Adventure / Trekking
At a distance of 21 km from Koratagere, 48 km from Tumkur and 106 km from Bangalore, Madhugiri is a town in Tumkur district of Karnataka. Madhugiri is famous for a hill which is the second largest monolithic rock hill in Asia after Savandurga. It lies at an altitude of 3,930 feet and is becoming a famous destination for trekking from Bangalore.
There is a fort on the slopes of the hill which derives its name Madhugiri from the Honey bee colonies that were abundant during those days. Antaralada Bagilu, Diddibagilu, and Mysore Gate are the three gateways of the fort. A series of doorways lead to the hilltop. There is a temple of Gopalakrishna at the top of the hill. Both the temple and the fort stand in a ruined condition today due to lack of maintenance.
The construction of original mud fort was started around 1678 during the reign of Raja Heera Gowda and was finally completed around 1740 AD. Further fortification was carried out by Hyder Ali, who added huge arches, watch towers and large circular granaries. It was under the control of the British for a short duration. It was used by the British to jail the mutineers of the first India's Independence struggle in 1857.
There are four levels from the bottom to top and each level has a wall with circular bastions. The walls are about 6 feet tall with slits at regular intervals. Throughout the climb to the fort there are huge tanks used for the storage of rain water. The trek to Madhugiri is of moderate to difficult level and takes about 1.5 hours one way.
The trek starts at the bottom of the fort. The steep slopes and the wind often make the ascent a challenge. The initial phase of the trekking has well laid steps. In some places there were small steps carved out on the rock. These steps made it easier to climb the steep slope. A little further up the steepness increases drastically.
Some of the stretches of the trek are quite dangerous with 50 to 70 degrees slope. Railing is installed to help visitors cross this hurdle. After 30-40 minutes trek, visitors reached the halfway point. This point offers some spectacular view of the hills surrounding the fort. From this point there are no steps or railings and visitors have to trek on plain rock.
Once on the top visitors can explore the palace, Gopalakrishna temple and the barracks which are in ruins. The hilltop has few other fort remains which can be explored within 30 minutes. The view from the peak of the Madhugiri is amazing.
Madhugiri village at the bottom, also known as Maddagiri, has old temples of Venkataramanaswami and Malleshwara built by the Vijayanagara feudatories in the Dravidian style.
October to March is the best time to visit Madhugiri. Visitors need to carry plenty of water and some snacks.