Monday 22 April 2013

The Grand Canyon of Bangalore

A few days ago, one of my colleague’s children were watching television when they came across a narration of the Grand Canyon of the Unite States.
The children listened spellbound to the narration and sat glued to the idiot box till the programme on one of the seven natural wonders of the world concluded. A little later, the children sighed and said how they wished that India too had such a destination to visit.
They then turned to me and asked me if there is any other place which is comparable to the Grand Canyon, size and shape excluded. All we want is such a canyon for us to explore and enjoy, they said.
I then told them that Bangalore too had its own canyon but it has been forgotten in the mad rush of urbanization that has overtaken this part of Karnataka.
I pointed out that the road from Bangalore to Chikaballapur has some exquisite canyons, which though cannot be in any way compared to the Grand Canyon, are also marvels of Nature.
If the Grand Canyon of the United States is located thousands of miles away in the state of Arizona, “Namma Canyon” is barely a hour away from Bangalore.
While pages of print and multitude of reels have been shot to film the Grand Canyon of the United States, I can barely recall a few articles and none worth mentioning on the Internet about our own Canyon. So much for our pride in preserving India’s rich history and culture.
The canyon or rather the stretch of ravines that exists in Chikballapur district is barely 50 kilometres from Bangalore. Yet, it is practically unheard of and very few visitors come here.
These ravines are located on the outskirts of Jangamakote, a small  town just off Hoskote which is on the outskirts of Bangalore.
You could not be more wrong if you think that the name Jangamkote means a fort. There is no fort here and nearby. The name, Jangamakote, is of a town that was built centuries ago by a ruler of Sugatur family, Thimme Gowda.
The Gowda wanted to build an exclusive place for the Jangamas, a sect of Veerashaivas, and he choose this spot. Hence, the name.
Jangamakote has several deep ravines, gorges, narrow gullies, hollows and pits with the course of a dried-up stream running through it.
What gives the landscape the impression of a gorge is the  sometimes sharp and huge drops on either side of the  depression. No wonder, locals call it the mini Grand Canyon.
True, the size and extent of this ravine are no patch to the Grand Canyon. But, this is a natural rock and soil formation which is worth a visit and moreover, it is so close to Bangalore that it boggles imagination on why it has never been put on the tourist map.  
The ravines here can be compared to the Chambal valley of Madhya Pradesh-Rajasthan but the Chambal is a huge forest which once sheltered dacoits such as Man Singh and Phoolan Devi. There are no such dacoits here nor is there any thick forests. There is also no river but only a seasonal stream which runs at the bottom of the ravines during the rainy season.  
The ravines can be climbed down during summer but in rainy season it is dangerous as the soil is loose and clay like. The ravines here are geological formations called Badlands and they were caused due to a combination of natural factors like erosion by water, wind and weathering of rocks over several centuries.
A badlands, also badland is a type of dry  terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. These geological formations resemble malpais, a terrain of volcanic rock. Canyons, ravines, gullies, hoodoos and other such forms are part of badlands. They are often difficult to navigate by foot. Badlands often have a spectacular color display that alternates from dark black/blue coal stria to bright clays to red scoria.
The soil of the ravines in Jangamkote too appear red and yellow and they give a surreal golden tinge to the surrounding landscape. As there is no Government agency involved in protecting this natural wonder, the ravines are overgrown with thorns, shrubs and weeds.
There is also no marked trail and visitors have to fend for themselves.  
Jangamkote is near Hoskote which is 28 kms from Bangalore. Take the road to  Hoskote on Old Madras road and continue on the Vijayapura-Sidlaghatta road for a further 21 kms to reach Jangamkote.


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  2. This is really an awesome piece of information. Your work is really laudable. Today, I accidentally bumped into your blog. Hope to see more from you.

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  3. Thank You, Mr. Vinayak. We hope to give more information about little known facetsin and around Bangalore.