A surprise defeat at Bananthimari betta

23 May 2015

Bananthimari betta is one of the hillocks near Kanakapura. We had climbed nearby Bilikal Rangaswamy betta and Kabbal durga before and hence we decided to knock of another hill. Little did we expect to return back with failure!!

View from the top (Almost!!)
I and Krishna started in the morning to hit Kanakapura at breakfast time. Vasu hotel, a good but small hotel was our breakfast place. After a good breakfast, we continued our journey on village roads to reach Bananthimari Temple. The last stretch of the road was not good for car and we parked bit away from the Temple. The hills nearby looked small and we felt that our job was a simple affair though the destination hill was not visible from the village.

A group had arrived at the Temple before us. With big utensils they had come to prepare lunch and eat at the Temple. As we started our climb, they asked us to come back by noon for lunch!! Interesting!!

It was a gentle walk and in few minutes we reached a small pond. A tortoise resting on a rock attracted our attention. By the time I could change my lens, it had jumped into water. Krishna was luckier than me.

Tortoise lake
A short distance after the pond, the path split into two. We knew that the hill we planned to climb was on our left side. Hence we took that deviation even though it was going down. The path directly entered into the valley covered with forest. It was dense though it did not possess the grandeur of rain forests!!

A tree with flowers on the way
After walking for half an hour, we saw the hill for the first time. It was a monolith and in no way we could climb from that side. We walked for little more distance hoping to find a way though the rock wall. By then we were convinced that we had missed the path. The hill was simply not climbable from that side. So, we retraced our path to reach the pond.

We cannot climb from this way!!
With the help of GPS, we found a possible way to climb the hill from the other side. But very soon we hit the steep boulders and had to come back. That was not looking good.

View of the village and lake from the route
When technology does not work, locals help. This time it was in the form of a herdsman. He sympathized at our plight and felt bad that we were walking for two hours without results. “There is a path, even cows go there” was his words. “If I go to Bengaluru, I will lose my way. You city guys are experiencing it in village!!” he told with a glee on his face. It certainly did not look like a compliment!!

An anthill in the forest
Anyway, he showed us the deviation we had to take. Well, there was no deviation but we just had to get into the shrub forests at a particular point. The herdsman gave a general indication of the route we need to follow and asked us to shout in case of any help. We could not understand how he can guide us standing at the base. Anyway, we walked in the direction he showed.

But the day was not ours. We knew that our defeat was certain. Considering a “quick and clean” climb we had come with just one water bottle. We emptied it as we started our climb on the new path. The scorching heat with humidity was already taking toll on us. We were sweating profusely and we knew that we cannot continue at this situation for long. We decided to stretch as much as possible without being foolish.

So near, yet so far
We finally reached a place where we could see the top of the hill. We still were at least 30 minute away from it and the walk was on rocks. We were already tired with dehydration and decided to get down.

We bid adieu to Bananthimari betta by saying “We will be back”. In our adventure we had found out some more good places nearby where we can spend an entire day. Next time we come we will be better prepared.

How to reach this place?

There are two routes to climb the hill. One is on Kanakapura Ramanagara road. Other is near the village Kuthagondanahalli. We choose the later route. To reach the place, go towards Sathanaur road from Kanakapura. At the outskirts of Kanakapura, after a lake (or remains of the lake!!), take the road going towards right. Drive for 5-6 km. Take right turn at the arch. The road ends at Bananthimari Temple which is the starting point of the trek. There are no asphalted roads after the deviation from arch.

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