My latest trip was to Magadi, Savandurga and Manchanabele Dam. Out of this I had already visited Manchanabele dam earlier. Let me share how the idea of this tour came up. When I went to Shivaganga, on the way I found a circle with a yellow Karnataka tourism board. It says left turn takes to Magadi, Savandurga and Manchanabele dam. Promptly, I remembered seeing a board 6 km to Savandurga at Manchanadele dam. So this road joins at Manchanabele dam, which in turn join Mysore road. So one can take this detour at Tumkur road and come at Mysore road. vow! Good finding. So it was time to explore it.
We took a left turn on Tumkur road (NH4) which goes to Shivaganga. Once we reached the circle with the Karnataka Tourism board, took left turn for Magadi. The country side is very scenic – stones, hills, greenery, crops, Just awesome! For most part road is good. A little stretch towards Magadi is bad but motorable. From the circle Magadi is 29 km, Savandurga 41 km and Manchanabele dam 47 km. After riding little bit from the circle, one should be able to see the back side of Shivaganga hill. It is a good place for photography. It took us over an hour to reach Magadi from the circle. On the way we encountered couple of Banyan trees. One of them was very unique and that some its logs has been chopped is easily understandable for vehicular movement.
Magadi was the Capital of the then local ruler Kempe Gowda. Magadi is very small town with hardly any sign of urban development. At the circle there a few shops where you can have tea and snacks. At the circle if you take left, little further you will find a petrol bunk on the right hand side. Little further on the left hand side you will find the entrance to Ranganathaswamy temple. This temple is quite historical and unique in design. The main deity here is lord ranganathaswamy (Lord Vishnu). The temple had names of saints like Thiruvallar etc which are not native to Karnataka. I was curious how come Tamil names came in this temple. The mystery unrevealed when I read at the entrance that the temple had been built by the Cholas in between 11th – 12th century AD. Cholas were the rulers of Tamil Nadu. The colorful gopuram of the temple is quite similar to temples in Tamil Nadu like Madurai Meenakshi temple. The temple complex had many places of worship inside. The specialty as described by the priest is that the idol of Ranganathasway is enlarging. A note of caution, there may be a little issue of begging.
As of now we were on Magadi road which connects to Bangalore after a distance of 49 km. We wanted to go Savandurga so at the main road, we took left and came back to the Magadi main circle. From here left and you will be able to see a Karnataka tourism board saying Savandurga 12 km and Manchanabele dam 18 km. So embarked on our journey to Savandurga. From here the roads are quite good. Keep driving straight unless you feel the urge to take pictures. Around 8 km from here one will see a board asking to take left turn for Savanduraga. From here Savandurga is 4 km. This 4 km stretch is not in good condition but mortorable. At the foot of Savandurga hill, there is a forest park with good sitting arrangement and a children park. There is no animals in the park now but empty net chambers suggest there used to be animals earlier. Entry fee is Re 1. Parking is free. Savandurga is a single monolithic stone hill. This hill is not that high and steep. I was told there that climbing is not that difficult. On top there is a Basava statue. One can nice panoramic view from top. To reach the top enter the park, continue walking straight until you see a gate on the right hand side. Enter the gate, reach for the hill base and start climbing. There is no eatery around, so carry food and water as necessary. You can also go there by bus, read Nithin Kamath’s trip for details.
At the base of the hill outside there is a temple. At the hilltop there used to be a fort which was finally captured by Lord Cornwallis from Tipu Sultan in 1792. Durga in Kannada means fort, this is why it is called Savandurga.
Following this we started our journey for Manchanabele dam. From Savandurga, Manchanabele dam is 6 km. After reaching the same junction where we took left turn for Savandurga, we took left turn again. Once you reach VF Doddi, you need to take the first left to go to Manchanabele dam. From VG Doddi, its a straight single road of 5 km to Manchanabele dam. This narrow winding road is very picturesque and a treat to ride on. For sometime I though I was in a different world and forgot about Bangalore traffic altogether. There are yellow Karnataka tourism boards on the way showing the distance and direction, refer them as required. From Savandurga to Manchanabele dam took us little over 30 minutes with few stops for photography.
I have been to Manchanabele dam earlier. But this time I noticed few new developments as follows:
1. Amount water in the Manchanabele dam backwater was more and was looking more beautiful.
2. A signboard cautioning people not to go to isolated places to avoid robbery.
3. A new motorable road to reach the shore of the Manchanabele dam backwater.
I even saw more people. You can take bath here, do bird watching in early morning, little bit of hiking, photography and picnic. Eateries are not available bring your own food and water. Read more about Manchanabele dam from my earlier post. Soon we left Manchababele dam for Bangalore. At Dodda Alada Mara, give little halt for tea. At the junction with Mysore road, you will have to take left turn to reach Bangalore. Reached Bangalore by 5.30 pm. This trip was an eventful one. The biggest finding of this tip was a new direct route from Tumkur road to Mysore road without entering Bangalore city. The only other route available in this regard is NICE road. But NICE road is a paid one and this is free. This route is very good for bike rides and trips.
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