Ramnagar is one of my favorite weekend getaways from Bangalore. Located just 50 KMs south west of Bangalore and famous for its Silk, Ramnagar is surprisingly not in the mainstream tourist route. The rugged hills provided the backdrop for Sholay, the legendary Bollywood movie. If that is not enough for Ramnagar to catapult into the must visit list among weekend getaways from Bangalore, then Ramdevarabatta hill provided the location for David Lean's "A Passage to India". The reason Ramnagar figures in my list of weekend getaways from Bangalore is that it is a lovely bike ride on a sunday morning through rustic villages and magnificent granite hills.
Ramnagar is located 50 Km south west of Bangalore on the way to Mysore. To reach Ramanagar you need to hit the Bangalore Mysore highway. Ramnagar is directly on the highway and is the town after Bidadi .
Once you reach Ramnagar, take the right towards Ramadevarabatta hill and you can ride till all the way to Manchinabele Dam, about 25 Kms away.
The best place for breakfast on this route is at Renukamba Hotel in Bidadi. After entering Bidadi town look for State Bank of Mysore ATM on the left. The hotel is adjacent to the ATM. The speciality here is Thatte Idli, vada with dollops of butter. Sign off with a filter coffee and you are set for the day!
Sholay, the 1975 bollywood block buster directed by Ramesh Sippy with a dream cast of Dharmendra, Amitabh, Sanjeev Kumar and Hema Malini, was shot at Ramnagar. Shooting of Sholay at Ramnagar took more than 2 years. The entire crew spent most of their time during this period in the rocky terrains of Ramnagar. Infact the producer of the Sholay built a road to access the hilly terrain from Bangalore highway. Sholay's Art Director actually built an entire township at the site of Ramnagar.
A part of Ramnagar even today is called Sippy Nagar as a tribute to the director of the legendary film Sholay.
The primary occupation in Ramanagar is Sericulture. Rearing of silk worms is the predominant means of earning a living in this town. The Silk from Ramanagar is a major input for the world famous Mysore Silk Sarees. Did you know that Ramnagar is the world's largest Silk Cocoon market? As many as 50 tones of silk cocoons are traded at Ramnagar every day.
Ramdevarabatta Hill is the most famous hill at Ramnagar. Perched at 3066 feet above sea level, Ramdevarabatta Hill is famous for its magical shape. It looks like a Shiva Lingam from East, Ganesha from the West, a spent from the North and Lord Hanuman from the South! The rocks on Ramdevarabatta hill come in many shapes. A whale, a 3 headed Lord Brahma and a Pigeon are easily spotted. The top of the hill is reached by traversing 450 steps and 3 doorways.
The scenic ride from Ramnagar to Manchinabele is over 25 Kms through villages and granite hills, making it a refreshing option among weekend getaways from Bangalore. Closepet Granites are a geological speciality in this region. This granite belt is rich in iron and manganese ores.
Manchinabele Dam over River Akravathy was built primary for irrigation purposes. Today it supplies water to the town of Magadi. The dam and its surrounding location is very scenic. Entry into the Dam is not allowed. However there are plenty of spots nearby to spy a glance at the dam.
The route between Manchinabele Dam and Ramnagar is rustic and will remind you of a day in an typical village any where else in india. There would be the occasional tractor, bullocks ploughing the fields, cows wandering around and plenty of chirping birds! Since we were riding in attention grabbing Enfield Bullets, we also solicited glances of curious onlookers.
The area around Ramnagar is home to several endangered bird species like the Yellow throated Bulbul and long billed Vultures. Sloth Bears are also spotted in the shrub forests around Ramnagar. Ramnagar is definitely a must visit for nature lovers among weekend getaways from Bangalore.
Take a Bike and hit the trail to Ramnagar. It will be a well spent Sunday or at least a half of it. Hot Thatte Idlis, vada and butter await you.
For my travelogue on Thattakere Lake, day trip from Bangalore, visit Thattakere Lake.