Plan to trek this famous hillock called Shivagange having an altitude of 4488ft located near Dabaspet in Tumkur district of Karnataka had been decided while trekking on one of the highest monolith which is also there in Karnataka i.e. Savandurga, but the thing that was not decided - the date. Moreover after returning from Kodachadri (Shimoga) I was well aware if I would not trek Shivagange the next week.. I won’t be able to trek it in next six months atleast. So 2nd feb 2014 was finalized for this trek.
Unlike my usual treks, this time I couldn’t check most of the details because of scarcity of time, but this is also a fun to go without many details. We started very early in the morning.. took morning tea for opening our still half closed eyes. We bought some of the snacks from that shop only… quite mandatory thing while going out for any trek. Then we caught bus for Majestic.
Way to Shivagange
At Majestic, fourth member of the group was already waiting and we started to find out the bus for Dabaspet. Buses those were going to Tumkur were not allowing us and saying that they will not stop at Shivagange. So after enquiring from 1-2 drivers, we searched KSRTC bus stop no. 2. From this stop of KSRTC bus stand that is beside Majestic, we caught bus for Dabaspet. After getting down I realized that almost every bus stops here and we could catch those initial buses also.
Now we started to search for food point where we could get some nice breakfast. But it is kind of bypass so obviously our hopes failed and we ended up with some pathetic breakfast. Now we took a shared auto from the Junction where bus dropped us… towards Shivagange which is around 8kms from there, auto charged us Rs. 20 per person. The point where he dropped us was the entrance of the temple with one Shiva Statue on one side of it. For few mins we were amused that had he dropped us at the right place as there we couldn’t see any hill. But after enquiring from some local shops, we got to know that it is the starting place for the trek.. and we need to go through that Gopuram. Basically this place is quite famous as a religious place more than a trekking point. So we were going to enjoy a 2-in-1 combo. J
Lord Ganesha Statue
We were again confused that we should start with our foot wears or should leave them at the base only. After noticing some people we came out of dilemma and started with foot wears. Just after few steps there is a big statue of Lord Ganesha on left. Perhaps it is there because we should first take the name of Lord Ganesha before starting any auspicious task according to legends.
After climbing around 30 steps, we encountered a big statue of Nandi Bull. Behind that statue further steps were going up. But instead of taking those steps we took right one as there was one Gopuram indicating that some kind of temple should be there ahead. Almost all of the information written there was in Kannada so we were not able to understand that and kept on guessing.
Anyways our assumption was correct and we got a very nice temple of deity Honnadevi. Initially we thought that as Gavigangadhareshwara because it was also constructed under a rock. That rock structure can be noticed very well and forced us to think that how tough it would be to construct this kind of temples. After darshan we started upstairs and here was another temple.
This temple was looking very huge as there were railings to move but we could not see any gate through which we can see the statue of deity i.e. main part of temple. Outer premise of this temple itself was so big that we were wondering how huge will be the temple!!!
As expected this temple was the temple we were waiting for i.e. Gavi Gangadhareshewara holding beauty in some renovated way. This is the temple which is famous for most wonderful thing here on Shivagange.. here the ghee turns into butter on abhisheka. It is believed that the ghee that turns to better has medicinal powers and can cure many ailments. I could see ghee in many hands perhaps they were the people who had come here for worshipping lord Shiva unlike us.
I was looking here and there continuously for that famous cave (Gavi means cave in Kannada) which connects this marvelous temple to the Gangadhareshwara temple in Bangalore. But I could not notice any and started to move outside in the hope that I would find it out in the outer part. But my instincts called me back and then I noticed a group of people who were bent towards something. And yes it was that cave I was desperate to see. It is not like ancient usual caves from outside as temple management has also renovated it. A kind of square hole is there which is big enough to peek into the cave. With the help of light in our cellphones we also tried to check and initially it seemed to be block but later with further lights we found that it is having some way but it is too dark to guess whether a path still exists. Let me tell you that it is said that this tunnel connects to Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple in Bangalore. I was very happy after coming out from this temple because I love this kind of structures a lot.
At the back of the temple when we came out we found a magnificent structure. It was the back gate of the temple but then it was in no use because gate seemed to be locked for quite a long time. Architecture there is really memorable. Carvings on the pillars are very detailed. Also present there is an obsolete structure containing a number of pillars and pillared ceilings. Inner part was completely covered from top but because of no maintenance grass has been grown over and there.
Starting of the trek
Here were one or two shops and we purchased water and cold drink to keep ourselves hydrated during the trek. And then started the rocky part and it was really very slippery although we had not really started the trek yet. In the rock very small steps have been created so that our feet can take support and avoid body from slipping back. Railings in the mid of both steps is also standing to provide additional support. From surroundings it is quite evident that Shivagange is equally famous as a religious place and devotees go upto the top bare footed.
Our next stop was another temple Olkala Teertha. This is again Shiva temple. Here were two or three stalls selling a number of items. For this temple we need to purchase tickets for Rs. 5 each. This temple was under the rock means we need to descend steps instead of ascending that is commonly available in temples. Here we saw that famous hole in which we need to put our hand and try to touch water. That part is behind the statue of Shiva and we have to take left and very narrow path. Only one person can cross that part at a time. You will feel that water is very near and you will easily touch it but it’s not like that. It is believed that only pious person can touch this water. On the other side of this hole was Shani statue and because of oil that is poured on it.. that rocky part has become so slippery that there also we crossed by holding railings and sitting because of height in that part was really less.
Now we had started further and now rock was not slippery but it has turned rocky having some sort of vegetation. Now sun was also shining with its full strength and we were having water again and again and gradually ascending.
Ganga Water present on the Hill
After few metres at one place we saw a long queue and beside that queue was a small statue of God with one priest worshipping there. We were not able to understand initially what was there as there was a very huge rock and people were going down. And we were really wondering what was there. We asked to 2-3 people but no body gave us the satisfactory answer. All were blindly following the crowd. Then suddenly I recalled that this should be that pious Ganga water that is said to be present here on this rugged hill. That water was really very cold, soothing for our eyes and we suddenly felt very fresh. According to priest that water never disappears from there. Amazing my India is… we don’t have any idea about so many things present around us.
Still an hour away
Now we could see a very steep trail ahead… after enquiring from guys who were coming down we came to know that it would further take around 1 hour to reach us to the top. Till then sun had also started shining with its full glory as it was around 1 o’clock. Although path was really steep making us tired but it was full of stones so it was not that slippery as Savandurga (there it was really tough to come down). There were so many people especially female who were bare footed as it was a religious place to them. The good thing on this pious hill is that you will have stalls upto the top… selling cucumber, buttermilk, bhelpuri etc. that will prevent you from dehydration and also do not need to carry so much things with you. We also stopped at one such point because it was providing much needed shelter and we could get rid of sun for some time. We had buttermilk there and it was so rejuvenating that compelled us to take one more glass. It restored a good amount of energy in the body which has been drained by the almighty sun.
Shiva Parvati Statue in the middle
All around were breath taking views. Higher we were going clearer and awesome was the view. Also big rocks were spread all around us. So from some distance we noticed a very big statue of Shiva and Parvati. Thought of taking rest there and when we reached there it was a small temple and outside that temple is this statue of duo which was also shining to its fullest because of sun light reflecting on it. Beside the temple a small shelter has been constructed which provides a much needed break to all the people whether they are hikers or religious people. So many monkeys were also there and some were literally searching for some drops of water in the bottles thrown by the people. It was really pity of them.
After this we again stopped at another stall and had some cucumber to get rid of our fatigue. We took ample amount of time there because it was in kind of valley between two very huge rocks making the view spectacular. There we took some pics too.
Final Part of the trek
Now the part we could see was the real steep part because of which probably it is said that hiking on this hill is not easy. I can say that if those railing would not have been there then normal people can’t reach to summit. That part is kind of proper vertical with very big stones, if by chance u slip then no chance of getting saved in case if railings are not there. But thankfully railings were there all upto the Nandi statue on top and with some effort we were successful in going up.
Nandi Statue on Top
The rock on which Nandi statue has been carved is very narrow and steep. But it is also having railings. That Nandi statue has been carved out of a single rock. Wind there was blowing with its full speed. And that stone is so steep that placing our feet firmly on it was really tough. We enjoyed for few minutes there, were in no mood to come down as usual. But as space is not there and so many people want to come, we came down. But the most surprising thing is how that sculpture would have carved this status of bull on this highest point of the hill which is not having sufficient space to stand.
Shantala’s Suicide Point
Opposite to Nandi statue is the Shantala’s suicide point. We got to that point and surprisingly there was another stall having all normal things that we may need like fruits, cold drinks, buttermilk, some branded products kept in a refrigerator( I was very surprised after noticing it)… just with some extra cost you can get all those. Here was another small ancient temple and like all other temples this temple was also having its base very cold instead of this hot scorching sun. A very small temple behind the stall also exists which was left almost unnoticed by the visitors. And then we got to the suicide point. There two dilapidated pillars were standing. Here were also railings which were making that point safe. View from this point is breath taking.
The point is named after Queen Shantala, wife of Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana. It is said that this queen was a great Bharatnatyam dancer was having a great influence in the administration also. But she was depressed because of not able to give birth to the heir of the kingdom. One night she came out of her palace to this place and prayed at the Honnadevi temple. After that she jumped from this point and ended her life. Local people still believe that the restless soul of queen still wanders here and sound of her anklets can still be heard at night.
We spent a good amount of time, gave various poses with all possible angles and spent around 1.5 hrs there. Around 3:30 PM we started our way down. Till then crowd had also reduced. We were somewhat faster as pace is usually fast in descending.. also sun was on its way back. At one point… only we four were there and were surrounded by so many monkeys who had blocked our way and not letting us to move ahead. We looked for some other people but no one was there so we moved up for some distance. Then we saw another group of guys was coming and we both groups came together to big Shiva statue. We again stopped there because now view was very astonishing as sun was also running to take rest with us.
We came down very fast and then suddenly a thought strike in our mind… we didn’t see Patalagange yet. Unfortunately we were not aware about its exact location. So we started to ask the local people and shopkeepers. Some were telling that it is near Olakala Teertha, some were saying that it has been already passed and we were only and only perplexed with those kind of answers.
Ultimately we found it and let me tell you it is a narrow path just opposite to Ganesha statue that we encountered first just after some steps while starting the trek. Some information was also written on every point but in kannada so anybody of us couldn’t read that. So just followed what people suggest we went on that path and after around some 500-600mtrs, we found a temple premise. And people who were coming out told that it was the place that we were searching for.
Patala Gange basically means the “Underground Ganges”. We enetered in that premise and some 50 people were already there and it also had entry ticket of Rs 5 per person. We also waited for our turn and were guessing what we were going to see. Gradually we moved and then it was very dark and we were holding one rope on the side. After 2-3 steps the view I could understand… there were two huge rocks and water was there between those rocks. We could not see any end to that water and also water there is said to be very deep and no one could ever know about its depth. This water is said to be connected to a place called Antaragange in Kolar very far off from here.
Ultimately we came down. Opposite the hill is very big pond which was almost isolated at that time and buses were going from there for Tumkur. We decided to start from there before sun sets completely. We booked one auto from there for Rs 100 and came to the flyover where we got down from bus in morning. We searched for tea and also got some evening snacks which were necessary after such an exciting trek. We waited for the bus and got in KSRTC bus which was over crowded.
Anyhow we all were very happy as completed our day successfully… for me it was a trek that I was thinking of so long. We lost in our discussion.. got down at Majestic and again got in the bus… reached home around 10PM and it was the time to get lost in sweet dreams J J .
General Information with Day Plan
Date of Visiting : 02-Feb-2014 Sunday
Distance from Bangalore : approx 60 Km from Silk Board
Entry Fee : No Entry Fee is there for the hill
Mode of travelling : By Bus(BMTC and KSRTC)
Plan for the day : BTM->Majestic->Shivagange->Majestic->BTM.
Days required : 3 hours to go up and 1 hr on top and then 2 hrs to come down.
Kind of place : Equally famous among trekkers & pilgrims. Final part of the trek is really challenging. A lot of shrines are there upto the summit.