Sunrise Trek to Huthridurga

29th Nov 2019

Sunrise: Huthri Durga

Photo of Sunrise Trek to Huthridurga by Varun Nayak

It had been over six months since we had been on our last trek and we were eagerly looking forward to hitting the trekking trail again. After days of planning, we finally booked a night trek to Huthridurga with Namma Trip - a Bangalore based group which organizes treks to places around the IT City.

Day 2

Perched on a hill that rises about 1,100 m above the sea level, Huthridurga lies in the Tumkur district of Karnataka, about 65 km west of Bangalore. In fact, it is one of the 'Nava Durgas' or 'Nine Hill Forts' that surround the state's capital city. Though the fort is believed to have been constructed by Kempe Gowda in the 16th century, the place has evidence of human settlement dating back to the Iron Age with burials of that period being discovered here. The fort was an important military bastion of Tipu Sultan until it was captured by the British in 1792 during the Third Anglo-Mysore War. With the death of Tipu in 1799, as the boundaries of British India changed, Huthridurga lost its military importance and subsequently fell into disuse.

Huthri Durga Fort

Photo of Huthridurga, Karnataka, India by Varun Nayak

We boarded the pick up bus at 11:30 PM from Marathahalli and reached the base of the fort by 3:00 AM the next morning, having picked up fellow trekkers en route. Led by our guides - Venky and Sharath, we began our trek about 30 mins later, walking past the village which seemed to be in deep slumber. Walking through dung-strewn streets beneath a dark, starry sky with cool breeze blowing through was such a welcome change for city folks like us.

The first stretch of the actual trek i.e. from the entrance of the fort till the fifth gate, was easy with steps being carved onto the rock. Walking past those impressive medieval gates, it felt as if we were an invading party storming the hill fort in the dead of the night when the garrison had dropped their guard. As we rested for a while for stragglers to catch up, we laid on the rock trying to identify some constellations in the sky. While we failed miserably in our attempts, we did see some shooting stars which was truly, one of the highlights of the trip. The latter part of the trek, was a little more challenging as we had to ascend much steeper steps and walk through tall grass which was a bit difficult considering low visibility. We reached the temple, atop the hill at about 4:15 AM, eagerly waiting for the sun to rise while we braved the freezing cold.

View from the fort

Photo of Huthri Betta, Karnataka, India by Varun Nayak

The sun finally came up at 6:27 AM in the morning. Watching the rocks glow in the first rays of the sun was sight to behold. I spent about half an hour exploring the eastern side of the fort even as my wife was busy chasing some Yellow Bulbuls - a species classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN. We began our descent at 7:15 AM, taking our time studying the gates. The sixth gate was undoubtedly the best, giving a glimpse of how the majestic and formidable the fort would have been during its golden days.

Next, we drove to the back waters of the Kanva reservoir where we had our breakfast followed by a round of kayaking, which was included in our package. The reservoir had sufficient amount of water attracting a host of birds including Brahminy Kites, Painted Storks, River Terns etc. At about 11:30 AM, we left for Bangalore, reaching Marathahalli by 2:30 PM, thanks to the infamous Bangalore traffic.

Sunrise from the fort

Photo of Kanva Reservoir, Karnataka by Varun Nayak

Overall, it was definitely, an exciting experience.