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Why a weekend getaway to Skandagiri Hills is a great idea this year

Who doesn’t like a short vacation from the continuous sitting in front of a screen, be it at office or at home? And if the destination is situated near your workplace, then even better. Well Skandagiri is such an exquisite destination for travel enthusiasts and trekkers. Situated around 60 kms away from the IT capital of India, it is easily accessible via Bangalore.

The fort atop Skandagiri was built by Tipu Sultan for his revolt against the British. After the defeat of Tipu Sultan the fort was decommissioned and torn down by British army. At the zenith of the trek there is a sunrise and sunset point from where you can gaze into the horizon as the sun completes its daily journey across the sky, horizon to horizon.

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When and how to go to Skandagiri Hills – A Perfect Getaway from Bangalore?

 Skandagiri Hills

If you wish to undertake the night trek of Skandagiri, which is a perfect night trek destination in India, then winter is the only feasible time to do so, while the day trek can be done during the monsoon season too. The primary reason to avoid the night trek during monsoons is the dense undergrowth of bushes and shrubs which would be slippery from all the rain and may cause accidental slipping which may take a heavy toll.

No matter how you are traveling, by rail or by air, you have to reach Bangalore which is the nearest major railhead and airport. From Bangalore you can take a bus or book a cab to Chikkaballapur. From there it’s a 15 minute auto ride to Kalawara Village which is the base camp for the trek.

The trek: when to begin and how is the route

 Skandagiri Hills

The trek is usually described as an easy one and under normal circumstances may take up to 5 hours. Hence the trek is usually begun at around 2 pm. Which gives you ample time to enjoy the trek in broad daylight as well as reaching the camping site in time to watch the beautiful sunset. But if you prefer a more leisurely pace with photography breaks along the way then it is advisable to start a bit early so that you get enough time to capture the moments and make it in time for the sunset.

The trek begins from the Papagni Math near Kalawara Village. After around 10 minutes of trekking at Skandagiri through semi dry, barren land you would enter the lush greenery which is characteristic of the entire trek. After rummaging along for some time through the dense foliage you would reach the Klawarbettar fortress. This would be the first of the six ruined fortresses which would fall along the trail. The heavy forests on both sides would keep you enchanted and going at the same time. And if you feel tired or dehydrated and you need a rest then there are small Samadhi caves which provide ample shade and shelter to recharge your battery.

The engaging ruins en route and the beautiful scenery would keep you distracted from the toil of the trek throughout the journey to the top where you reach the broken down temple which offers an all-round panoramic view of the jungles with a distant line at the horizon which would be Bangalore. Situated at an elevation of 4429 ft above the sea level, the summit offers you a place in the clouds as you see them clinging and moving along the mountain ranges which you have left down. The monsoon season offers pristine clouds and hence makes for a great time to trek here.

The night sky at the campsites would engulf you in a trip down through memory lanes as every good memories resurface. The alluring skyline looks even more magical due to the absence of any artificial light. You can organize a bonfire and have chicken barbeque provided you take all the raw materials from down below because nobody is going to provide you with those at the apex. But don’t worry even without the mouth-watering prospect of self-made chicken barbeque the trek is going to be memorable enough.

The basic stuff that you should really not forget to take

1. Broad strapped backpack

Strenuous trekking would exert a heavy toll on your shoulders and hence a broad strap would spread out the load and save you from fatigue.

2. Outfits

Carry light coloured full-sleeved t-shirts so as to prevent sunburn, do not carry black because of the heat. Carry a light jacket because weather changed quite drastically and carry a pair of synthetic easily dry able pair of track pants. The pair of trekking shoes should have good traction and should not be bran new in case your feet don’t adapt to it and cause blisters. Carry light cotton socks, extras by all means, to prevent your feet from sweating and slipping. A rain coat is a must because the dynamicity of the weather makes it difficult to predict rain patterns and hence it’s advisable to go in safe than sorry.

3. Torch

No, the one in your mobile won’t do. Carry an actual torch with enough batteries because if you plan on camping at night you are going to need it. This is not because there are dangerous animal around but simply because you may need to answer nature’s call and have to find the way in the dark!

4. First aid kit

Make sure you have one, because if you fall down and bruise yourself or get a wound, there is nobody to take you to the doctor. Be your own doctor and prepare for any exigencies. Carry all basic medicines and first aid equipment.

5. Water

No description needed. Just carry as much as you can, because hydration will be a problem after all the strain of trekking.

6. Towel and toiletries

Take a small towel; a shower on the mountain is not on the cards! Also if you forget to carry basic toiletries, then all we can do is salute you!

Skandagiri? Haven’t heard of it in travel journals. You sure?

Well to be honest a lot of great places aren’t mentioned in travel journals because the authors don’t deem them fit to be publicized. Some don’t beat a drum about a particular place because they fear that crowds may spoil the serenity of the same. Now if you do decide on going for a trek to Skandagiri and do the night trek with the full camping experience, you will realize what we’re talking about!

Moreover it’s really close to Bangalore as compared to the distance of other trekking sites from their nearest cities. So why wait? Monsoon and winter are yet to come this year. Go to Skandagiri and have the time of your life.

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