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Trek to Rangaswamy betta
Aug 08, 2003 12:46 PM 15744 Views
(Updated Aug 08, 2003 03:27 PM)


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I was stranded almost for a month because I couldn’t identify a good trekking spot near enough to Bangalore to be reached by bike. I had chosen the Pearl Valley last week but that had been rejected, as it was put as a puerile picnic spot, not worthy of a person seeking trek pleasures. Then I was lucky enough to come upon Rangaswamy betta, also called Billiga Rangaswamy betta, in a blog, which suggested it was a very good place for a trek.

“Betta” in kannada means a hill and this place promised 3 hills of varying sizes and terrains. So August 2nd.2003, a lovely Saturday morning 7 a.m., I was up and off on my bike along with my friend and colleague Jnanesh, and his friend Anirudh. Luckily for us Anirudh knew Kannada well and this proved to be of great help over the course of the journey. Rangaswamy betta lies in the Kanakpura taluk. It’s about 70 kms from Bangalore. The Bangalore Kanakpura highway is a treat to ride on, with the road not only being smooth and mildly trafficked but also fringed with beautiful farms and hillocks. The rains having struck Karnataka we were also treated to shades of verdant greenery. The Victor and the Yamaha glided along and by 9 we were at Harohalli(having made a few stops en route).

The stop at Harohalli was quite amusing, in as much Jnanesh who was riding the Yamaha managed to skid on a patch of sand just as we were planning to halt. Thankfully neither he nor Anirudh were hurt although the bike had a broken leg guard. Fatefully the place of the accident was right in the market place and we were bang in front of a welding and auto shop. While the bike got mended we started enquiring about the route ahead. It seemed there were 2 routes. The first one from Kanakpura led directly upto the betta along a bike track. For the other one we had to take a turn to the left from the Harohalli market, we would be upon a small road and then reach a small village called Devehalli which is right at the foot of the betta.

From here one has to trek to the top through fields and jungle along a rocky track.

We obviously chose the latter. What we hadn’t counted on however was a puncture in the Yamaha 5 kms from Harohalli. I went back to market got a mechanic, who took the tyre back. It took four trips, two by me, two by Anirudh on the Victor before we were once more all set to roar off towards our target. Thankfully the place where we stopped was beautiful and we sat on a broken bough by the side of the road, watching the green fields, the blue sky and the village roosters pick up a fight amongst themselves.

We reached the small village at the foothill by 11:30 a.m. after having negotiated 3 kms on the worst road I’ve yet come upon, through the village and fields. We parked out bike in the courtyard of the last house in the village. Behind us was a small hillock, with rocks and boulders strewn all over. Anirudh managed to get directions from the farmers but as luck would have it, we still lost the trail amongst the fields. A local lady sighting that we were on the wrong track shouted till we paid heed and set ourselves right. The track from the base to the top was quite well defined, not only by rocks providing adequate foothold, but also by the trishul signs, indicating the temple at the top. The sun played the villain and we were soon sapped of all our energy. The steep gradient also necessitated frequent stops. At one place we got into a conversation with a cowherd. The height was supposed to be 1800 feet but I seriously thought we must have gone up at least 2500. Jnanesh was excited to get the signal on his cell phone halfway to the top. We spent some time calling up friends, delighting in the fact that we were on an adventure trail while they went about mundane tasks in the city.

The whole route was sprinkled with a mixture of thorny bushes, green shrubs and trees. At places we encountered sheer rock faces that had to be crawled and climbed upon. After about 2 hrs and summoning the last remaining strength I had, I breached the top. It was a plateau at the top. A splendid view upon the countryside and the nearby villages was offered from the top. My first search was for water, there were a number of water tanks at the top. It was almost like a village on the top of the hill, with a cool blue sky, shady trees, goats, buffaloes, two small huts and a temple at the base of a mammoth boulder. While Anirudh filled cold water, we found ourselves a cool and cosy place underneath a tree and on the top of a boulder. There was a depression at the top, which if it had not been filled with rainwater would have made a perfect resting bed. We settled our fatigued bodies on the carresingly pleasant boulder surface and went off to sleep for an hour. After waking up I was ravenously hungry. Unfortunately we had brought nothing to eat. I scoured the plateau, having a look at the temple and other boulder tops which ended in steep cliffs and sheer falls. Seeing the clouds getting dark we thought it prudent to get going. Unfortunately halfway down we were caught in rain and that led to a few slips and falls on the moist rocks. I

n one hour we were down. Hungry and tired we reached our bikes. Thankfully we were able to get back to Bangalore without any incidents, the rain having stopped and the roads still dry enough for risk free bike riding. As usual the feeling of elation on another successful outing made the body aches taste like sweet nectar.

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Rangaswamy Betta