Skandagiri hill view from the base

DIY Hiking Guide To Skandagiri Hill

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Ever wanted to start trekking but had trouble finding a solid amateur trek destination? Well, you’re now in luck, as Skandagiri is one of the more beginner-friendly must-do treks in Bengaluru, Karnataka. It is a popular trekking destination among the Bengalurians. The uphill journey on the challenging terrain of boulders and rocks ensconced within the surrounding scenic landscape at the hilltop makes it worth a hike.

Situated approximately 70 Km from Bangalore city, Skandagiri (also known as Kalavara Durga) is one of the Navadurgas around Bengaluru.

The trek also offers you a great opportunity to visit the Papagni Mutt, an ancient temple situated near the parking lot at the base of the hike. A 5-minute walk from here will take you to the checking gate, which also serves as the starting point of the hike.

Skandagiri Hiking Guide

Skandagiri Forest Guard Official Contact

Check post at the trek starting point
Online registration and bags are checked here

Forest Guard, Srikala – 9686347164

Receptionist, Gurunatha – 8722571516

Keep in mind that it is mandatory that you are subject to a comprehensive check by the forest officials. The forest guards will check your bags and your online registration. Following this, they will appoint a reliable guide to accompany you on your trek. 

Network Availability

Airtel. Jio and BSNL offer decent network and cellular coverage throughout the hike.

ATM Availability

There are no ATMs available in close proximity to the entire trek trail. You can find the nearest ATMs in Chikkaballapur town, approximately 3 Km away.

Languages Spoken

Kannada is the only language spoken by forest officials and people in the region.

Parking Availability

There are safe and sufficient parking spaces available near the ancient Papagni Mutt temple. You can also fill your water bottles here from the nearby water tank.

Parking fee – Rs.30 for a two-wheeler & Rs.50 for a four-wheeler.

Restroom Facilities

You can find clean and well-maintained restrooms near the hike-starting gate.

Best Time To Visit

Best time to visit Skandagiri hills

Skandagiri can be visited all year round. So the timing of your travel is dependent on what you wish to enjoy. 

If you visit in the winter, the view will be enclosed in a blanket of mist, making the entire scenic landscape invisible. However, this does make for a very romantic journey as you walk between the clouds. 

During the monsoon and the rainy season, the rocks and boulders are very slippery, making for a less-than-desirable trek. 

During the summer, you get the best sunrise view(s), but you have to ensure that you return well in time to ward off the scorching heat.

How To Reach Skandagiri From Bengaluru?

By Train

The Chikkaballapur railway station (Station code: MKL, 2 Km) is the only nearby railway station. There are trains (not so frequent) from Majestic railway station, Bengaluru.​​ The train journey is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

By Road

If you have your own vehicle, search for Papagni Math or Skandagiri parking on Google Maps. It will lead you straight to the parking area of the trek. You can further navigate from there using the clearly visible signboards that lead you to the checking gate.

If you are dependent on public transport, you can hop on the frequent BMTC buses available from the Majestic bus terminus to Chikkaballapur. From Chikkaballapur, you can hire a tuk-tuk from the station to Kalavara Village (the starting place of the trek), or you can also walk for 3 Km.

 

Where To Eat?

There are no restaurants or snack shops at the base or summit of the hike. Bring food or snacks, especially if you are planning for a sunrise 4 AM hike as no shops would be open at that hour.

After descending down, you can refresh yourself by buying coconut water, just after the forest checking gate. He accepts both online payments and cash. Restaurants can be found after a 15-minute ride from the base.

Things To Do In Skandagiri

Sunrise at Skandagiri hills, Bangalore
Sunrise at Skandagiri Hills

Owing to its spectacular trails, hiking the Skandagiri hills is one of the most popular activities that tourists are allowed to participate in. The details of the Skandagiri hills are given below.

Hiking Details

Distance from Bengaluru: 70 Km

Cost: Rs. 250 + GST per person, inclusive of the guide charges.

Booking: Only 150 people are allowed per day. Online booking is mandatory. So, ensure you register and pay online.

Permission: As Skandagiri is a reserve forest under the jurisdiction of the Karnataka Forest Department, getting the right permissions is mandatory to hike this trail. At the base of the trail, a Forest Officer will check for online registrations and ensure that you are provided with a reliable guide to accompany you on the trail.

Timings: 4 AM to 9 AM. After 9 AM, the gates are closed and there will be a watchman sitting in front of the gate, and trespassing is punishable by law.

Duration: 2 hours for the ascend; 1 – 2 hours to descend.

Hike Distance: 4 Km, one way

Difficulty Level: Moderate and this is highly contingent on your fitness level.

Terrain: The terrain is prominent in stones, rocks, and boulders which are slippery during the rainy and monsoon seasons.

Water Resources: A drinking water tank is situated near the parking lot or temple. Make sure to fill the reusable water bottles because, after that, there is no drinking water found along the hiking route and at the summit.

Summit height: 1350 m

Hiking Route:

Hiking route marked on the rocks along the trail

The trek starts from the Kalavara village and ends at the Shiva temple on the hilltop, which is surrounded by fort ruins. The trek route is marked with red arrows, but owing to the weather and harsh environments, the trail markers are not visible at about 40% – 50% of the journey. However, this is only a mild inconvenience, as the trail is paved in a manner where there is no way to get lost in this hike, as the path guides you straight to the top.

At The Skandagiri Summit:

Temple at the Skandagiri summit
Forts ruins found on the hill top

You can inspect the historically significant Lord Shiva temple with ‘Nandi.’  At the hilltop, you can also marvel at the 18th-century architecture that seems to still be very viable through the fort ruins. The Nandi hills and the other nearby settlements can be seen from the summit of the Skandagiri.

Important Things To Remember

  • The use of plastics and smoking is strictly prohibited. It is your obligation as a tourist and a nature hiker that you do not litter. Collect and drop the waste at the base of the hill or take it back home and dispose of it properly.
  • Illegal trekking is strictly prohibited, and trespassers will be prosecuted.
  • As Skandagiri is popular, it is crowded on weekends and during public holidays. If you want to stay close to nature and enjoy the place with as little human interference as possible, go on weekdays.

Essential Things To Carry

Essential things to carry for the Skandagiri Trek
Head torch and good hiking shoes are highly recommended for the sunrise trek
  • Ensure you carry at least 1L of water per person. You can also fill your water bottles near the water tank at the Papagni Mutt temple.
  • Ensure you carry sufficient snacks and energy bars, as there are no restaurants or food stalls at any part of the trail.
  • Carry all the necessary sun protection like a cap, sunscreen & sunglasses to ensure you can enjoy the hike without being drained by the Sun.
  • Carry a poncho or raincoat to ensure you are protected from sudden rains.
  • We highly stress that you use comfortable shoes that offer good support and have a proper grip for the trek.
  • If you are interested in going for a sunrise trek, then a Head torch needs to be added to your essentials.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Skandagiri a sunrise trek?

Skandagiri is a popular sunrise trek where people usually start hiking as early as 4 AM in the morning from the base. However, owing to safety concerns, night trekking is not allowed in Skandagiri.

Is a guide required for the Skandagiri trek?

Yes, as per the rules, a guide is mandatory for the Skandagiri trek. You will get your respective guide’s contact number when you register for the trek. 

During the sunrise trek that we went on, each group was accompanied by a random guide. For the 7 AM slot, we noticed the guides did not tag along. But from our experiences, we are confident that the Skandagiri hike can be done independently.

Is camping allowed at Skandagiri?

No, overnight camping and bonfires are strictly prohibited in Skandagiri.

Are the Skandagiri and the Nandi hills the same?

Skandagiri and Nandi Hills are different hills situated close to each other. They are approximately 20 Km apart. One can view the Nandi hills from the summit of the Skandagiri.

Can kids do the Skandagiri trek?

Skandagiri is one of the most suitable beginner-friendly treks that can be comfortably hiked by kids above 12 years of age.

We hope this comprehensive trek information has inspired you to collect your gear and plan for your hike. For any further queries or general hiking information and tips, you can comment below. For more travel, and lifestyle tips & hacks you can sign up for our newsletter. 

Until next time, Happy Adventuring,

The Wandering Twins.

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