Ticket to Ramanagara

Though during my Chennapattana and Mysore visit I had seen Ramanagar on the way, I could never make up my mind to visit. All I could see was just the huge boulders. Recently when I was trying to look for places around, few articles showed that the Legend….. (wait for it) … dary, the legendary movie Sholay was shot in Ramanagara. The Ramgadh of the Sholay was today’s Ramanagara. I also came to know that the place where most of the movie was captured was called Ramadevara betta now a Vulture Sanctuary. It is the only vulture sanctuary in India. So the place was decided, but I had a little more time in hand. I planned to take a look at the SRS hill which can then connect me to Kanakapura road.

The day had arrived and I left at 6 in the morning. I had kept my backpack light since there was a lot of hill-climbing to be done. Was not fully awake since the caffeine had not entered the blood-stream yet. What more can be a good start for the day than the Bisi Bidadi Thatte Idli? The place Bidadi is quite famous for its unique melt-in-mouth Thatte Idli. These are slightly bigger in size and traditionally cooked in plates(Thatte). I got a recommendation for Shree Renukamba Bidadi Thatte Idli, but the location on the map was quite confusing. I Just stopped at Shashi Thatte Idli and ordered a Double Idli Vada. The sight of melting butter on hot steaming Idli was a treat to the eyes and the taste was heavenly. Half a cup of coffee gave me the energy to continue my journey.

Ramadevara Betta

I was at the entry gate at around 7:45 AM and disappointed to see that the gates were still closed. I had seen in one of the blogs that the gates will open only by 9, but I wanted to check instead of directly believing. Now I had no option but to wait. While waiting, I met Minnu who was a content creator for blogs. We had some interesting conversations about blogs, bloggers, content, SEO and then Bitcoins. Upon speaking to the guard there, he gave me some interesting information. First, many scenes from Sholay movie such as the scene were Gabbar cuts the hands of Thakur, the famous water tank scene by Dharmendra were all shot in the vicinity. But all those places are now covered with dense forest. The second was about the vultures. It was sad to know that they were there the previous day and had gone early in the morning in search of food. Now I had all my hopes on the views from the hilltop.

I was the first one to enter through the gates after paying a nominal entry fee of ₹25. Upon reaching the foothill, a temple priest there told me that there are 400 steps to reach the top where there is a temple. 400 was not the number I wanted to count, so I just started to climb up. There are many viewpoints on the way which gives a nice view around. It took me about 20 minutes to reach the top where there were two small temples and a Lake. This couldn’t be it. There should be something more, isn’t it? I could still see the hill in front of me, just that the steps weren’t clearly visible. By this time, the other visitors had arrived and all of them were vanishing around a corner. I followed them and found some more steps which climb further up.

While everyone there was busy clicking pictures, I went up ahead to explore. The view from there was much clearer and panoramic. Just when I was about to climb down, I noticed a small trail that finally led to the last climb. The sight was actually scary because it was about 30 steps carved on a rock at almost 80-degree elevation. Though there were supports, I was not ready to climb up all alone. Minnu and his friends were almost near the place by then, and all were excited to make the climb. I left behind a few of the heavy items and followed them. As soon as I reached the top, all that I could say was ‘WOW’. I could see many small hills and lush green forests all around. I would have regretted had I missed this last stretch. After relishing the views, I bid adieu to Minnu and friends and left from there at 11 AM.  All I could hear while climbing down was “How much more to reach the top?”. I did my part by encouraging them to take frequent breaks but not to miss the sight from the top.

SRS Hill

My next destination SRS hill was about 13KM from Ramadevara Betta. SRS or Shree Revana Siddeshwara Hill is a well-known pilgrimage site. It also offers a  great hill climbing experience. As I was approaching closer to the hill, I could see a blue line that was encircling a huge boulder. It was nothing but the walkway made for people to visit the temple on the hilltop. When I reached the foothill, the sight was jaw-dropping. I could see people as young as 8 and as elderly as 60 climbing the hill at the same pace. Not sure if it was from the background they come with or the miracle at the pace, I didn’t see a single tired face there.

The climb was challenging. Here, almost 2/3rd of the steps were carved on the hill and had an average inclination of 60 to 70-degree throughout. The good part was that there were railings throughout for the support and the entire walkway was covered with sheets for shade. There were almost the same amount of steps and I took about 25 minutes to reach the top. The place was a bit crowded since it was a weekend. A bird’s eye view of other small hills and the lakes around from the top almost looked like a dream. I still wonder how people managed to climb before all these supports were installed.

There was two tiny temple-like structure on top. All I could say was “Is that it? there must be something more. Where are all the people whole climbed”. That is when a fellow traveler showed me another path that was descending from the hill in another direction and asked me to visit the temple there.  I was surprised to see a small pond on the top and also a hidden sanctum sanctorum. The temple was packed inside and I took about half an hour to bow down to the diety and come out. The descend back to the foothill was much easier and quicker. Maybe my recent workouts had given me good stamina. I hadn’t experienced any discomfort though I completed visiting both the hills in a single day.

The route back from  SRS hill towards Bengaluru was serene. Most of the road passed through paddy fields and farms of mulberry. Ramanagar is known for its sericulture and also called the Silk Town of Karnataka. I could spot many silk-cocoon frames kept in almost every house on the way. I must say, hills in Ramanagara offers a good challenge for those who want to test their stamina while rewarding them with stunning views when they conquer.

By Hithesh Bhat

Traveller | Foodie | Geek | Lone explorer | Tech coach | Technophile | Maker | Wall-E in search of EVE

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