Savanadurga Trek is a good one day trip from Bangalore, especially for those who seek trekking in Bangalore. Located 60 Km from Bangalore off Magadi road, Savanadurga is one of the largest monolith hills in Asia. The cluster of boulders form a lovely backdrop against Arkavathy river flowing into the Thippagondanahalli reservoir and then into the Manchanabele Dam. This erstwhile secondary capital of Kempegowda who ruled from Magadi, is equally popular today for trekking in Bangalore as well for a pilgrimage to Savandi Veerabhadraswamy Temple at the base of Savanadurga. Savanadurga is also home to birds like the yellow throated Bulbuls, long billed vultures and white backed vultures. A night halt at Savanaduraga can mean a possible encounter with sloth bears and leopards!
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One of the best places for trekking in Bangalore is Antaragange. Located 70 Kms from Bangalore in Kolar, Antaragange appeals to both pilgrims and trekkers. If trekking, bouldering and caving appeals to you, then Antaragange would not disappoint. There is a monkey infested Kashi Vishwanath temple midway up the mountain where a mysterious underground spring supplies water to the Pond round the year. Granite rocks, boulders and caves abound above the Temple and is a dream for adventure enthusiasts looking for trekking in Bangalore.
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Nijagalbetta is a little known fort near Tumkur which is an excellent trekking place to visit near Bangalore. 250 yeas ago Nijagalbetta witnessed a power struggle between the Marathas, Hyder Ali and the British. Nijagalbetta had a reputation of an impregnable fort. Crocodiles in the moat around the fort used to keep away unwanted visitors during those days. On a famous night in late 18th century, the guerrilla army of Chitradurga scaled the fort using monitor lizards and chopped off the hands of Sardar Khan the ruler, changing the fate of Hyder Ali and the Marathas. Today it is a quiet place frequented by few and hence makes for an excellent half day trek from Bangalore. On the top of Nijagalbetta, there is a shiva temple, a dargah, a pond, few caves and several sculptures from the Hoysala period. If you have run out of places to visit near Bangalore, and are in the mood for a short trek, Nijagalbetta is worth a try for a half day trip.
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Skandagiri is a trekker’s paradise. The best time to attempt this is in a full moon night! You can actually touch the swimming clouds here. The sunrise at dawn here is a spectacle worth the climb. At an altitude of 1350 meters, Skandagiri is just 70 kms from Bangalore off Bellary Road near Nandi Hills. Legend has it that Tipu Sultan captured it by bribing a milk woman to poison the local ruler and his men.
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Mahuli is a popular trekking destination on the Sahyadris. At 2815 Feet, it is the tallest peak in Thane district. Easy accessibility and beautiful rock formations make Mahuli a hit with the trekkers from Mumbai and surrounding areas. Rustic facilities are provided by Nature on the top like drinking water from the Cistern in the Shiva Temple and shelter in the caves. Mahuli Fort played its role throughout history with the Mughals, Nizamshahi. Shivaji Maharaj and British vying for it. The best part of the trek up Mahuli is the panoramic view from top of all prominent peaks on the Sahyadris.
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Mount Fuji is not only the tallest Mountain in Japan but also the holiest. Mount Fuji is a dormant volcano which has a magnetic charm about it, drawing people to it from all over the world. The raw beauty of Mount Fuji combined with the thrill of the hike, makes climbing Mount Fuji one of the most memorable travel experiences of a lifetime. I was privileged to take the Yoshida Trail up to Mount Fuji to witness the most beautiful Sun Rise ever.
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Martana is a fairly simple trek in Lonavala, nevertheless an enjoyable one. In the monsoons, Martana becomes really beautiful as it gets a lush green cover and the pinnacles get covered by the mist, just like most of Lonavala. The approach road to Maratana from Lonavala gets often submerged in water and one can relive childhood memories by splashing in water all along the way from Bhambhurde village to the foothills!
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Ratangad is a 400 year old fort in Maharashtra and is located 180 KMs from Pune. Ratangad has a unique cavity in the rock at the top which is popularly called Eye of the Needle or Nedhe in Marathi. Picturesquely located overlooking the Arthur Lake near Bhandardhara, Ratangad fort was once captured by Shivaji Maharaj and is today a very popular trekking destination. The base village of Ratanwadi has an old Temple with beautiful carvings called Amruteshwar. Ratangad Trek is very enjoyable due to its approach. You need to take a ferry over the Arthur Lake to get to the base camp. A series of waterfalls and a thick jungle follow next. Finally the entrance to the Fort is well hidden and you need to enter it from a chimney!
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Rajmachi is one of the most scenic treks in the Sahyadris. Picturesquely located between Khandala and Lonavla, Rajmachi actually consists of two forts Shrivardhan and Manaranjan. At the base of the Mountain is the serene Tungarli Lake surrounded by waterfalls while Kondhavi Caves can be found on top of the fort. There is a beautiful temple of Kal-Bhairavi between the twin forts. The view from top of the Fort is panoramic comprising Ulhās River, Duke’s Nose, Karnala, Mahuli and Bhimashanker. This Trek packs a plentiful punch!
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Gorakhgad is a good trekking getaway from Mumbai. Located near Murbad, there is a fort at the Summit. Named after Saint Goraknath, the fort is at a height of 2150 ft. above sea level. While it is not a very big trek, it is fun to climb and the view of the twin pinnacles Machindragad and Gorakhgad from the top is worth making the trip. The climb in the last stages to reach the summit is indeed thrilling.
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This is a travelogue on my first ever trek. Like all first attempts in life, this too was a remarkable experience. We sensed all emotions during this journey including excitement, self-doubt, fear, a sense of foolishness and elation. The destination was Bhimashanker the popular Jyotirling near Pune and the date was the millennium eve Dec 31’1999.
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Kilimanjaro or the White Mountain, is the tallest free standing mountain in entire Africa at 5895 metres and is a veritable lone beauty. When you begin to climb, you don’t quite realize that the mountain actually begins to climb on you! Devoid of newspapers, emails, electricity and ‘flushed away’ toilets you are one with nature.
Great people, an amazing landscape, plethora of fauna, rugged terrain, ever-changing weather, great night sky and 7 days of awe-inspiring climb makes this one of the most exciting climbing expeditions.Read more: Climbing Kilimanjaro
There are not many marvels on Earth which have inspired and challenged Mankind as much as Mount Everest. While climbing the summit is the privilege of professional mountaineers, ordinary mortals can experience it by making it to the Base Camp. Monasteries, Monks and Mountains will teleport you into a different world.
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Lohagarh is a majestic fort at a height of 1050 meters near Lonavla. It is an ideal destination for a day trek from Mumbai, especially in the monsoons. Located near Bhaja caves, the famous Buddhist caves, Lohagarh divides the basins of 2 rivers- Indriyani and Pavana. Its actual date of construction is still a mystery. If you trace back its history, it was occupied by several dynasties like Satavahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas, Bahamanis, Nizamshahis, Mughals and Marathas. Shivaji captured it in 1648 and it ultimately fell in the hands of the British by 1818.
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Naneghat is said to have been constructed by the Satvahan dynasty that ruled this region from 100BC to 300AD (approximately 350 years). It is a pass, which, once in the history, enjoyed prime importance. The purpose of this pass was to connect Junnar, their chief town with their ports at Kalyan and Nalasopara. The main cave contains an inscription (in the Brahmi script prevalent in those times) informing us of this and giving further information about the Satvahan Dynasty.
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