Oct 5, 2008

Shivagange

Shivagange. The first hill I ever climbed right up to the top.

Shivagange looks like a 'Shiva Linga' as seen from the NH4 (before Dobbaspet). I've heard it also looks like a bull's profile from another angle. When it's cloudy th top part of the hill is covered in clouds giving it a heavenly look.



The first time I had been was with Anish and Praveen but we stopped half way up since it was getting dark. The nect visit was with Gulli and we were determined to reach the top. The climb is not really tough. It took us some 90 minutes (eventually, on the thrid or fourth climb we made it to the top in 45 minutes).

The climb is a mix of both dirt and rocky surface unlike Savandurga which is all rock surface. As we pass the half way mark, the climb gets steeper with hardly anything to hold on. This part can be dicy during rains. Grass and small shrubs are the only plant life... no trees on this hill.

Just before we reach the top, we get to see Nandi statue on our left. It's perched on a small rock which acts like a private little mount for Nandi. Once on the top, you can see a small temple and a shop, managed by the Swami and his son.



The Swami's been living there for more than 20 years. What a life! On top a hill breathing fresh air and seeing the sights we rarely get to see.



The summit is a small area with steep faces on three sides. We have to watch where we step. One wrong step... let me not imagine further.



One of the faces is a suicide spot... straight down several hundreds of feet. This is where Shantala, King Vishuvardana's wife, had jumped to her death. I stood two feet from the edge and took the picture you see below.




When we looked around, we could see lot of smaller hills spread around. Many of them with little forts or watch houses on top. Palegars used these hills to keep watch over their territory and also as hideouts during wars. This whole area is one destination for nature lovers, adventure seekers and wild life enthusiasts but it's changing fast with the so called 'development acticities'.



For people coming from Bangalore, there are two routes to reach Shivagange. The most travelled route is the one from Dobbaspet. the other one is from Bangalore-Hassan road which is less crowded. We always took this road which passed through country road. During one of the visits, on the way back, I saw a flock of vultures. This was the first time I ever saw them so closely. Huge and ugly and scary. The flock was a mix os all sizes and ages.  They were busy feeding on a carcass... may be a cow or a buffalo. At first they did not notice us. I took out my aim-n-shoot Yashica and slowly went towards the flock... scared where they might attack me with their claws and beaks. But they were suddenly alert. They saw me and started leaving moving me away from me. I interrupted their party. Sorry guys. The next scene was some thing I'd never seen. The vultures started running picking speed, flapping their massive wings trying to lift their mass of the ground and then slowly took off the ground... like jumbo jets. I don't think I'll ever get to such a scene ever again.

Shivagange is a home to several temples. One of the temples is popular for it's underground spring. People throng here to touch the water which is supposed to be holy.

I've heard that a tunnel existed long time back which connected to Kashi. Hard to believe. I've also heard that another tunnel connected Shivagange to Gavigangadhareshwara temple, one of the cave temples in & around Bangalore. I've seen the tunnel's enterance at Gavigangadhareshwara temple. It was blocked after few treasure hunters died of suffocation. The temple is worth seeing.

If you ever happen to visit Shivagange, make sure you carry sticks to scare the red-faced monkeys. They are rude. Last when I went, some time 1993, they ruled the place.

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