If the constant deadlines, work pressures, and overall monotonous pace of your life is getting to you, and you’re looking for a way out, even if it’s just for a day, it’s safe to say that you are in dire need of some good old nature time!
And there’s no better place to do so than the Makalidurga trek. This place is a mix of extreme beauty and thrill and an experience which will be cherished forever.
Table of Content:
- Makalidurga: A Spiritual Haven
- What History Says
- Where Makalidurga is Located
- How to Reach Makalidurga
- Makalidurga Weather
- The Trail Type
- The View From The Top
- Detailed Itinerary
- Best Time for Trekking
- Nearby Attractions: Now That You’re Here
- Things to Carry: A Checklist
- Makalidurga Night Trek
- Fitness Required For The Trek
- Advise You'll Need
- Summing Up
The Hills of Makalidurga are simplicity defined. These hills allow you to make your own way up, and as you do, you will witness nature at its finest.
Makalidurga: A Spiritual Haven
- Where it is Located: Karnataka
- Number of Trekking Days: 1 Day
- Trekking Grade: Easy
- Max. Altitude: 4430 ft (1350.26 m)
- Trekking Distance: 7 – 8 km
What History Says
History has it that, in the 18th century, the late leader Makaliraya used this hill as a granary. People gave this hill, and the village at its foot, the name ‘Makalidurga’ after this great ruler.
Through the course of its timeline, Makalidurga has come under the Gowda, Vijayanagara and the Maratha Empires. When this hill was under the Vijayanagara Empire it was used as a pad to train the Indian soldiers. After the Vijayanagara empire this place was under Shahaji Raje’s rule and then finally under the Kempegowda Empire.
Where Makalidurga is Located
The Makalidurga Trek is in the state of Karnataka, near Bangalore. This trek is very well connected by rail and road and lies at a short distance of 60 km from the city. The huge, natural granite rocks that surround it makes this hill a very popular destination for rock climbing and is loved by all the rock climbers.
This place is of huge historic and religious importance thanks to the old fort the 3 prominent temples that inhabit it.
To begin with, the start of your climb is marked with a visit to the Lord Krishna temple and your climb ends with the temples of Nandi and lord Shiva right at the top.
So, your trek starts and ends with the blessings of the Gods.
Deepthy Jagadish from the Bangalore Trekking Club says, "From my past trek experience what I have learnt is nature is God-like, maybe that's why you find a temple at any hill top."
Once you reach the top of your climb you can find the Gunjar Lake, which is in the shape of South America when seen from the top. This is a unique sight and is loved by everyone who reaches the top. You can also see the amazing road ways of the city and how well developed Bangalore is.
How to Reach Makalidurga
Makalidurga is a 65 km drive from Bangalore and 10 kms after Doddaballapura on the way to Gauribidanur. The altitude of this hill is 4430 feet and has an iconic hump which can be spotted from a distance. There are various ways to reach the top of this hill and you can choose from the one that suits you the most. This place has good signage too so that you are always on the correct path and don’t get lost in your adventure trail!
The best way to reach this place is via the rail route but you can also drive yourself or take a local bus. If you are self-driving, then you should go towards Doddaballapur and then map it or ask a local person. However, if you are planning on going to Makidurga in the night, it is always advised you opt for the railways to reach here.
Bangalore to Makalidurga via Train
The train connectivity to Makalidurga from Banaglore is very good. The train that can be taken to reach the Makalidurga Railway Station is Bangalore – Hindupur Passenger.
Bangalore to Makalidurga:
- Bangalore: 17:45
- Malleswaram: 17:49
- Yashwantpur: 17:56
- Makalidurga: 19:00
Makalidurga to Bangalore:
- Makalidurga: 07:30
- Yashwantpur: 08:40
- Malleswaram: 08:46
- Bangalore: 09:00
This region is almost very pleasant and cool after August. The monsoon and summers are very brutal here and trekking or any other activity is not advised. September to February is the ideal time to plan anything here. Cool winds are always present in this region and are loved by the travelers.
Speaking of the weather at Makalidurgar during her trek, Swajit Gade from Bangalore Hikers wrote, " We felt weather was on our side. Clouds had completely covered the sky, there was no sign of rains for the time being, but while climbing, we could see it was raining places far away from us."
The Trail Type
The trail to the top of Makalidurga is very interesting! You will find a lot of small rocks of various kinds and unique thorny shrubs and bushes. There are some lemongrass plants on your climb too which have an amazing and soothing smell in the environment that makes your climb very refreshing.
This trek is very famous with rock climbers and as you go higher in the climb the rocks get bigger and barren. This place will give you an amazing experience with rappelling and rock climbing and if you intend to do either make sure you carry your own gear.
A beautiful and enchanting Krishna temple indicates the start of your trek. This temple has immense history associated with it. In the end of your climb you can pay your visit to the Shiva and Nandi temple as well. All these temples were built in the three major ruling dynasties and have great history attached to them.
The View from the Top
Once you finish your climb and reach the top you will thank God that you did this! It’s the most picturesque view you will see and fall in love with.
The Gunjar Lake, which you can see from the top of this hill, is surrounded by greenery and farms, magnifying the beauty of the view. You will also see the enormous railways and roadways that India offers. At a distance, you can also see the Nandi Hills which again is a very prominent trekking and hiking destination in the state.
If you take the SH9 route to reach Makalidurga, it will be to your left.
The start of the trek is near a railway track. Be careful when you pass the intersection and choose a safe path to go along the trail. Once you start walking in about 500 m you will come to the starting point of the trek – The Krishna temple. This temple will be to your right. If you continue walking straight, you will reach the prominent hump of the Makalidurga hill that marks the official beginning of the trek.
In his blog, trekker Sagar Sakre wrote, "The route is simple - after crossing the temple walk straight for 300 meters, there is a small pile of rock on the right, on which you find arrow mark indicating to take right turn. If you find this starting point then rest of the trail is simple as there are arrow marks till the peak."
Most people like to spend some time here, watching the monkeys jumping and playing around, or basking in the beauty of the huge granite rocks that surround the area. These rocks are naturally formed, unlike the well-maintained rocks we see commercially. You can see these rocks all through the trek.
The path after this hump is filled with small rocks, shrubs and bushes on your ascend. You can choose a path that suits you the most and navigate yourself for a comfortable climb.
Be as adventurous as you want to because this trail has no markings. No matter what path you choose, you will be lead to the top of the hill.
The path that you choose decides the difficulty and thrill of the climb. Once you start moving forward in this climb you will come across a huge boulder. Such boulders will now be a very common sight once you start moving up and ahead, where the climb gets slightly more risky and steep.
During the monsoons, there are some streams that run on the rocks leaving behind moss and algae that make them slippery and slimy. You must be careful of not stepping on them to avoid any injury.
The entire trail is very refreshing as there are lemongrass plants all along the way which give off fresh and exotic fragrance throughout. This fragrance is enhanced on windy days. The glimpses you get of what the actual view from the top is going to be like all through the trek, builds up the anticipation and excitement.
After more than half of your trek, you’ll notice that the greenery gradually decreases and more rocks and barren land can be seen. This is why Makalidurga is also a very famous place for rock climbing and rappelling.
Once you reach the top the first thing that you will notice is the amazing view! It’s a very calm place to be at. You can see the Gunjar Lake that is bordered with beautiful farms and greenery. This lake looks a lot like the South American continent – like how it looks on the world map. You will also see the famous Nandi Hills to the right of the lake and the walls of the fort cannot be missed either.
Once you are on the top take your time to explore the different scenic beauty from every angle and visit the Shiva temple that is not far from this point.
To start the climb down, there is a door in the right of the temple from where you need to exit and start the climb down. This is a steep path so make sure you have some support in your hands when you walk down. Firm steps are recommended when you start to walk down. Trekkers usually finish the downward climb in around 45 to 60 minutes.
Best Time for Trekking
It is always recommended that you trek here in the months after monsoon. Anytime between September to February is a good time to plan a trek at Makalidurga hills. As this place is filled with granite rocks it gets extremely hot in the summers and trekking here is not possible. The same is the case in the monsoons. As this place is filled with rocks and the climb is steep it becomes very risky and slippery to do any adventurous activity here.
Nearby Attractions: Now That You’re Here
Once you reach the top of the Makalidurga, you can also go ahead and climb the fort that is a short distance away. Here you can also visit the Nandi and Shiva temple. Once you reach the top of the fort you can see the railway connections made across the fields.
If you are done with the trek early, you can also visit the Shri Ghati Subramanya Temple. This temple is at 6-8 kms from Makalidurga hill. It is of great significance to those who are seeking a child. This temple is a must visit because of the rare occurrence of Lord Subramanya and Lord Lakshmi Narasimha under one roof.
Things to Carry: A Checklist
It is important to remember to carry only the things you need, as a heavy backpack can hinder your trek and cause sore muscles.
- Clothes: Comfortable pair of clothing is a must in this trek. Track pants, windcheaters, raincoats and jackets are recommended here
- Good grip trekking shoes with socks. One extra pair of socks can also be carried.
- Caps or hats
- Insect repellents
- Bottled water
- Sturdy backpack
- Torch with extra batteries
- Personal Medication kit: Band-Aid, crocin, Dettol, Cotton, Crape Bandage are some things that you should carry. Other medication that you generally take should be carried too.
Makalidurga Night Trek
As this trail has no mark up there isn’t a defined route of this trek. But a few people have done the Makalidurga Night Trek and have loved their experience. You need to be a dare devil to attempt this trek at night. As this place is surrounded by trees and rocks it becomes extremely quiet in the night. It takes slightly more time, around 120 minutes to finish the night trek. It is recommended that you have a guide with when you trek in the night and everyone trekking with you must carry a torch so that there is enough light. You should carry sufficient drinking water and food as there are no shops on the way.
Fitness Required For The Trek
The Makalidurga trek is a basic one, so you won’t need any prior experience or preparation. That being said, any trek needs stamina, no matter how easy it is.
So, in preparation for this trek, get into the habit of jogging as it will help build up stamina and improve cardiovascular endurance. You can also try swimming or cycling. Whichever cardio you choose, make sure to stick to it and practice it for a long time.
Right before the trek, make sure to stretch out your muscles, like your hamstrings, lower back, etc. This trek requires you to carry a backpack over unmarked trials. So it is a given that you will have to maneuver around rocks and thorny bushes, not to mention that a backpack, no matter how light, can cause a strain to your muscles, which is why stretching is so important.
Makalidurga is a fairly easy trek, but it is still important to practice caution in order to avoid unnecessary injuries. Here's what you need to keep in mind:
- Wear comfortable clothing: It is better to wear loose clothing for faster and comfortable movement while you trek
- No valuables: It is recommended not to carry any valuables on the trek.
- No smoking or drinking: Consumption of alcohol and smoking is prohibited on the trek. Any other intoxicants are also not allowed on the trek
- Say 'No' to plastic: You cannot use plastic bags on the trek. Even if you eat a packet of chips it is a must that you keep the empty packet in your bag and not litter
- No plucking: This trek comes under the eco-friendly zone and you are not allowed to pluck any flowers or leaves on the way to your trek.
- Carry insect repellents: This area has a lot of insects as it is filled with a lot of greenery. Make sure you are covered, wear good shoes and socks, and apply (and carry, if you feel necessary) insect repellent creams to avoid any bites on your way to this adventure.
This is one of the most amazing and noted treks amongst hikers and can be completed in short duration as well. This trek is very good for those who need adventure in life and don’t have much time in hand. The connectivity to reach this trek is very good as well. It’s time you make the plan with your adventure lover friends soon as the monsoons are almost over and the best time to visit Makalidurga is approaching.