Far from the madding crowd, head to the hills this weekend!

Shankareshwara temple located on the hilltop at Hutridurga. Pic: Akshatha M

On a lazy weekend, if you are desperate to escape from the hustle bustle of maddening city crowd and venture into an adventurous yet peaceful excursion, Hutridurga is the place to go. This hill located approximately 60 km away from Bengaluru on Magadi-Kunigal road, offers a refreshing trekking experience, which is reasonably easy even for a first time trekker.

Hutridurga, popularly known as Hutribetta among the villagers, is a hill with historical significance. The name Hutridurga is derived from a village named Hutri located near the hill. It is said to be one among the nine forts built by Kempegowda who founded Bengaluru in the 16th Century. A fort was built around this hill to keep the invaders away and protect the territory.

Water tanks surrounded by greenery, captured atop Hutridurga. Pic: Akshatha M

Kempegowda built nine forts around Bengaluru. They include Nandidurga, Savanadurga, Devarayanadurga, Huliyurudurga, Kabbaldurga, Hutridurga, Makalidurga, Channarayanadurga and Sri Bhairavanadurga.

It is said that in 18th Century when erstwhile ruler of Mysore Kingdom Tipu Sultan conquered Bengaluru, Hutridurga became his military bastion against British. However, very little official history is available on this fort.

A pond brimming with water in front of Shankareshwara temple at Hutridurga. Pic: Akshatha M

Well-trodden path and the less-travelled one!

For trekking enthusiasts, this destination is worth heading for. Located in a sleepy village in Kunigal taluk, the hill is surrounded by lush greenery. The place is untouched by the urbanisation and retains its serenity, perhaps because it is not as famous as other trekking destinations like Savandurga and Skanda Giri. In fact, there will be just one or two groups climbing the hill even on a weekend.

As you start climbing up the hill, ruins of empty fort, thick grass and breeze will greet you. Stone steps are laid to reach the hilltop in several places, which makes the trekking easier. One has to pass through eight stone gates with zodiac signs carved on them, to reach the top. In some places, direction signs have been marked on the stone walls, though it may not help you much throughout.

A panoramic view of green landscape as seen from Hutridurga hilltop. Pic: Akshatha M

For those who crave for an adventurous trek, you can also give amiss to the regular route and try treading the less-travelled path. If you choose to trek through the unfamiliar route, it is advisable to take the help of local people to accompany you for the fear of missing the route. Even village kids can guide you through the trek, for they have mastered the art of trekking and know every nook and corner of Hutridurga. The less -travelled path is quite challenging and demands you to crawl through tunnels and climb the steep hill.

Shankareshwara temple located on the hilltop at Hutridurga. Pic: Akshatha M

It takes not more than an hour to reach the hilltop through the regular route. The trekking route offers some magnificent view, hence taking breaks here and there to enjoy the beautiful landscape is always recommended. Don’t miss the points from where you get breath-taking views of the lush green landscape.

At the peak of the hill lies the Shankareshwara temple — a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. A pond brimming with water only adds to the beauty of the hill summit. Backward trek post-noon is the time when you will be engulfed in strong wind that almost blows you away.

Though not so popular other hills around the city, Hutridurga is the perfect weekend getaway for trekkers and nature-lovers.

Level of climbing Hutridurga is moderate. One can climb without much hassle. Pic: Akshatha M

Travel guide

Where is it located: Hutridurga is located about 12 km from Magadi-Kunigal State Highway. If you are going from Bengaluru, it is better to go on Magadi-Agalkote Handpost-Santhepete route.

Google map shows the route from Majestic Bus Station to Hutridurga via Magadi-Kunigal road. Pic: Google Map

Mode of transportation: If you are going by private vehicle, nothing to worry about. If you are depending on public transport, then get down at Magadi, take a service rickshaw to Santhepete.

Best season to visit: September – February. Better to avoid monsoon for the rocks will be slippery. Summer might just make the climbing tiresome.

Food / eatery: There is no good hotel close by. Hence, it is better to carry food, snacks and water while trekking and eat at the hilltop. But ensure that leftovers are not thrown at the hillock.

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Akshatha M
About Akshatha M 213 Articles
Akshatha M is a Staff Journalist at Citizen Matters. She tweets at @akshata1.

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