Sunday, December 18, 2016

Shivaganga Trekking, Tumkur

Shivaganga is a small hillock located near Dabaspet in the Tumkur District of Karnataka in India. The hillock looks like a Shivalinga when seen from one of the sides and spring water found here is believed to be the sacred water from Ganga and hence the place got the name Shivaganga. Shivaganga is a place where trekking and religion comes together

Nandi Statue on top of Shivaganga hill or shivaganga betta

Nandi Statue on top of Shivaganga

Shivaganga – A sacred place

Shivaganga is a rocky area that has many shrines and religious spot. The main attraction in Shivaganga is the stone carving of Nandi on the top of the hill and is considered as a spell binding sculpture because of its narrow location. Various temples such as Gangadhareshwara temple, Sri Honnadevi Temple, Olakal Theertha and Patalaganga are located in Shivaganga and hence Shivaganga is also known as the Dakshina Kashi or Kashi of south India.

Long view of Shivaganga Hill

Long view of Shivaganga Hill

  Gopura of Gangadhareshwara Temple at shivaganga

Gopura of Gangadhareshwara Temple

Shivaganga - Trekking

Shivaganga is a huge rocky hill and is at a height of 1380 meters above sea level. It will be good to start trekking early in the morning to avoid sunlight. First half of the trekking is easy and then starts the toughest part, which is steep. Railings are provided for making the climb easier. The trek is 2km long and there are frequent spots for resting. Small stalls are there throughout the trek path that serves food and drinks. The first temple located on the climb uphill to the summit is Gangadhareshwara Temple. Moving forward we passed a giant entrance above which a bull (Nandi) statue was placed. Further up the hill is Olakal Theertha, which has a spring flowing in between the rocks and the water of the spring is considered to be famous. We can see a Shiva-Parvathy statue on the way to the top of the hill after the Olakal theertha. The toughest part of the trekking starts after this point. Monkeys will be there throughout the remaining trek to attack and snatch the food items and water bottles with us. Railings are there until the Nandi statue on the top. Opposite to the Nandi statue is the Shantala’s drop.

Olakal Theertha temple on the way to shivaganga betta

Olakal Theertha

   Nandi Statue during the Trekking to shivaganga betta

          Nandi Statue during the Trekking

   Trek Path of shivaganga betta

          Trek Path

Gangadhareshwara Temple

The Gangadhareshwara temple is an ancient shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the first temples located on the climb uphill to the summit. The walls of the Gangadhareshwara Temple have beautiful carvings. The temple has a low roof and the earthen lamps lighted inside it are the only source of light inside the dark interiors. Regular pujas and abhisheka are performed here. The walls and pillars are decorated with sculptures and carvings.

An interesting belief about this temple is that if an abhisheka is performed with ghee here, the ghee turns to butter. It is said that the ghee that turns to butter has medicinal powers and can cure many ailments. It is widely believed that from this temple there is a tunnel that connects Shivaganga Hill to the Gavigangadhareshwara swami Temple in Bangalore.

Olakal Theertha

The Olakal Theertha is located further up the hill. The place has a spring flowing in between the rocks and the water of the spring is considered to be sacred. There is a small hole in the rock into which you put your hand; the belief is that only those who have done good will be able to touch the water and will prosper; others will not be able to find water at all.

Olakal Theertha temple on the way to shivaganga betta

Olakal Theertha

  Olakal Theertha temple on the way to shivaganga betta

Olakal Theertha

Nandi Statue

The statue of the bull, Nandi, stands at the highest point on the hill. The special feature of the bull is that it has been carved out of a single rock. It is amazing to note that the statue stands just at the end point of the huge boulder and there is not enough space to go round it. It is a wonder how the sculpture had carved the statue at such a high point in such a dangerous position.

Shanthala point

The Shanthala point is situated at a height of 500 feet from the base of the hill. The point is named after Queen Shanthala, wife of Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana. The Queen, at her young age, always used to practice the dance in front of her deity, Honnadevi. During King Vishnuvardhana’s reign, Shantala Devi had a great influence in the administration and religious reforms. But she was depressed as she was unable to give birth to a son who would become the heir to the throne after the king Vishnuvardhana

The young queen was in the early twenties and could not handle the pain for long. One night she sneaked out of the palace on her horse and came to this point. After praying at the nearby temple of deity Honnadevi, the queen committed suicide by jumping from this point. Since then the deep gorge has been named as Shanthala drop. It is also said that Queen Shanthala Devi died after observing the Jaina practice of Sallekhana (fasting unto death) at Shivaganga. The view of the surrounding area from the Shanthala point is breath taking.

Shanthala Point where queen shanthala committed suicide

Shanthala Point

  Temple on top of Shivaganga Hill

Temple on top of Shivaganga Hill

Patala Gange

The term Patala Gange means underground Ganges. The temple has been named such as there is an underground spring seeping at the entrance of the shrine. Water level of PatalaGanga sometimes comes up to the knee height and is always cold. It is believed that the holy water of the spring at Patala Gange is connected to Antaragange in Kolar

Bird View from Shivaganga Hill or shivaganga betta

Bird View from Shivaganga Hill

Best time to visit Shivaganga

The best time to visit Shivaganga is during the winter months of September to January, when the weather is pleasant for trekking and sightseeing. Summer months are extremely hot and during the rainy season the area becomes slippery and hence sun season should be avoided.

How to Reach Shivaganga

Shivaganga is located 60km from Bangalore on the way to Tumkur. From Bangalore- pune highway take a left diversion from Dabaspet and travel 6 more km to reach Shivaganga. The nearest railway station is Dabaspet

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  1. What beautiful pictures! This looks like an amazing place to visit!

  2. Looks like a beautiful place to visit! Very informational!

  3. The pictures look great! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Very nice post about this lovely place near Tumkur. Loved this post, well written about your trip. Thanks for sharing this post. Make your trip to this place by booking your bus tickets in VRL Travels .

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