Place: Ramadevara Betta, Tumkur, Karnataka
Distance: 70 km from Bangalore
Ideal for: Adventure Trekkers
Trek Difficulty: Medium
Trek Lenght: 4 kilometers one side
Trek Duration: 2.5 hours for ascending
Bangalore weather was pleasant for the past week even though it was a summer season. I decided to plan for a small trek near Tumkur. Last time I had been to Mandaragiri Hills, I could see a gigantic hill next to us. After quite a research I found that it is named Ramadevara Betta. It looked like a small hill at first, so I thought we can easily scale it within an hour. I tried to get more information about the hill over the internet but unfortunately, there was no solid info on the internet. I found a couple of blogs which mentioned there are many ways to climb this hill but the easiest one would be from the backside of Siddaganga Matha and blogs suggested taking help from the locals to find the route. I was still unsure about the trip execution but all I knew was "I had to go there and find it for myself".
Note: This is the Ramadevara Betta in Tumkur not the Ramadevara Betta in Ramnagar. If you are looking for the later one then do check this post
I booked a Zoomcar from 7 am to 8 pm on Saturday. My friend Anu was the only one who knew how to drive. She was an amateur at driving, she had very little experience driving on the highways. I knew it's not wise to rely on girls driving skills (never mind!!) but I made a strong decision and went ahead.
Saturday morning: I got up at 5 am and I was ready in half an hour. After picking up Anu, we went to Zoomcar parking spot Rajaji Nagar to pick up the car. I was a little scared about Anu's driving skills but I had no option but to pray to God. We picked up Bhims, Govind, and Smitha on the way. NH4 was relatively had less traffic as compared to the Mysur road but the toll gates were a bottleneck, every time I cross these toll gates I used to be on a bike, I used to pay no toll and waste no time in the line. I could finally feel the pain of the car and truck drivers waiting in the long line for the toll :D
We stopped at Pavitra Idli Hotel for breakfast. This place is famous among the people traveling to Tumkur. It serves delicious Idli and Vada. It will be very rush during the weekend but it's worth the wait and effort. After a nice breakfast, we headed to the Siddaganga Matha as suggested in one of the blogs.
Where is the trail? As per my research, the trek route or the trail should start from Siddaganga Matha. We enquired with two security guards at Siddaganga Mutt but both of them said they don't even know the hill named Ramadevara Betta and after we pointed the hill at far they said the trail doesn't begin from here. Even if we start from here it is gonna be very difficult to find the path. They showed us another way to reach the base of the hill from where the climb is expected to be easier. Following the directions given by those security guards, we reached a dead-end where there's no route available leading to the hill base. It didn't even take us anywhere close to the base of the hill. We could see the hill from far but had no idea how to climb it. We enquired some more local people but none seemed to know the proper route for it. Since its a very unknown hill and no one usually goes there made us a bit scared. Since we had girls in our group it was unsafe to do this trek anymore. I almost gave up the idea of doing this trek and called off the trek but girls were more courageous and said let's do it.
Ray of Hope: We called up a friend who lives in Tumkur (currently he was in Bangalore), he said the hill is unknown but gave us a hint about the route to reach the base. We were blindly following the direction given by him. We spotted a middle-aged man on the bike, when we asked about the hill he was surprised!! It was unusual for him to see visitors from Bangalore coming to trek Ramadevara Betta. He grew up in the same village so he knew how to scale the hill. He offered us a safe parking area inside his farm and also he arranged one of his workers in the field as a guide for us.
|Enquiring about the Ramadevara Betta with the locals.|
None seem to have any idea about it :(
Finally the Trek Started: It was 11 am by the time we started trekking. For the entire week the climate was cloudy and soothing but today it was hot & sunny. The initial trail was through the relatively flat ground. Since this hill doesn't attract many visitors, there was no defined trail. It was exciting to see the untouched nature at its best. Unlike my usual treks this trail is completely raw, there is footpath visible at few places but its diverged at many places so finding the right one might be tricky. Even though it was summer the greenery at this place was charming. The plants were mostly throbs, so be prepared with full sleeves as you can expect a lot of scratches on your hands.
|We parked our car in the private farm and started trekking with a local.|
|Our guide had all the energy in the world :D|
|The initial stretch was through a flat ground|
|There was no defined path. The guide knew the trail.|
|True wanderers find their own path :D|
After nearly half an hour we were near the electrical pole. Back in time, these poles were laid to supply electricity to the temple at the peak. You just need to follow the electrical poles until you find a very big boulder (picture shown below) after which the electrical poles go through a dense steep path. The trek was going easy at the beginning but soon we were gaining altitude hence it was tiring to put every step. Upon that the scorching sun was making us more tired (and tanned course :P ). We didn't take many photos on the way as we were busy in following fast moving guide, he had all the energy to trek like a pro. We reached a big boulder, the peak was visible from here. We crashed down for a short break of 5 minutes. Looking at the peak we didn't have any confidence that we can reach there. It was way too far and looked impossible to find the way to it. The guide didn't let us take rest for more time (which was a good thing actually).
|All we knew was - we have to get there|
|As not many trek this hill there is no defined path. You have to keep exploring the possibilities|
We got Lost: After 15 minutes of trekking, the guide said he lost the route. I asked everyone to sit and wait until I and the guide go and check the routes. We trekked down until we reached the last resting point there was no other path, the guide was confused and tensed as he was unable to find the trail. I tried to calm him down by telling "it's ok if we don't find a route! we can chill out here and head back". He didn't feel convinced. He wanted to give another try. We came back to the place where everyone was waiting.
|The electric pole on the left is going to be the landmark for the trail from here onwards.|
|Our guide was confused as he had lost the way. You can see the peak in the picture but it looked too far still.|
|This boulder is going to be a landmark for you.|
|We could see the peak|
|This path looked spooky at first. I don't know how will it feel in the night|
|Everyone was off to some rest before guide and I could find the way out|
Hunt for the Trail: By now the climate was very hot, we had emptied all the water bottles already. The guide said there's drinkable water source at the peak, that was a relief for us. Like colombus we started finding the route, after 10 minutes we found the trail, we were on the track now. It was already late so we decided to take less break and keep trekking. The inclination was steep and every step was difficult to scale.
We finally reached the peak at 1.30 in the afternoon. It was a big relief to finally reach the peak. I had been to so many hills around Bangalore but scaling this hill was one of the most thrilling and satisfying experience I ever had. It should usually take two hour to scale the hill but we took 2.5 hours due to the trail confusion.
|We were able to find the path finally. :)|
|What do you do when you reach the peak? You jump :D|
There were nearly 30+ villagers at the place, who had come to here to celebrate one of their kid's naming ceremony. They were surprised to see us. A kid came running to us and asked if we have come here for film shooting :D Looking at the DSLR so many asked which movie or TV show we are doing. I replied with a smile that we have just come to explore.
|We crashed under the shade to take some rest.|
|The rocks look gigantic and beautiful|
|Where you are on the hill every other hill looks so tiny. Isn't it?|
|The cave temple and the pound from where you can get drinkable water|
There's cave temple dedicated to Rama to the left, we proceeded there first as we were thirsty and there's water source there. Inside the temple, there is a small pound from where you can get fresh water for drinking. The depth of the pound is way too deep so be careful if you are taking water from there. We drank water and refilled our bottles. The water was not clear but drinkable. Nothing happened to anyone after drinking that water so you can drink it without a second thought.
Athithi Devobhava: The villagers invited for lunch as well (non veg ;) but two of us were veggies so we refused the offer a smile. That's the kind of love you get from the village side of Karnataka, unknown people call you for their family function and offer food. Athithi Devobhava truly followed in our country. We explored the place for some time, we had a small photo session.
The temple atop is dedicated to Shiva. There are not many details available about the history of the temple anywhere, even the guide didn't have much idea about it. The temple premises is a flat ground with panoramic views on all the sides, I could spot Shivagange Hill, Nijagal Betta, Mandaragiri and Devarayana Durga from this point. It was definitely a treat to the eyes.
|We had an amazing photoshoot|
|The rock wall surrounding the main Temple|
|Shivalingu worshipped inside the temple|
The descend: It was 3.30 in the afternoon the sun was high in the sky. It was time for us to start descending now as all of us were very hungry. As usual, the descend was easy and we didn't take much breaks until we reached the base. The man whom I met in the morning was waiting for us. I talked with him and thanked him a lot of times for his hospitality and guidance. He refused to take any money. It was nice to see the love by localities. Despite being strangers he helped us a lot. Hope we will get a chance to serve them too. We paid guide Rs. 400 for all the effort he took (we should have given him more I felt).
|We all chilling inside the temple|
Back to Bangalore: It was 5 pm by the time we started driving back to Bangalore, I initially had plans to visit Siddaganga Mutt and Mandaragiri hills but it was too late for that. We pulled over at Kamat near Nijagal betta, where we had lunch/snacks. Driving back was difficult for Anu as she was an amateur at driving and the traffic was too much. We dropped Smitha, Bhimu, and Govind on the way and reached zoom cars parking space at 8 pm to return the car.
It was one hell of trekking, I really appreaciate girls for having the courage to do the trekking even in such an unknown trail. Nothing is impossible! You just need the right set of people and some mental will.
Contact me to get the details of the person who helped us. He will be more than happy to help and arrange a guide for you.
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"I knew it's not wise to rely on girls driving skills (never mind!!) but I made a strong decision and went ahead." - Funny how you didn't have any driving skills yourself but apparently it is not wise to rely on girls driving skills. Hah, sexist. Thank you for the information on the trek, but comments on girls driving skills and other comments on how they were ready to go on a trek in spite of being women and stuff ticked me off and made me move away from your blog. All the best regardless.ReplyDelete
Wonderful experience! Explained as simple as possible. Good informative. Would definitely like to do it....looking forward for the ascendReplyDelete