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BTC Chronicles - Shivgange on 21st of September, 2014

Standing at an altitude of 1400 meters, I closed my eyes to feel the breeze on the peak of Shivagange Hill. The view from the hilltop gave e a feel of Google maps with clearly visible roads and landmarks. They made me wonder, “Was this the blueprint for the Google maps design?”  And yes! You get a 360 degree view of the entire landscape around it. This is precisely because the hill is in the shape of a Shiva lingam. The monolithic personality of the hill contributes to making it look like a lingam. A few distant pictures will tell you exactly what I am talking about. A small temple shrine rests in the centre of the hill peak. Invoking His blessings, I walked to all the four corners for a better view of the breathtaking landscape. A voice inside me said, “This is where I belong…..charm life of the country, away from it all!” I had longed to experience this for almost three years and the Bangalore Trekking Club made it possible for me on the 21st of September, 2014! My thoughts were disturbed by something I was well aware of- MONKEYS. A very obvious thing that you will notice all through the trek is monkeys trying to get their hands on something to eat, even if it means snatching it from you. So be careful of your belongings while you’re there.
An intricately designed gopuram in traditional South Indian style welcomed us to the base of the hill. After trekking for about 2 kms, we got a better view of the Kalyani. If you are looking for a rocky mountain with steep slopes, this is the place for you. Let me warn you that this is nothing a moderate or difficult form of trek, so go for it if you want something easy. At the steeper slopes, small steps are carved into the rocks to make it easier for first timers. A series of temples, mantapams, gopurams, and nandi statues line from the base to the hilltop. The Olakalu Teertha temple is situated half way where I took a welcoming break and a few pictures. I was quick enough to get a few shots before the monkeys advanced for my phone. This temple is home to the spring on the hill. Myths have it that only a few people can get to touch the water in the spring. Before I got to this, there was the Pathala Ganga were water runs underground and at times, the water level rises up to knee level. While water from the Holy Ganges is believed to flow there, together with the presence of many shrines of Lord Shiva, the place is called ‘Shivagange’.
The steepest part of the hill makes up to about 40 percent which is the last bit of the trek. With the two way traffic on one lane, I picked up caution on the way. I took a slow pace to ensure I didn’t bump into anyone. This is precisely where a friend and I had a bit of a monkey handling experience. Well, it got away with a coconut cup of juice to drink!! J The biggest Nandi on the hill is the main attraction which I couldn’t miss.
Pilgrimage experience is a part of the whole trek but history too is an integral part of the place. The hilltop is also famously known as Shantala Drop. Sounds like the perfect suicide spot named after the victim. Yes, it was the place where Shantala, Queen Consort of the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana, committed suicide. Reason? It is told that she was unable to bear children and give a son to her husband and in severe depression, committed suicide jumping off the cliff. If tell tales are to be believed, her soul still walks on the hills wearing thick dancing anklets during night times. While the Hoysala king, Vishnuvardhana gave prosperity to the hillside area, the latter kings fortified it. Prominent work was done by Shivappa Nayaka in the 16th century and is now left in ruins. Kempegowda too has made notable contributions to the hill. After a refreshing experience engaging with nature and now the stranger friends, I headed back home with memories to cherish and excitement towards future BTC treks in the heart! Cheers BTC!!

Written By      : Madhuri Krishna Murthy
Organized By  : Abhishek Biradar
Date of event : 21st Sept 2014
Place              : Dabbaspet
Pictures          : BTC FB Page

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