Whenever we google about the places to visit near Bangalore, Skandagiri hills is one of the places that pops up for the beauty she is. Skandagiri hills is the cousin of Nandi hills which is approximately 62 kms away from Bangalore city and is close to Chikkaballapur district. Skandagiri Trek has been one of the most controversial trekking place of Bangalore.
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History: Skandagiri hills stands tall at an altitude of about 1450 meters. It is also known as Kalavara Durga. It has an ancient fort which belonged to a local king and was later conquered by Tippu Sultan. After Tippu’s downfall, the fort was ignored and laid in ruins. Only few walls of fort can still be seen at present.
Controversy: Trekking in Skandagiri hills both in day and night was banned for several years. There are many young people specially techies from Bangalore who went to Skandagiri all the way from Bangalore and then returned back as the guard had not allowed them to trek and were informed that the trek is banned. Also several people were informed that the reason is because of the anti-social incidents, techie falling off accidentally, people smoking (which can lead to forest fire), littering, getting drunk and die. Also there were people who trekked illegally when it was banned, with the guidance of localites who guided them for money.
As Skandagiri comes under the reserved forest area, trespassing have led to imprisonment for three months.
Solution: Who should be blamed for the above? We have to blame our own behavior as a society. We are all educated and if we were little responsible enough to take care of ourselves and our nature, this wouldn’t have happened. In one moment everything can change. We have to learn to value our life. Also we have very less places nearby where we see green and let us not spoil it by littering.
Good news: Yes! There is a good news for the trekkers. Skandagiri trekking is open again but the catch is that the auhorities have put a cap on the number of people per day basis. The trek starts from the foothills where there is a temple and most of the trekkers put a tent there and stay entire night and start to trek around 3.00 AM. Permission from the forest department has to be taken at the entrance of trek point. The entrance fees per head is Rs.250 as of now in Aug 2018. Most of them choose to go for night trekking for the thrill of it. The difficulty of the trek is moderate and this trek through a maze of dense shrub is highly interesting. The trail is pretty simple. However, local guide is recommended. Ancient stone pillars, fort walls in the midst of the clouds passing, those fresh plants, cool breeze, that breath-taking sunrise everything seems worth trekking 10 kms.
What to pack for the trek: Now that you have your online permissions it is important to take the trek essential things. Clothes, shoes, toiletries, first aid kit, water bottle, rain protector, power bank, dry food, wallet, jacket, torch(if you trekking overnight at 4:00 AM) & permission in handy are the most important things to carry.
Everything comes with ‘terms and conditions’ and same thing is applied here. We are lucky that trekking in Skandagiri is opened again. Let us not ruin it this time. Let us be careful about our actions, safety and enjoy that serene beauty. Happy trekking!