Thursday 21 February 2013

The hill with three shrines

Trekking and Weekend Getaways

This is one of the few hills that is as isolated as they come. Though it is near Bangalore it is deserted most of the times. This is good place for trekking and spending a quite weekend with family and friends.
Since it is near another hill which is more famous, trekkers and visitors give this hill a go by. This is the hill of Hemagiri near Huliyurdurga in Kunigal taluk of Tumkur district.
The Hemagiri hill comes after Huliyurdurga and it is one the  Kunigal- Kollegal- Maddur road. This perhaps is the only hill which has three important shrines.   
This hill, which rises to a height of more than 2000 feet, is much less known that Huliyurdurga but it is perhaps more isolated and sparsely populated. The climb too is equally steep.
This towering hill can easily be accessed from the north-west through a stone arch, beyond a stretch of cultivated land. Visitors can ascend the hill easily as the paths are marked by electric poles. There are numerous water bodies along the hill top.
This is the Hemagiri betta or hill and it is a place of pilgrimage for locals. It has temples of Mallikarjuna and Varadaraja Swamy. If you are lucky, you can see  bears near the Bhairava Cave temple.
The hill is 3800 feet in height and is one of the many hills dotting Kunigal taluk.
The Varadaraja temple is very famous and it attracts a large number of people from nearby villages and Kunigal and Tumkur. It is popularly called Hemagiri Varadarajaswamy Temple. The idol of Varadarajaswamy is worshiped in the form of a Saligrama.
Varadaraja Swamy is also called Hemagiriappa. The idol is a round stone on the floor, signifying its origin as an Udbhava murti. A large footprint of the deity is seen outside the temple. A wooden chariot is another unique feature of the temple.
A grand fair is held during Shankranti, which attracts a large number of devotees.
The climb from the Varadaraja Swamy temple to the top is not all that steep. When you reach the top, you will find two mantapas and a small pool with clean water. The temple at the top is dedicated to  Mallikarjuna. There is a small Nandi and pond in the front. Pooje is done only on Mondays and on Shivaratri in February. The temple generally remains closed on other days.
The view from the top of Hemagiri hill is enchanting and you can make out Huliyurdurga in the distance.
The best route from Bangalore is to go upto Nelamangala and head towards Kunigal. When you reach Kunigal, look out for the road pointing to Huliyurdurga and take the road. The moment you reach Huliyurdurga, you can spot the Hemagiri Betta which looks bigger  and taller than Huliyurdurga.
The Hemagiri Betta is 2 kms from Huliyurdurga. It can be accessed from Bangalore through Magadi (50 km) and Huliyurdurga (30 km).
When you approach this hill from Huliyurdurga side, you come across a temple dedicated to Baireshwara. The idol here is in a cave and it is believed to be a Udhbava murti. Look out for bears here.
The pooje for the deity is performed only on Sundays.
Near Hemagiri is another hill called Kumbhi. This has the ruins of a fort built by Kempe Gowda. This hill too is a good place to spend your weekend.  Hemagiri is about 80 kms from Bangalore.  
Six kilometres from Hemagiri is the village Ujjini which is well-known for the temple of Chowdeshwari.
The temple jatra, held after Ugadi, is famous and it goes on for five days. The jatra includes the ritual of walking on fire (agnikonda) with the utsava murti of Nidsale Chowdeshwari and Ujjini Chowdeshwari and the karga. This ritual is a sight to see and is once in an year ritual. Chennapatna is 21 kms from here.


  1. HI,

    Your post is very good and has much information. what is lacing is the photos. if you can post few photos. this will be great.


    1. Yes, Tarun you are right. Our blog has almost no photos and we are aware that a single photo can tell us an entire story. We agree with your suggestion and we will be rectifying that by commissioning photographers. Thank you again for your appreciation.

  2. Hello,
    I am Usha, writing an article on Kumbhi betta. Can you give me any information about the place like trekking time, how easy it is trek, the structures and temples found there etc? Do let me know.
    Thanking you,


    1. Yes, you are right. Huiyurdamma is of course the main deity.