If you thought that trekking is an activity only to be done in the morning, you are certainly wrong. Skandagiri, a hilltown near Bangalore, gives you the opportunity to trek and explore the hills in the night while the moon is casting its light. Skandagiri, also known as Kalavara Durga, is at an elevation of 1450 meters surrounded by the Nandi Hills. The hill has a ruined fort on the way which makes the night trek even more interesting by adding the element of horror. And the best part is that you can spend the night at the hilltop under the star. Not to forget the bonfire that is especially lit for the trekkers to sit around and enjoy the warmth. The serenity of the night will make you feel at ease.
History of the Hill
You would be amazed to know that on Skandagiri there once laid a majestic Tipu Sultan fort built by the great ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, Tipu Sultan in the 18th century to fight against the British Raj. Unfortunately, Tipu Sultan lost the battle and the fort went into the hands of the British. It remained in the hands of the British Raj until the Peace Treaty in 1792. After that the fort had to take the hit and it now lies in a dilapidated condition with only some of its walls remaining who stand tall to tell the tale of an unforgettable historic event. The two temples, one at the bottom and one at the top are survivors to which no great harm was done while everything else lies in rubble.
Trek your way up not only in day but night as well
To reach the Skandagiri hilltop you will have to trek for about 10 km. The 2 hours you will spend will trekking will give you a chance to witness I and appreciate the magical beauty of nature. One can trek in the morning and witness the tranquility and the splendid beauty of the place. If possible try to reach before the sunrise and witness the stupendous elevation of the sun from the horizon. The beauty of this place will leave you enchanted.
But the best way to enjoy the trek to the fullest and experience something grand and new is by trekking the hill on a full moon night. Yes, you heard it right. The night trek starts around midnight and you are to reach the top at 2 am with the full moon casting its gentle light. Not to stop at that, bonfires are arranged at the top for you to sit around the crackling fire and enjoy its warmth with some singing and dancing. You will sleep under the stars and the best part is you don’t have to hunt for hotels and worry about the bookings. By staying the night at the hill, the chances of missing the sunrise is slim. After waking up you will realize you are not on the hill rather floating amongst clouds. The view from above is spectacular and you will feel at the top of the world. You can also spot plenty of colorful birds that visit the hill and make the view more serene.
Places to See
1. Papagni Matt
Papagni Mutt is a famous temple of Goddess Parvati and several local deities which is believed to be one of its kind. The aura of the temple is so strong and captivating that the once the devotees foot their foot inside the temple, they are able to feel spiritual vibrations. If you visit it on Saturdays make sure to attend the special Pooja that is held to please the deity. Almost all the trekkers make sure to take the blessings by praying in this temple before beginning their adventurous journey.
2. Shiva Temple
Situated right at the top of the Skandagiri hill, this Shiva temple is famous for its splendid architecture. Lord Shiva, the Hindu mythological God sit comfortably on the top while all the devotees come and seek blessings after their successful trek on the hill.
3. Tipu Sultan Fort
Even though the fort built by Tipu Sultan lies in rubble, some of its wall still stands strong. The architectural grandeur of six concentric fortification walls can be seen by which an estimate of how this fort had been can be made. The fort is believed to host 6 samadhis inside it and it also has two caves. One at the bottom, while the other somewhere in the middle. It is a must that you explore these caves to get the true essence of the place. There is also a stone house structure at the very top to relax after the tiring trek.
4. Grover Zampa Vineyards
If you are a wine connoisseur, this is just the place for you. Even though the distance between Skandagiri and this vineyard is about 80 km, it is absolutely worth a visit. This is the only place in Bangalore where French grapes are grown. At a mere price of Rs.500 you will get a tour of this place where you will get to know about the aging, fermentation and packaging of the wine. At the end of the tour you will get to indulge in wine tasting which are exquisite and exceptional.
Sleep under the stars instead of a room
Well, if you opt for a night trek, you do not have to worry about finding a hotel because the various trekking companies that conduct the night treks will provide you with a sleeping bag or you can even opt for the camps that are set up on the top of the hill by them. But if not, there are plenty of hotels around Skandagiri that offer comfortable stay and surrounded by trees.
Skandagiri is surrounded by sublime atmosphere that will awaken your spirits and refresh your soul. This place is filled with picturesque scenes and adventurous activities that will make your heart thump with excitement. You will feel as if you are in the lap of nature amidst lush green trees and misty hills.