hillock in Ramnagara 50 odd kilometres from Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta, famous for its huge rock boulders and the shoot location of the cult classic Sholay. The hill has a temple devoted to Lord Rama 400 steps upwards from the foothill, the summit and the viewpoints are a short distance uphill from the temple. The stairs from the temple to the summit are rugged and unmade and a more difficult climb than the one upto the temple. The myth surrounding the hill is that Lord Rama resided at the hill during his travel to Lanka, which is also what the hill takes its name after. The entry to the hill is restricted to 9 AM to 4.30 PM, so one must keep a track of time as they close down by 5 PM.
Things to Do
Trekking is the most sought after activity at the Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta that houses the Rangaswamy Temple at the hilltop. The trek starts at Konala Doddi and is truly an unforgettable experience with majestic views of the adjacent hills and excellent photo ops. The trek takes you through an actual forest before you reach the stairway embedded into the hill. The trek can be a little challenging for beginners but the overall experience is totally worth it, especially when you see the view from the apex.
The night trek is another popular offering the spot offers. It is a gripping and action-packed activity that takes you through the forest trail where you may encounter elephants along the way, as the elephants are said to be most likely sighted during the nights. Also, the thrill of traversing through the forest and hills is a different experience all together.
Since the Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta falls under the jurisdiction of the forest department any person interested in trekking along the hill has to first get permission from the forest office in Bannerghatta.
Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta is a hill near the Kanakapur region and is a relatively unfamiliar trekking location perfect for you if you are looking for an offbeat location away from the mainstream crowded tourist attractions. The uninterrupted views and the peaceful environment at the apex are reason enough for you take the hike up the hill.
The hills can be visited throughout the year, however if you plan to trek along the hills the winter and summer months are favourable because the trekking trail may be slippery and unsafe during the monsoon period and should only be attempted if you have a prior hiking or trekking experience.
Tips For Visiting Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta
1. Carry some snacks with you if you plan on trekking because the uphill climb takes around 3 hours while the downward trek is around an hour, since you may be up there for quite sometime it is important that you stay hydrated and have some light snacks on you. 2. The hill is relatively unknown, so if you plan on trekking do it in a group because the trek can be a bit demanding and also there are animals that have been sighted along the forest trail.
How To Reach Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta
Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta is near the Kanakapura town in Karnataka, you can get a private vehicle from Kanakapura to hill summit. Alternatively, you could take a bus from Bangalore to Harohalli which connects to Konala Doddi via Dodda Maralwadi, Konala Doddi is the starting point of the trek. You can also hire a vehicle directly from Horahalli to Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta.