Makalidurga is a hill fort which is around 60 kms from Bangalore city. The remains of the fort at the summit has an old shiva temple. This temple and the fort is on top of huge granite hillock. The approach to the top of the hill is to hike all the way up through tall grass and boulders. This is an ideal place to start with trekking as it’s comparatively easier when compared to other local treks and the view on top is really good. People from Bangalore and neighboring places go to this place for a day or night trek.
We took the early morning 7:40AM train from Cantonment Railway Station in Bangalore to Makalidurga. Makalidurga is a remote place and the railway station looked deserted with just few monkeys around and it took about 90 minutes to reach this station from Bangalore city. From here the train went further and we followed the same track route for another 3 kilometers by walk till we reached the foot of the Makalidurga hill. There is a parallel jeep route which is equally good to walk, if you feel that railway track is not the place for you.
Take a left from the railway line and after walking for about 5 minutes you will find a temple. Take a small break under the shade. This is the last place where you can find some water to drink. So, it’s better to fill up your water bottles. The trail continues behind the temple. Continue further for about 10 minutes. To the right you will find the Makalidurga hill (also called Makali betta). Take a right and the trails goes up which is a gradual climb. There is no proper trail, and you will have to find your own way to go up through the tall grass and boulders. It’s easy and there is only one way up. At some point midway, you may only find rock which is manageable to climb without any rope. Take a short break and turn around to see the beautiful green landscape around. You will find many such small peaks which are like Makalidurga, which you can explore on your own on weekends. There is a lake named Gundamagere where you can spend some time later once you are done with your trek while going back. Continue further for another 30 minutes and you will reach on top. The total time from base to top should not take more than 90 minutes excluding break.
Once you reach on top is the entrance to the remains of the fort. This fort is not maintained and is in a sad state. Go around the fort to see the beautiful landscape around spend some time under the trees. There is a shiva temple at the other end of the fort. This place is being worshiped even now. Visit the temple and sit there for a while. It’s really cold inside, ideal place to be in the afternoon after hiking the entire morning. Have lunch outside and relax in the tree shade for a while. Once you have explored the fort, its time to leave. Follow the same route all the way down till you reach the railway track. Now, you can either go by train (last train is at 5pm) or go by bus. Continue walking for another 1 km from the base of the Makalidurga hill and you will reach highway. There are N number of buses both private and govt that will go to Bangalore.
It was great fun for us and really enjoyed the weekend. Not too far from Bangalore, ideal one day hike with a total expense of Rs. 150 (2.5 $USD) including food and travel from Bangalore. It’s nice to get out of the crowed and polluted city once in a while and go for a hike of this kind, will keep you physically fit and healthy. Also, if you are planning to go for some easy to moderate level Himalayan treks then treks like Makalidurga, Shiva Gangey etc are good ones to start with. Check out my Himalayan trek to Kashmir Great Lakes here – Link. Also, check out the video below: