Madhugiri fort hiking guide

DIY Hiking Guide To Madhugiri Fort

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Madhugiri Betta, or Madhugiri Fort, is located at the top of a monolithic hill at an altitude of 1118.6 m above sea level. Situated in the Tumkur district of Karnataka, Madhugiri is said to be the second-largest monolith in Asia.

A hike to the Madhugiri Fort is adventurous and challenging (especially one section of the hike) for beginners and those afraid of heights.

This DIY blog will help you with all the information you need to trek this hill on your own.

Madhugiri Fort Hiking Guide

Madhugiri Fort History

Madhugiri Fort - The largest monolith in Asia
Madhugiri Fort – The largest monolith in Asia

Mentioned as “Maddagiri Halli” in an inscription of the Vijayanagara king Harihara, the name was changed to Madhugiri later in the 20th century. In 1601 AD, Maha Nada Prabhu Immadi Chikkappagowda of Bijawara built the Madhugiri Fort. The kings of Mysore, Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan, and the Marathas expanded and built this fort further. There are 15 doors, among which the Antarala, Diddi, and Mysore doors are the most important ones.

How To Reach Madhugiri From Bangalore?

Frequent buses are available from Bangalore to Tumkur (46 Km) and Dobbaspet (57 Km). You can also board a train from Bangalore to Tumkur (Station code: TK). 

You have to board another bus from the Tumkur or Dobbaspet bus stand to reach Madhugiri. Madhugiri bus stand is located very near the fort.

The best and most convenient way to reach Madhugiri is by using your own vehicle, as direct buses from Bangalore are not as frequent.

Network Availability

Madhugiri has very good connectivity from Airtel and Jio on all parts of the trail until the summit.

ATM Availability

Many ATMs are available in the region. Although there is no entry fee, we recommend you have a few bucks with you. Digital payments are accepted in Madhugiri.

Languages Spoken

Most people speak the regional language of Kannada. The officers at the entrance were able to speak little English. So communication will not be much of an issue. 

Parking Availability

Ample free parking space is available before the hike starting point.

Restroom Facilities

No restroom is available at the base or the trek starting point. Come prepared, as you will need to answer nature’s call outdoors.

Related: Use these super helpful public restroom tips during your travels. 

Best Time To Visit

Madhugiri fort at hilltop

The best time to visit Madhugiri Fort is between January and June. Start early in the day to avoid heat and humidity.

Visit the fort when it is not raining, as the terrain is extremely slippery, and it is not recommended to hike during monsoons.

Where To Eat?

You don’t have many options in Madhugiri. But there are a couple of vegetarian hotels that can be spotted on your way to Madhugiri. We ate at Shri Vaaru Grand, and the food was good.

Where To Stay?

The stays are very basic in Madhugiri. You’ll get decent accommodation in Tumkur. Since Madhugiri can be done as a day trip from Bangalore, you don’t need to stay.


Things To Do In Madhugiri

Hiking the Madhugiri fort is the most popular activity in the region. You can also visit the Madhugiri Falls located nearby.

Hiking Details

Distance to the base: 105 Km from Bangalore

Entry Fee: Free

Registration: No registration or pre-online booking is required.

Timings: From 9 AM to 6 PM. Last entry is not permitted beyond 3 PM.

Duration: 2-3 hours for the ascend and 2 hours to descend.

Permission: Permission is needed to hike the Madhugiri Fort. Carry a valid ID proof with you. You need to register your vehicle number, photo ID, and contact number in the register near the entrance. When you exit, you’ll have to mark your safe return.

Summit Height: 1118.6 m

Hike Distance: 1.7 Km one-way

Difficulty Level: Moderate, highly subjected to your fitness level.

Terrain: steps, rocks, and boulders

Hiking Route:

Madhugiri fort entrance

After stepping through the entrance gates, you’ll notice a huge fort in the front. But that’s not your destination. You’ll have to climb further to reach the top.

The trail starts with numerous flights of stairs with twists and turns throughout the path. The ruins of the forts can be seen along the way.

Water storage tank located en-route

Move further until you reach the pond, which usually dries up during the summer.

hiking route with railings

The steep sloppy climb with iron railings starts here. The steps carved from the stone will direct your path. Names are carved on different walls and stones along the way. You can also use them for navigation. With every turn, there is a fort entrance. Cross a couple of such entrances to reach the most challenging part of the hike.

The challenging part of the hike

My legs were trembling while I was crossing a few steps sideways. The steepness and damaged railings didn’t help my case. A thin rope was tied, but that was useless as it would mean putting myself at more risk. So while you hike, take every step with extreme caution and ensure you place your feet firmly.

Crossing this marks the completion of half the distance of the hike. After crossing the following fort entrance, there will be no railings.

Steep terrain without support

But with the carved steps or rough boulders, it’ll be fairly easy for anyone wearing good hiking shoes to walk the path. After a few meters, there are neither the steps nor the railings. You’ll have to climb up the massive boulder with bare hands.

With every stretch that you ascend, you’ll feel the wins getting stronger. You’ll have to cut through the resistance and keep going.

Cross the fort walls and ascend further on the next stretch. After a few meters, you’ll find another fort wall. This short 50m wall is steep and has a vertical drop on your right. Stick to the left and climb the boulder by holding on to the nearby rock. Take your time and be cautious.

On hiking further up, you’ll reach the fort. You’ll have to return via the same route.

At the Madhugiri Summit:

Madhugiri fort premises, Tumkur

A huge squared fort welcomes you. On entering the fort premises, you can spot a hoisted flag marking the summit. A couple of storage containers can also be spotted here.

View from the summit or hill top

On going further, you must climb the final flight of stairs to witness surrounding areas and hills. The view is exquisite and the feeling of being a conqueror sets in.

Ruins of the fort

The building below has ruined rooms with demolished walls and pillars on either side. Explore all the corners of the fort, as it is huge.

View of surrounding hills from the hilltop fort

From the top, 360° views of the entire town of Madhugiri, beautiful lakes, and nearby hills can be seen.

Important Things To Remember

  • A guide is not required to hike Madhugiri Hill.
  • Bring any photo identity proof like Aadhar with you. You have to register your entry and exit near the entrance of the fort.
  • The use of plastics and smoking is strictly prohibited. As a hiker, it is incumbent on you to be responsible and not litter. Collect and bring back the waste with you and dispose of them in proper dedicated bins.
  • Illegal trekking is strictly prohibited.
  • There is no water stream or shops once you enter the fort.
  • Monkeys are found at the start of the trail. Beware of your belongings, and do not feed them. Read the blog to learn how to deal with the monkeys.

Essential Things To Carry

  • Ensure you carry at least 1 L of water per person.
  • Take some energy bars and snacks.
  • Have your first aid kit handy.
  • Cap, sunscreen & sunglasses are essential to ward off the summer heat.
  • Carry a poncho or raincoat in case of rain.
  • Buy sticks for support at the base, or bring hiking poles, especially if you are a beginner.
  • Above all, ensure you wear comfortable shoes with good traction and grip.

Read the blog to know more about what we usually carry for day hikes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a guide required for the Madhugiri trek?

The probability of getting lost in the Madhugiri hike is nil. The straight visible route will lead you to the summit. Thereby, a guide is not required to hike Madhugiri.

Is camping allowed in Madhugiri?

No, camping is strictly not allowed in Madhugiri.

Is a GPS file required to hike Madhugiri?

As the hiking path is visible and straight, you don’t require a GPS file. If you need a GPS file, drop an email to

Can the Madhugiri hike be done in a day?

Madhugiri is usually done as a day hike. One day is enough to hike Madhugiri. You can return to Bangalore or your place of stay on the same day.

If you find this blog helpful in planning your trip to Madhugiri Hills, comment below. For more extensive hiking guides such as this and travel tips, guides, and itineraries, make sure to subscribe to the newsletter and follow us on social media – Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.

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