Friday 8 February 2013

The hill with a view

Trekking and Weekend Getaways

If Nandi Hills is 57 kilometers from Bangalore, this Hill is a little father. It is 90 kms from the Silicon City. If Nandi Hills has temples and a climb to the top offers a breathtaking view of the surroundings, this hill too has temples and such a view.
The only difference that I could make out between them was the Nandi Hills is to  well known while this hill remains relatively unknown.
Incidentally both the Hills are in Chikaballapur district and you have to pass by the majestic Nandi Hills on way to this hill called Avala Betta.
Avala Betta is the Nandi Hills without its crowds, backpackers and litter. There is no pollution or long line of vehicles. The climb itself to the top of the hill offers us an enchanting view of the country side, the rolling hillocks, the large swathes of green sand the hazy outline of distant landscape.
I remember that the hill was a very difficult proposition to climb a few years ago, It had no road to the top and the motorable road, or rather a mud road with potholes big enough to sink your two-wheelers led to the base of the hill.
However, there is a motorable road today which will lead you to the to the summit of the hill. The road snakes round the hill and the drive is a pleasure. The top of the hill becomes so narrow that it is actually only a huge single boulder. 
Take care while climbing the boulder. If there are children, avoid climbing with them. However, if you are a brave heart and make the climb, you will be met with as stunning a view as you have seen elsewhere.
The hill side is a green treat. As far as your eye can see, you can view the beautiful countryside with hills, valleys, lakes, trees and winding roads. This is a photographer’s delight.
The Forest Department has built a paragola for tourists to sit back and enjoy. The guest house here too belongs to the Forest Department. For reservations and other issues, please contact the Forest Department at Chikaballapur.
Well, coming to the temples, Avala Betta is home to a small but beautiful temple of Lakshmi Narasimha and a cave temple dedicated to a seer called Avala Kondaraya. There is a small shrine dedicated to Hanuman.
The stream and the pond is vested with a lot of religious significance. During Shravana, a special jatre is organised  every Saturday during which devotees from nearby villages and Chickaballapur come to fulfill their vows. The pond is called as Annammadonaha. There is a belief that if married women who are childless bathe here, they will get children.
Many women come here for bathing at the pond and then praying to Lakshmnarasimha. Nowadays, daily prayers are offered at the temple.
There are a series of steps behind the cave that lead to the peak. The climb offers a good view of the bush forest and small animals that scamper about. Of course, the view around the Hill is breathtaking.
Villagers say the name Avala Betta is in honour of the seer who lived here and meditated for several years before attaining samadhi.
Avalabetta has another religious significance. There are hoof marks of a cow on rock here. These hoof marks were believed to have been made during  Samudra Manthana (churning of the Great Ocean) by gods and demons.
According to a local legend, the holy cow-Kamadhenu-came to this place first. When it landed, its hoof marks came to be etched on a rock.
After the first cow came to the Betta, other cows followed suit. Villagers, who saw this spectacle, called the place Denu Giri or Hill of Cows. Since that day, the villagers began offering milk of the cow to the god first and only later either sold it or used it.
This tradition of offering milk to the Gods first continues to this day.
Chickaballapur is just around the corner. A beautiful road flanked by trees and shrubs leads to the district headquarters. Bring your lunch packet or go don to Chikaballapur for a bite.
Avala Betta is generally deserted most of the tine. During weekends and holidays, there is some crowd but this is not even a small percentage of the people visiting Nandi Hills.
Avala Betta is also known as Avalakonda which is a Telugu word.
Take the Bangalore-Hyderabad (Yelahanka) road and continue upto Peresandra. (The chakkuli of Peresandra is very famous. Taste it and then write back). Here, turn left where the sign board says Mandikal. Avala Betta is about 12 kms from here.
There are regular bus services to Avala Betta from Chikaballapur and Mandikal. You can also hire private transport at Mandikal. 
Distance: 90km.Travel to Peresandra (via Chikballapur bypass).At Peresandra turn left to Mandikal.Avalabetta is about 11km from this point.


  1. Any waterfall locations near this place within 100 kms and any resorts for one night stay ? Please advise

    1. Yes, just on the Bangalore-Devenahalli-Chikbalapura-road, there is a seasonal waterfall. It is called Jaramadagu. It is about 20 kms from Nandi Hills. It is near Ketenahalli village off Nandi Hills. There is no water now but the falls are magnificent during monsoons and it is popularly known as Vivekananda Falls It is 12 kms from Chikaballapur. Anotherplace nearby is Chikajala and Sreenivasa sagara. The sagara is about 8 kms from Chikaballapur and it is off Gauribidanur-Chikaballapur road. This too is seasonal.