August 17, 2011
It was almost 3 years since my last visit to Savandurga. During rainy season the place is a paradise. But you need weather on your side for a safe climb. We had left Bangalore around early morning 4-30 and reached here by 6-30.
We had stopped to take this picture.
We parked Santro close to Laxminarasimha temple. Two dogs and two pups hanging around followed us. Invariably dogs accompany early climbers. This is at the base of the hill. A narrow gap behind the grass, under the tree is the right path.
That's the first gateway.
We made it here in about 10 minutes, same as earlier climbs. Of the two pups, one was wounded and it could not manage to climb up the rocks. We could hear it yelping kui kui kui. Little further, the other pup which was with us turned back, perhaps it wanted to be with the wounded pup. In this short video you can see the pup pauses to look at Deepak and Vijay as if to say "you guys did not help my sibling" and goes off.
You saw the pup stop and turn back?
Deepak and Vijay look up towards the second gateway. This stretch, approximately 100 feet long is one of the steepest stretches in our path.
We take a five minute break. I was amazed at this 200+ years brick wall. I made a mental note to pick up a brick on the way back.
Deepak gives his legs some rest. The climb ahead is half kilometer straight stretch. Fresh mountain air starts blowing in mist.
Deepak and Vijay go ahead as I stop by to shoot pictures of a snail, cactus and tender ficus leaves. This part of Savandurga is like a natural Bonsai nursery. Ruins of a bastion in ruins. Every year rain water washes away stones and mud making it smaller.
There they are. I start chasing them...
...we are at the guard's house by the time I catch up. Weather up here is fantastic. that's the guard house pond.
Magic Mist; I wish for mist and there it is :)
We stop for breakfast; bread, cheese, jam and peanut butter. We share breakfast with the dogs. Hunger satisfied, I was eager to move on. Deepak suggested we visit Hanuman for few minutes. Earlier the path to the open air Hanuman temple was wild and littered with thorns. But this time I could make it bare foot. Deepak says he wants to try bare foot walk and takes off shoes.
We bow to you Lord Hanuman.
Looking back at the 'ditch' I just came through. Normally this ditch is covered with 6 to 7 feet high grass. During our previous climbs we had to bend down and search for the path. But this time, with less rains, grass was not as thick.
I spot a Othikata, a lizard and show it to Deepak. There he is aiming his Canon SX30 at the lizard just below the small rock.
This little tree managed to grow out from a narrow gap in the rocks.
Path ahead is interesting. Here we go below rocks which form arches. This is the stretch which acts like a bridge across a chasm. Do see this video.
The summit has few Frangipani trees. During winters these trees are full of fragrant white-yellow flowers. I could find a few flowers on one of the trees but it was too slippery to climb. I find a fresh looking flower and pick it up.
The Basavanna sits peacefully in his little Mantapa. I climb on to the Mantapa and go around Basava three times and place the Frangipani close to his feet.
Deepak has spotted this exotic insect. The moment I saw it a sports car flashed in my mind. The glossy green inset is unperturbed by our presence. Perhaps it was deep in sleep.
We settle down in silence, away from each other. We wanted to enjoy to the silence, the fresh cold mist laden air. That's Thippagondanahalli reservoir in the background. On the middle of the picture you can see the guard house and the shelter where is had breakfast.
Mist would come and go. For minutes together we would see a white screen. Then mist would clear off for a minute or so then again a white screen. I sat there mesmerized ...that's Deepak in the picture below.
Savandurga has two peaks- Biligudda and Karigudda, the terms mean 'White hill' and 'Black hill'. We are looking at Biligudda.
Unlike Karigudda, Biligudda climb is mostly under the cover of trees. It's more wild and few people have ever climbed it. If you look carefully you can find two guard houses on it. I climbed it two times but failed to reach the guard houses. I hope the day will come. We were hungry again, had more bread and cheese. We realized the dogs were still with us.
Last look at Basava Mantapa for the day.
This sight caught my attention. It seems like an opening to a different world. I remember taking a picture of my dad here. Dad really enjoyed overnight stays here, two times.
Independence Day was two days ago. Savandurga has it's own flag :)
I did pick up a loose brick lying in the open. During a descent, our feet experience lot of forces, gets rubbed against the rock. With all the action, our feet were burning and a dip in water would give a great feeling. With all the dead skin scraped off, my feet felt cleaner and softer. It was a natural massage, all the acupuncture points in the sole would have been activated. You got to do this once in a while, good for improving blood circulation.
Back at the first gateway. Take a close looks the tree's roots.
back then construction workers were brave and intelligent. How did they manage to build a wall of stones, nothing to bind the stones, on a slope.
Looking back at the gateway. That's where the wounded pup got stuck and cried for help. We saw a young couple going up. We could see another group of youngsters noisily making their way up. I wish they kept their mouths shut or at least speak softly.
You cannot simply miss this guy. Whoever created this must have wanted people to smile. The dogs parted us at almost the same spot where they joined us.
One of the two elephants in temple entrance.
We had tender coconut water. The teenage shopkeeper told us that a rouge elephant was loose in the jungle and people were trying to capture it. It seems the elephant had killed a man near Bidadi. We freshened up, stuff our bags into the car and got going. About a kilometer down the road, we stopped to check out ruins. This could have been a gateway during Kempegowda's time. It's wide enough even for elephants.
Steps carved out in rock. The step ahead of me had a Kannada inscription. The last four letters read Narasayya.
We stop at a small eatery and have rice for lunch. On the way back towards Magadi we saw a groups of Karnataka Forest Department vehicles and an ambulance also. Yes this was the part of the groups hunting for the fugitive elephant. We move on ...our destinations were Magadi Fort and then Huliyur Fort. Back home I realized that my research was inadequate and we had missed out Huthridurga Fort which was around 20km from Magadi.