My bag zipped up , shoelaces tied, grabbed water bottles and my warm jacket on. We are ready to go As we move to pierce the deathly wind in our minibus a thought strikes my mind. “The best of the journeys are the ones that are least planned”. We are heading towards Makalidurga which is generally misspelled as “Makalidurga” by most of us LOL!!!!. It is a very beautiful hill in the outskirts of Bangalore. Around 60 km from Bangalore, it assures you perfect weekend destination. It is surrounded by a lake in the west that makes it look like a beautiful valley. A railway track passes through the base of the hill that gives it a more thrilling look, It reminded me of a scene from the movie Sholay where the “daakus” from the mountains chased the train.
We started around 1 am in the night. From the railway track, it is about 3 km journey towards the top of the Makalidurga hill. it surpasses other beautiful hills and clear beautiful sky. Unluckily no moon that it makes it more difficult to trek. By taking one sharp right turn we reach the main temple at the base which has a beautiful pool adjacent to it Once the temple premises are crossed an open passage with the sky spreading its arms over the horizon comes into sight with visible traces of Makalidurga fort on top of the hill to the right. Keep walking towards the endless horizon till you jump over a small stream of water which is prevalent during monsoons. The will be two huge rocks on the right side of the trail and which will lead to the top of Makalidurga Fort. The trail has an abundance of overgrown grass and plantations which makes it very important to trek carefully. There will be a small but exponential rise in the inclination on the hill. The twists and turns along the trail are guided through by white and red arrow marks throughout.
Towards the west of the hill, a lake which is similar in shape to the map of the south American continent can be seen after reaching midway. A huge monolith structure on the right side is where most people lose the trail. Watch out for the double arrows on the huge piece of rock from where a left turn will guide the way towards the fort. The dense grassland on the sides of the trail can grow huge and can hide the whole trail. The fort premises is surrounded by the walls and gates which depict the history behind it. The fort premises were used by the Vijayanagara Empire to train their Army and later was captured by Shahji, the father of Shivaji of Maratha which was again captured and ruled later by Kempegowda. The area on top of the hill can be divided in three: The centre West Side and East Side. The centre of the Makalidurga Hill Top has a Shiva Temple where “puja” is done occasionally by the local villagers. There is a broken Basava Idol, a broken Shiva Linga and a broken Garuda Gamba in front of the temple On the Western side of the hill top lies spectacular view of the lake which can be captured in the eyes of the ones who challenged the inner strength to reach the top. The lake and horizon of the endless sky can be seen from the left corner just behind the temple. To reach the Eastern Side of the hill there is a small trail in between the huge plantation from the temple. This is the place from where the unveiled Sun can be seen in the morning. This Sunrise from Makalidurga is the most beautiful part of this trek..