Staying in Bangalore can be frustrating. The insane traffic, the unbearable work stress and the general monotony of life can all become too much to handle. Weekends are the most awaited time of the week. Thankfully, Bangalore has plenty of weekend destinations to escape to, especially for nature-lovers and trekkers. Skandagiri, which is around 70 km from Bangalore, is one such destination which is perfect for that weekend reboot that everyone needs.
Also known as kalavara Durga, Skandagiri used to be Tipu Sultan's fortress that can be reached only after an arduous trek of around 8 km. The trek route is quite rocky and steep and has a high chance of fatalities during the monsoons. Although, very little remains of the fortress except for a few steps and dilapidated walls, there are a couple of ancient temples that are in a decent condition. Skandagiri is a protected area and forest department has appointed guards to regulate the number of trekkers. You can book your trek here.
For a long time, I had been wanting to visit Skandagiri but somehow it never happened. I had heard a lot about the amazing views from the top, especially during winters when a sea of clouds envelops the peak. So you can imagine my joy when the trekking group Bangalore Ascenders sent a mail to all its members that they were organizing a trek to Skandagiri. I jumped at the chance and immediately registered my husband and me for the trek. Bangalore Ascenders is a not-for-profit group which organizes treks to both popular and lesser-known locations. The trip costs are shared among everyone, including the organizers, equally. To join them as a member, click here. This entire trip cost us around 700 Rs per head including transport charges.
We started at around 11:15 pm from Bangalore and reached Kalwara village at the base of the Skandagiri peak around 1:30 am. We were supposed to start trekking at 4:00 am and reach the peak in time to witness the sunrise. However, the forest guards allowed us to start at 3:30 am itself. The sky was full of stars and it was a cold winter night.
It was still dark out when we started our trek. We huffed and puffed up the rocky trail. At one point we were literally clambering over huge boulders. Finally, we reached a point where we could see a million twinkling lights of a town, probably part of sub-urban Bangalore. The lights were so bright that they blotted out the stars. It reminded us of the expanding urban sprawl that will soon consume the remoteness of such places.