At a distance of 61 km from Bangalore City Junction and 5 km from Chikballapur, Skandagiri is an ancient mountain fortress lies at an altitude of about 1350 m. It is geographically located close to Nandi HIlls. This is among the best places for trekking near Bangalore especially famous for night treks, camping and bird watching.
Skandagiri is also known as Kalavara Durga. It has an ancient dilapidated fort that belonged to a local king and was later concurred and used by Tipu Sultan. After Tipu's downfall, the fort was ignored and laid in ruins. Today one can only see parts of the fort wall in some places.
The Skandagiri trek is a moderately difficult trek. There are two routes to reach the base of the hill. One is from Chikballapur town and the other as a detour from the road that leads to Nandi Hills. The trek starts from the Papagni Temple at the foot of the hill. This steep and fantastic trek through a maze of dense shrub is highly interesting. There are six series of stonewalls protecting an abandoned ancient temple on the hilltop.
Skandagiri is more famous for night trekking. Hundreds of people gather there on Saturday and Sunday mornings to watch the sunrise. It is best climbed very early in the morning or in a full moon night. Sunrise seen from the top is breathtaking. At the top of the hill is a stretch of flat area that has a temple and few stone pillars belonging to ancient houses. This 8 km trek comprises of ascending and descending through rugged terrains and can be completed within 4-5 hours of ascending and descending.
On the uphill trek you will encounter two caves. One is at the base of the hill and the other is on the midway - approximately thirty feet from the top. Trekkers must carry water, first aid box, snacks and torch. Local villagers camp on the peak and sell omelets, cold drinks, tea and other refreshments. They even gather wood for you in case you want a campfire and can serve as guides over the terrain.
The best time to visit Skandagiri is from May to December.