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Makalidurga hills - Trekking to the ancient fort temple




Makalidurga is a trek to one of the most enchanting places as this hill has twinkling skies, a rich history and a railway line running through the lush greenery of the hills. Makalidurga is located only 60 kilometers away from Bangalore and 10 kilometers away from the town of Doddaballapur. It’s because of this that a number of people, ranging from travel junkies to adventure lovers as well as those who adore nature, make their way to this stunning hill every weekend.


Makalidurga hill stands above the rest of the world at a height of 4430 feet and has a fort located at the top of its peak. The foothill is surrounded by a lake that is similar to the shape of the continent of South America, while a train runs through the lower half of the hills.  Everything is amidst lush green grasses and stunning views of nature. This day-trek will never fail to rejuvenate your mind and nerves!


About 60km from Bangalore (simply follow the maps to reach the base). Walk across the railway tracks to reach a seemingly forest department office. They ask you to pay 450 per person in order to hike up. It's ridiculous because there's nothing really that you are getting in return. Tickets can be booked online at myecotrip.com. We booked the tickets online while at the base( got 3g network there with Vodafone). There's a marked trail but you can easily get lost. Rocky trail so make sure you wear proper shoes to avoid any injuries. Carry water and food since there are no vendors on the way or at the top. There are ruins of a fort on the top. Views of the lake and nearby landscape make the climb worthwhile. Takes around 1.5 hours one-way (ofcourse depending on your pace). Would recommend starting as early as possible to avoid the sun.


When we got back to the parking where we had left our 4-wheeler, some villagers came to us demanding parking fee since they owned the land. We told them that we had already paid the forest department guys. It's ridiculous that random people walk up asking for money. But all in all, would recommend this hike.


An astonishing place to explore.. But no smooth way n u'll just have to follow d markings to reach d top.. It took for us 1hr 30 odd mins to reach the top of d mountain.. There's a small Shiva temple which is d coolest one.. Awesome scenery..


Carry enough water.. Food is available only in d lower town of d hill.. Happy journey


We actually started at 6 am from Bangalore thought we could board the train at 7:20 am from Bangalore station. We were able to make it up and reached the makalidurga station at 9:30. 


From there it will take around 30mins to reach the base.. There was an entry fee that we paid which was 450/ person. There will be officers at the base who will be checking all this things. It was a moderate level trek, steeper at few points. There will be markings on the stones that will lead you up to the top. There will be a temple at the very top of the hill and a mesmerizing view of the train from top and a lake.. We were able to reach to the hilltop at 12 pm.. It took us almost 4 hours to climb the entire thing and come back.. We had a train at 2.20am at the station. Since this train doesn't come on time, we decided to board the BMTC bus back to blore..


Carry enough water. That is the most important advice I can give anyone. Especially if you are planning to climb around noon. The drive from Bangalore is pretty good although be a little careful as there are lot of constructions happening in few places. You can park your vehicle near the station and start walking along the tracks till you reach the start point. Else you can park it near the start point and cross the tracks to reach the trail. The trail is pretty easy to find and routes are well marked. We explored a bit and tried finding our own path up. There are lot of thorns and dry vegetation so you have to a bit careful. 


Once you reach the top there are remnants of an old fort and a small temple. You get a gorgeous view of the lake below. Do walk down and chill by the calmness of the lake. A very pleasant experience. If you have time try walking around the perimeter of the lake.


It's a perfect place to go if you want to get out of Bangalore for a day. I suggest to start as early as possible to avoid sun and humidity. If you start at 6.30AM, you can easily be back by noon. Here is some tactical info:


- Follow google maps to reach makalidura trail. It will make you take a turn from highway and you'll arrive the parking spot within 2 mins. It's right next to the railway tracks and you can easily park here. On a weekend, you'll see multiple cars, bikes and school bus in my case parked here at noon.


- Simply follow the google maps directions to start from the parking spot and reach the peak. You need to cross the railway tracks and within 5 mins, you'll cross a temple. Once you cross the temple, you'll have two options. Google maps draws both the options.


- Shorter route is a right turn mins after the temple. It is steep and rocky. For beginners, try carrying a stick to support you. You can always take frequent breaks as the overall distance isn't much. All breaks would be worthwhile as you can enjoy the view. You'll complete this in 1 to 2 hrs.


- Longer route circles the hill and goes from the back. That's why it is longer. It's climb is also is comparatively less steep. The distance is 3-4 times the shorter one so even though it's easy, it will take 2-4 hours depending on how many breaks you want to take. You pass around the lake, farms, few houses etc, so if you believe more in the path rather than destination, you should try this. It's also less crowded. The path isn't clearly marked when climb starts but google maps will guide you. It's not a typical jungle with only one way to climb so even if you loose way for a while, you can come back to the path using basic direction sense and google maps.


- Cell Network is available almost 100% of the time


- There isn't much to do once you reach the top. You can relax, enjoy views, check out fort walls and temple, sit in tree shades. A lot of crowd can be seen during weekend. 


- It's safe for everyone. I saw school kids, an spirited old aunty, couples, groups of teenagers and young professionals. 


Hope you have a terrific time. My only request is to strictly avoid dumping trash here. It's painful to see plastic bottle, chips packets around the area. A really awesome thing to do would be to take a trash bag and bring this trash from hill while your way down. 


Have fun!


There's a lot of information already about this place so I'm going to give you just a few pointers which might help. Personally I found some of the information here a bit counterproductive. Anyways here's my two cents:


Parking- some folks have suggested parking near the railway station and walking on the tracks for 2-3 kms till they reach the trail. Google maps shows you a parking spot close to where the trail begins. It's safe to park here so just drive all the way following Google maps. Some bloggers mentioned monkeys destroying cars, frankly only a monkey the size of King Kong can do any serious damage to a car! 


The two trails- we took the shorter steeper trail to climb and the longer "easier" one to descend. I recommend the shorter trail to everyone to climb and descend! I'm no expert trekker and we could in 1 hour, climb to the top using the help of the arrow markers. This trail maybe 1-2 km only and you can definitely manage it. The longer trail is about 5 km long and it took us about 2 hours to descend and reach the parking spot! This trail goes behind the hill and it's not that easy as made out to be. Google recommends this longer trail avoid it.


The summit- the view is beautiful and I guess you can camp out here for the night. There's a ruined fort and an active shiva temple at the top. 


The lake- there's a beautiful lake behind the hill which you can jump into. If you've used the shorter trail like I suggested then you've saved 2 hours which you can use to spend time at the lake. To approach the lake trek about 2 km down the longer trail.





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