We’ll be departing at 11:30 PM from Bangalore to reach the base camp at around 2 AM. But rest assured we shall make the best of this 70 km bus journey as this would be the best opportunity for all of us to get to know each other. And our trek-leads have some fun ice-breaking sessions planned designed to do just that.
Once at the base camp, you can either take a quick power nap and catch up on your sleep or take a short walk under the moonlit sky along with a whiff of the midnight breeze as we while away some time before the exhilarating Skandagiri trek.
The trek starts at 3:30 AM from the Papagni Temple near the village of Kalwara towards the forest checkpoint where we’ll have our permits checked and forest guides allocated. From this point, you’ll be making your way through pitch darkness over rocky terrains with just the silence of the forests for company.
The trek starts off along a semi-dry trail from the checkpoint for a few minutes before making its way through thick forest cover. You soon make your way up through the dense foliage into more rocky terrains as the hike becomes more challenging and the inclines steeper. But the views of Chikkaballapura town glistening in the distance amidst the darkness makes it well worth the effort.
All through this narrow trail, one will find several rocky platforms in between where you can take a quick break to catch your breath or simply take in the midnight views down below. But don’t take too long as the sunrise will be anywhere around 5:45 AM and you need to make sure you reach the peak before that. Keep a steady pace as you climb closer to the peak with the sky now giving out various hues of blue and orange letting you know it’s almost show time! The chilly early morning breeze also adds to the electricity in the air.
Once at the peak, find your perfect spot and make yourself comfortable for the spectacle about to follow. Watch as the Sun plays hide and seek with the clouds as the first rays of light hits your cold and tired bodies and all the panoramic views of the surrounding hills and fields down below comes into view. Don’t forget to catch a sight of the beautiful Nandi hills located close by as well. One of the best things about the Skandagiri trek is that it rewards you with a different sunrise every time, making it a unique experience each time you visit these ancient hills.
In total there are six such ruined fortresses along the trail which lead to the ancient temple at the top. In case you’ve missed them in the dark, do try spotting them on your way down from the peak. The descend offers a completely different experience as you can now enjoy the glorious views all throughout the trail.
We’ll be making our way back to the base camp around 9 AM from where we’ll hop back into our buses and stop for some well-deserved breakfast on our way back to Bangalore. Expect to be back at Bangalore by around 2 PM.