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Soaring at 4430ft high, Makalidurga hill is 60 km from Bangalore and 15 km from Doddaballapur that makes an ideal weekend trek for the adventurous souls. This majestic hill is encompassed by Gunjar Lake on the western side that resembles the shape of the South American continent. On the hilltop, there is Makalidurga Fort that allows witnessing the beautiful sunrise and sunset. The view from the top is scenic and there are many hills that surround this hill including the Nandi hill. The best way to do the trek is to begin from Makalidurga railway station. Please note that you need to pay entry fees of 262.50 (250+ 5% GST) for climbing the hill. The only payment option is to pay through online on myecotrip.com. There is no option to pay in cash.
When you arrive at Makalidurga, you will find the place is serene. Few people or none will be there at the top and that will be quite thrilling or it might be a frightening experience for some trekkers. You will not find any shops or food sellers on the top, so please carry water and food with you. However, to buy snacks items you will get at the base of the hill or near the railway station. The major attraction of the Makalidurga trek is the Makalidurga Fort that is located at the top of the hill. This hill also has an exemplary hump that is easy to spot from a far off distance.
A Krishna temple is there at the base from where your climb will begin. While trekking you will find that there is no fixed path to reach the hill as any path you choose will take you to the fort. However, there are some arrows found on rocks to help you reach the top. Throughout the trail, you will find thorny bushes and small rocks. When the weather is breezy, you get to smell the scent of lemongrass that will surely energize your spirit. On the trek, you will find large rocks that make this trek a good spot for rappelling and rock climbing. But, you need to carry your own gear to indulge in adventure activities. You will end the trek by visiting the Nandi and Shiva temple.
The name of the hill came from ruler Makaliraya who used the hill as a granary during the 18th century. This hill was a part of three dynasties - the Gowda Empire, Maratha Empire, and the Vijayanagara Empire. Firstly the hill was captured by Vijayanagara Empire where military soldiers took part in the training. Then Emperor Shivaji’s father, Shahaji, a Maratha ruler captured the hill and finally came under the Gowda rule captured by Kempegowda (founder of the Bangalore city). Currently, the Makalidurga Fort remains in ruins.
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Day 01: Makalidurga railway station – Makalidurga Fort
Reach the station by boarding a train from Bangalore or Yeshwantpur or you can take a private vehicle to the base of the hill. You will start the climb after crossing a Krishna temple. It will take 2 to 3 hours to reach the top and a maximum of 1 hour to arrive at the base.
You will begin your trek when you reach the Makalidurga railway station. Walk for 3 kms to reach the base of the hill. If you are following on the rail track, look for the signboard 54/400 and before the signboard, there is a railway crossing where you need to turn left and walk towards the Krishna temple. From here you will come across a hump of the hill that is made of big granite rocks. You can spot monkeys playing here. The climb begins from this point and you will be crossing through thorny bushes and small rocks. So, it is advisable not to wear shorts as the thorns can create problems for your thighs and knees.
From the base of the hump, move towards the right and continue. Please note that that there are no marked trails as any path you choose will take you to the top. This is quite an adventurous experience! As you move up you can find lots of large granite boulders and continue climbing over the left side portion of the boulder. You must wear shoes that have a good grip as there are some tricky sections ahead and the ascent will become a little bit steep. You can witness a few streams that are running down the rocks that are covered in moss. Please do not step on these areas as they are very slippery.
You are bound to get refreshed with the smell from the lemongrass that is found on the whole route. While moving ahead, there are viewpoints that are peeping through the trees. After climbing for more than half an hour, you will not find any tree cover and in front of you, the rocks become larger. These huge granite rocks make Makalidurga hill a good spot for indulging in rock climbing and rappelling.
After a short climb, you will arrive at the fort. The hilltop region is divided into three parts – central, eastern and western parts. The central region of the hilltop has a cemented room where you will find Nandi and Shiva temple. The local people perform Pooja occasionally at the Shiva temple. A broken Shiva Linga, Basava idol, and Garuda Gamba are found in front of the temple establishment. When you move to the west side, you will be stunned by the picturesque view of the Gunjar Lake which is like the shape of South America encircled with grasslands and farms. A small route follows between large plantations from the temple to reach the east side of the hill. You can find the Nandi hills from the right side of the temple. Take some rest here and you can see the crumbled outer walls of the fort.
When you look down you will notice the railway lines that cut through the grasslands. Please take photos of this amazing landscape from various angles and share it on social media so that more and more people get to know about this beautiful place. There is a small door on the right side of the temple where you need to move out and begin your descend. Put your foot with caution while descending and you will be at the base in about an hour. If you have time and interested to explore more then start descending from another end of the hill. This will also connect the railhead and the base of other hills.
The weather remains pleasant from September to March. On average, during the day the temperature ranges from 20 to 270C and night time it is 5 to 200C. Please do not trek during summers as it will be quite hot. It is also better to skip the monsoon as the granite rocks will become very dangerous and slippery.
There is an ATM till Dodaballapur which is15 km away from Makalidurga railway station. The station does not have an ATM.
Moreover, you need not worry about the network as all carriers have a steady network and you can also chat with your loved ones while sitting at the hillock.
Food Veg food, they will provide you with lunch and snacks.
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August to February is the best time for the trek. It can get tropical during the summer and rainy seasons are recommended to be avoided.
For trekking, carry some comfortable clothing, avoid tight jeans. Carrying any kind of expensive jewellery is not recommended.
Other essentials will be based on personal need, a bag pack with broad straps, sunscreen/cap/goggles, Torch, raincoat, trekking shoes, personal medication.
One can carry additional snacks and food items as per their needs.
Makalidurga Trek has an altitude of 4,430 feet, it is an easy to moderate level trek. The total distance of the trek is 6km to and fro.
No prior experience of trekking or hill walking is required. As it’s an easy to moderate level trek, basic health and fitness are enough.
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