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Shiva Ganga Hills: A Trek to remember

About Shiva Ganga Hills (Shivagange Betta):
Shiva Ganga or Shivagange is hillock where trekking and religion comes together to offer you instant weekend getaway. Located just 60Kms. from Bangalore and being well connected by road makes it an ideal tourist attraction. It is said that the hills looks like a ‘Shiva Linga’ when seen from one of the sides. Also it is said that the spring water found here is from the sacred water of ‘Ganga’.

From the religious point of view there are several temples and holy locations like ‘Patalagange’, Olakala teertha, Nandi and Veerabhadreshwara temple in Shivagange. Shiva ganga hills is also known as Kashi of the South. One of the marvelous points to note here is that in shivagange if you do an Ghee abhisheka in the temple it turns into Butter.

Trekking experience:
Shiva ganga Hill - It was in my to do list from past 6 months and famous trekking place of Bangalore. Place is not far from Bangalore but problem is you can't go alone to a trek there will be no fun. I was waiting for this event from various trekking groups from Bangalore and raring to go. Chaitanya decided to organize trek to shiva ganga hills on 5th May 2013 so he mailed Event registration link across BTC members. As soon as I saw the event registration mail I registered for the event. Good thing is he planned it for Sunday that helped other enthusiastic trekkers to register for the event (who can’t make it on Saturday).

Normally, from past couple of weekends it was 6 -10 members who used to do regular trekking since we are in peak summer and it was difficult to climb hills during this hot summer weather. But shiva ganga event got 14 registrations including organizer it was not easy to manage 14 guys on bike ride in Tumkur highway so Chaitanya decided to change mode of transport from Bike to Bus though we have option of Train. His plan is to reach shiva ganga hills early and return back to Bangalore by 5:00 PM.

As per plan and preparation mail, all of us assembled at meeting point - Vayu Vajra Bus Stop - Airport bus point, Majestic (Back of BMTC Platform 1) by 6:30 AM expect Channa. We are 13 at Majestic bus stand. Harish started early so he can pickup Channa and both of them will join us in Dobaspet. Harish and Channa decided to come on bike to shiva ganga hills so they started early from Bangalore.

Boarded Tumkur bus from Majestic around 6:45 AM and reached Dobaspet around 7:45 AM. Dobaspet is 50 kms. from Bangalore so minimum 1 hour of travel is required. Harish and Channa joined us at Dobaspet. Now we are group of 14. 
Had our breakfast(Menu is Idly and Vada) at small hotel near Dobaspet flyover and parceled Rice bath for the lunch.
Started to shiva ganga hill around 8:45 AM. Left diversion from Dobaspet will lead us to shiva ganga hill which was 6 kms. from Main road. A 6 kms. of Auto rickshaw ride from dobaspet took us to base of the hill. It was 9:00 AM, when we reached shiva ganga hill. We will get Gopuram at the Entrance and another half kms. of walk took us to base of the Hill.
Pushkarani at the entrance - A view from the top
Gopuram at the entrance of shivaganga hill
Trekking starts here - Base of the hill with group
Huge Shiva statue at the base
Looking at shiva ganga hill i felt we gone have very good experience in offering for us throughout the day. All of us started ascending at 9:15 AM from the base. Hill is very huge with plenty of Gopuras and Nandi statues throughout the climb. Climb was tiresome for us even though steps are there for making climb easier one for us. Reason is we are in peak summer and weather is very Hot. We took plenty of breaks in between and explored enough on the hill this helped us to make climbing comfortable one.

Shiva ganga is a huge rocky hill. Climbing rocky hill is not easiest one if railing support is not provided. Best thing of shiva ganga is railings are there all over the hill to make climb safest one and you will find food stalls at every half kms. of climb. These stalls will help us to relax for couple of minutes and have food if required for you to fulfil your hunger. On the way to top, we will witness small temples,Shiva Parvathi and Nandi statues. 
Gopuras, Mantaps, Nandi & Shiva statues all over the hill
Olakalu teertha Temple
Group picture @ temple
Final part of the trek is toughest one. Climbing becomes steeper once you reach this part of the hill in addition to that monkeys will follow you in search of food.
I also had nice experience while climbing this part. My backpack is smaller one and i had rice bath with water bottle inside the backpack. One monkey is started to follow  me, shown its angry face to me and tried to rob my bag.Thank god! Channa was there he helped me to get out from monkey business - We can call rowdyism in Kannada. I kept my backpack in Shabbir’s Bag  for rest of the trek to make all belongings of mine is safer...:)
Took plenty of photos throughout the climb. After 2 and half hours of ascending we all reached the top around 11:45 AM.
Two temples, Giant nandi, Shantala suicide point, small food stall and breathtaking views from the top will give enough time to explore the top. We all relaxed here for 1 hour and took plenty of group photos.

Started to descend around 1:15 PM. Reached Olakalu thirtha (Temple) on the way to the base where all of us had self intro and Lunch. Finished our lunch around 2:45 PM and started to the base.
Around 3:30 - 3:45 PM reached the base and took Auto rickshaw for bus stand. Reached bus stand  and catched a private bus for Bangalore. Due to shortage of seats in Bus, everyone decided to sit on top of the bus. I have not opted to join other fellow members on top since lot of risk involved. Reached Yeshwanthpur bus stand around 5:15 PM. Had sugarcane juice and departed to our houses.

Main attractions at Shiva Ganga hills:
Note: Few information's i have collected from various Blogs.

1. Gavigangadhareshwara Temple at the Top:
A famous temple just 60km from Bangalore, the Gavigangadhareshwara, Shiva temple. Gavi (kannada word) means cave. As the temple is situated within a cave like structure it is called as Gavigangadhareshwara. The inner sanctum is believed to be connecting to another Shiva temple, Gavigangadhareshwara which is at Bangalore. The devotees who travel to shiva ganga bring along with them the ghee to offer to Lord Shiva. Shiva is in the form of lingam at Gangadhareshwara temple. The priest applies the ghee and rubs it all over the Shiva lingam. Amazingly, one can see the ghee turning back to butter.

2. Olakala Teertha: ‘Olakala Teertha’ has its own significance, there is a small hole inside here. When someone puts their hand inside and if that person finds water then he/she has done good deeds, is a good person and vice versa. Knowing this and then giving this a try is always a mental game. I put it my hand, could not find water, then when I looked inside did I realize the trick, it was a bit deep so one had to put the hand inside fully. Since I had not removed my hand and it was still inside I bent and as my hand went more deep finally got water. What is the learning you say? If at first attempt you don't succeed try again ;-) Since this temple is carved inside the hill, it gets pretty hot inside, in fact we came out sweating.
3. Queen Shantala’s suicide point: Queen Shantala’s suicide point or Shanthala drop is a spot which is 500 feet high from the foot of the hill. The Queen, at her young age, always used to practice the dance in front of her deity, Honnadevi. During King Vishnuvardhana’s reign, Shantala Devi had a great influence in the administration and religious reforms. King was a Vaishnava follower as he was influenced by the saint Ramanujacharya, but Shantala was a follower of Jainism Shantala was the Pattamaharani (Queen who had right to sit on the throne).

4. Hills at shivagange: These hills have Ashtalingas (8 shivalingas) by name Gangadhareshwara along with consort Swarnambha, Shantheshwara, Omkareshwara, Revana Siddheshwara, Kumbheshwara, Someshwara and Muddu Veereshwara.

Ashta Vrishabas (8 bulls) by name Nandi Vrishaba, Makara Basava, Mahisha Basava, Gare Basava, Dodda basava, Kadale Basava, Giri Basava and Kodugallu Basava. Ashta Theerthas (8 sacred water springs) by name Agasthya Theertha, Shankara Theertha, Kanva Theertha, Kadamba Theertha, Maithla Theertha, Patala Gange, Olakallu Theertha and Kapila Theertha.

5. Patalaganga: There is place is called ‘Patalaganga’, it is said the water which flows is connected to Antargange which is quite far from here. We had to descend one by one inside the cave to reach the water as the place narrows down as we go down. We didn’t explore this one .Please try this if you are visiting the place.

6. Nandi statues: We can find 2 giant Nandi statues on shiva ganga hill.
Nandi at the base
Nandi at the top
7. Big Shiva Parvati statue at middle of the Climb:
8. Breathtaking Views: As usual, This hill also offering breathtaking views throughout the climb.
9. Monkeys: These monkeys at Shiva ganga hill are very experienced one and always show their monkey business.

Team Size: 14 BTC members

Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate

Trekking Distance: Around 4 kms (Up and Down).
Ascending:Hill base to top - 2 kms.
Descending:Top to hill base - 2 kms.
Nearest town is Dobaspet

Distance from Bangalore: Around 60 kms.

How to reach the place:
Mode of transport:
1. By bus or own transport: Go straight on Bangalore - Pune Highway(NH4) on Tumkur Road.Reach Dobaspet and take left diversion under The Flyover. Another  6 kms. of travel will take us to shiva ganga hills.
2. By train: We can board Hubli passenger and Tumkur passenger Train from Majestic.    
Hubli Passenger leaves Majestic at 7:50 AM and Tumkur Passenger at 9:10 AM.If you take Hubli Passenger, you can reach Dobaspet around 9:30 AM. Can walk to Dobaspet town from the station and catch a auto from there to shiva ganga hills.         
Evening you have a train at 3:40 or 4:00 PM at Dobaspet (Not sure about time), you will reach Bangalore by 6:00 PM.

Tips and Suggestions:
1. Do not carry any bags, monkey are wild and will snatch at anything they can put their hands on. Ladies need to be careful about their handbags and should avoid taking it along with them. If you would like to take a bag see that you have a strong backpack, do not carry items in plastic, not even bottles.
2. There are two small hotels in shiva ganga, so carry your own food and eat it before/after you reach the bottom, do not carry it to the top.
3. If you do not have a private vehicle, bargain with the auto wallahs, wait till the auto is full and they will take you on minimum rate.

Thanks to Chaitanya,Channa,Som and Harish for clicking memorable pics.
Thanks to Harish Surampade helping us for arranging auto rickshaw for base of the shiva  ganga Hills and guiding us in right direction during the trek. U Rock man!.
Thanks to other members who are all participated in this trek and made this trek memorable one for each.
Finally, Special thanks to Chaitany Kumar Adusumilli for organizing a trek to shiva ganga Hills. He is having great event organizing capabilities with addition to that coolest person in BTC.

This hill is a perfect weekend destination near Bangalore. Don’t Miss this one.

Strongly recommended for one day trekkers!.

Keep exploring in and around Namma Bangalore...:)

Written By      : Gautham Baliga
Main Blog       : My Life, My Journey
2nd Blog         : Deepika M
3rd Blog         : Channa (Kannada)
Date of event : 5th May, 2013
Place               : Dabbaspet
Pictures          : Gautham, Channa, Chaitanya, Somashekhar, Harish
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