Makalidurga Trek

Makalidurga Trek

Makalidurga owes its name to two distinct sources, according to local lore. The first origin lies in the “Makali Beru,” a woody climber whose juice is used to create a revitalizing health drink. It is also employed in certain medicinal preparations due to its blood-purifying properties. The second source is the unique fact that this trek begins at a Railway Station, setting it apart from other day treks in the Bangalore area. While the temple dedicated to Muthurayaswamy serves as the official starting point, the two-kilometre walk from the Railway Station to the temple offers an exhilarating experience.

The fort of Makalidurga has a rich history, having served as a granary for the ‘Palegar’ or ruler named Makaliraya during the late 1800s. The name Makalidurga is derived from this period. The fort is also steeped in legend, as it is believed to be the site where Markandeya Rishi performed penance. Throughout its history, Makalidurga has been controlled by various rulers, starting with the Vijayanagara Empire, followed by the Nayakas, and later Shahaji Bhosle, the father of Chhatrapati Shivaji, who ruled the Doddaballapur region in the 1600s. Located just 60 kilometres from Bangalore and 15 kilometres from Doddaballapur, Makalidurga is easily accessible by road and rail. It is an ideal destination for trekkers of all skill levels and those seeking a quick weekend getaway.

Best Time for Makalidurga Trek

Makalidurga is a trek that is suitable for any time of the year. Considering the minimal tree coverage along the trail, it is advisable to wear a cap in the summer months to protect yourself from sun exposure. Failure to do so may lead to rapid fatigue from dehydration caused by the intense heat. When venturing out during the monsoon season, it’s a good idea to bring a poncho or raincoat, as well as a rain cover for your backpack, to ensure you stay dry and comfortable during your hike to Makalidurga. It is not recommended to go trekking in heavy rain because the trail can become slippery from loose rocks and mud, which may affect your trekking experience.

Highlights of Makalidurga Trek

Seldom does a hike begin along a railway track, but Makalidurga offers a unique experience. You’ll walk alongside the train lines to reach the base of the trek, which is an adventure in itself. The Gundamagere lake, shaped like the South American continent, is a breathtaking sight as you ascend to the summit. The ancient fort at the top transports you back in time, evoking images of its former grandeur. The temple dedicated to Makali Malleshwara, still worshipped by devotees, is a rare find in a fort that’s now in ruins.

Makalidurga Trek Detailed Trail Information

You can reach Makalidurga via two different routes. One option is to walk from the Makalidurga Railway Station, while the other is to drive up to the parking lot and then cross the railway tracks to start your journey from the Muthurayaswamy temple.

Upon entering the railway station, turn right and begin your stroll with Makalidurga Hill in view. This 2.2-kilometre path is flat and easy, offering an enjoyable walk. Be mindful of the trains passing by and remember to stay on the designated trail, avoiding the rails. The surroundings are picturesque, with greenery and rocky boulders all around, and the contrast becomes more striking as you approach Makalidurga. Look out for the marker ’54/300′ to signal the end of the railway line walking. Then, keep left and search for a Forest Department signboard within 100 meters, which will guide you to the trail.

As you approach by road, keep an eye out for a large signboard on your left, courtesy of the Karnataka Forest Department, situated along State Highway 9. Upon spotting the sign, turn left onto a dirt track and continue driving for approximately 900 meters. You will then arrive at an open space, which serves as the parking lot. Park your vehicle and cross the railroad tracks to the opposite side of the trail, where you’ll find a signboard from the Karnataka Forest Department. From there, proceed straight ahead for about 100 meters until you encounter Muthurayaswamy temple on your right. Follow the trail further until you come across a deviation, with a trail leading left towards Gundamagere Lake and another trail leading right, slightly elevated, towards Makalidurga. Opt for the trail on the right. The path will then guide you up the hill, marked by arrows on the rocks, so be sure to follow them closely. The trail can get a bit tricky as the ascent becomes steeper, with loose gravel and rocks, so tread carefully. Once you’ve navigated this section, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of Gundamagere Lake. Take a moment to appreciate the scenery before continuing onwards. A short distance from there, you’ll reach Rest Point I, accessible via a final steep granite rock climb. Make use of the boulders for support as you ascend, ensuring a safe and secure journey to the top. Take a brief break at Rest Point I, enjoying your snacks while soaking in the stunning vistas. The fort at the summit will be visible from this point.

Follow the slightly steep path leading to the fort, and in approximately 20 minutes, you will reach the summit where the fort is located, signifying the conclusion of the uphill climb. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by the ancient fort walls, evoking its rich history. Standing atop these walls will offer a breathtaking view of the surrounding scenery, with Gundamagere Lake visible to the West and Gunjur Lake to the East. The key attraction of the trek is the Makali Malleshwara temple situated at the peak, encircled by fort walls. This age-old temple houses statues of Lord Shiva and Nandi and continues to draw worshippers from nearby communities. Take a stroll and discover the fort’s treasures, such as ancient artifacts like stones inscribed with ancient scripts and weathered idols on the temple’s roof. Take a moment to close your eyes and contemplate your journey to the summit, immersing yourself in the peaceful ambience and natural sounds. Relax your tired muscles before commencing your descent back to the starting point. Exercise caution on the descent route, particularly on challenging and steep sections, proceeding slowly and attentively to avoid any potential accidents.

How to Reach For Makalidurga Trek

If you’re looking to explore the beautiful trails of Makalidurga, you’ll find it in the Indian state of Karnataka. Here’s how to get there:

The Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore, Karnataka, is the closest airport to Makalidurga. To get to Makalidurga from the airport, you can either book a taxi or use a bus service. The distance between Bangalore and Makalidurga is around 60 kilometres.

You can reach Makalidurga by train, with the nearest station being Makalidurga Railway Station, a small stop on the Bangalore-Guntakal railway line. Trains from Bangalore can take you directly to this station, but be sure to double-check the schedule, as not all trains make a stop here. Another option is to take a train to Doddaballapur Railway Station, located 10 kilometres away, and then hire a local taxi or auto-rickshaw to complete your journey to Makalidurga.

Makalidurga can be easily reached by road as it is well-connected. You have the option to either drive yourself or take a bus from Bangalore or neighbouring cities such as Doddaballapur. The trekking destination is situated along NH, with clear signages to guide you.

Using public transportation is another option, such as taking buses. Buses run from Bangalore to Doddaballapur, where you can then arrange for local transport or a taxi to get to Makalidurga.

Local Assistance: Upon arriving at Makalidurga Railway Station or its vicinity, you may require assistance from locals to locate the specific beginning point of the trek. You have the option to seek guidance from residents or engage the services of a guide if necessary.

It’s crucial to gather up-to-date information on transportation choices and any updates on the route you’ll be taking before finalizing your travel itinerary. Moreover, it’s important to secure all required approvals and licenses needed for hiking in the designated region.

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