First half of this post gives all related tourist information about this place and second half is my personal experience during the trek to Skanda betta: (Go to 2nd Half directly-Click here)
1. How to reach Skandagiri betta?
Find this place on Wikimapia here (Navigate as you need)
To reach here you need to take Hyderabad highway from Bangalore. Reach Yelahanka (via Majestic -Sanky Tank- Mekhri circle - Hebbal or via outer ring road to Hebbal), proceed towards Hyderabad, travel some 40 kms (from Yelahanka) and you will reach Chikballapur town. From here you need to take a left turn to reach Papagni Math. Seek help from local people for exact directions. There's motorable road till Papagni Math, which is at the bottom of the Karavarahalli betta. You can park your vehicle here and start off. Its is around 60-65 kms from Majestic- So one hour would be ideal travel time from Bangalore city.
Alternatively, you can try this also: You'll see the hills from mainroad as you near Chikballapur town. So instead of going till Chikballapur city you make take a left turn somewhere, explore the land on your own, make your own road and reach the hill. (We did the same, found a good grape garden on the way)
3rd option: I'm told there's a motorable road from Nandi hills to this place. You may go to Nandi hills, spend time there and later take that road and reach here (take help from locals for guidance)
2. What is the best time / season to go Skanda Giri?: Post rainy season is best time to increase the chances of seeing that lovely clouds you saw in first slide show.(Such clouds/fogs can be felt in high altitude during post rainy season (Say October through winter months till early Feb) Luck also plays a role. One the day of travel if the sky is clear you'll miss the fun.
3. Should we take anyone's permission to trek at Kandavara betta?
There is a forest department office near Papagni Math. Take permission from them
Read about my another trekking expedition to AnantaGiri hills (A.P) here
4. Can we spend night there? (On top of the Skanda hill)?
Lots of people do that these days... Moonlight trek and overnight camp... Seeing the popularity some villagers have even set up stalls selling Omlet and Tea...
5. Safety aspects at Karavaralli betta
Carry first aid, lots of water. No water source is available on the hill. No help will be available within 5-10 km radius.
6. Will it be too tough for ladies to climb?
Not at all. They can join. There're spacious places on the way up where you can pause and take rest.
7. Should we hire a vehicle? Or Public transport is available?
Best go in personal vehicle. Cabs would charge minimal of 300 kms or so while total to and fro distance will be just around 150-200 kms. Buses are available at irregular intervals from Chickballapur town, auto or other vehicles can also be hired...
8. How much time it takes?
Travel time from Bangalore city to this place-90 mins approx. Time to climb: We started at around 10 AM and were down by around 3 pm (Including breaks and rests and lunch etc). If you plan well you can cover Both Nandi Hills and Skanda betta on Same day.
PART II- Experience Account
I received an email forward early 2007 with some interesting photos of this place which triggered my interest in the same. See slide show below:
I circulated a mail to my Bangalore based friends to check a possible outing to this place. After a month’s time, after irritating everyone with a picnic proposal more formal than a business proposal , the mission was accomplished with 8 enthusiastic participants, as detailed in the photo below
The team: From right to left: Jayasimha U, Giriraj B M , Venugopal G R , N R Bhat, Deviprasad Shetty, Subramanya A, Vishwanath. (Note: The eight person is Shrinidhi H, who is not in picture because he was taking this snap. We also clarify that the person with a cigarette in his hand, standing between yellow coin phone and yellow banana bunch, is not a part of the our team and his image is inserted by Google to promote a cigarette brand, as a part of its adsense program :)
Having enough bikes eliminated the need for renting a vehicle and we were on track almost on time. We finished breakfast at a restaurant near Yelahanka. Traffic was less and road was clear, soon we were far away from city. NR Bhat had done some research using Google Map and stopped us at a shortcut road which would take us to the hill. We had to call back Subramanya who had cruised several miles ahead on his Karizma. Taking guidance from villagers we reached the Papagni Math, at the bottom of the hill. (We also spent a few moments at a grapes garden on the way)
Couple of people from Forest department conducted a brief inquiry before giving us a business visa to the hill. We started off with an unconventional route and slowly but steadily reached the top of the hill in few hours time. We exhausted our water resources but the water melon we carried all the way quenched the thirst. There is a small water body on top of the hill but unfortunately we could not locate it. The sun and the wind were friendly and the uphill journey wasn’t that difficult. The view from top was beautiful.
All images I took with my Olympus FE 170 are below.
If you are facing trouble viewing the flash slideshow above, pls check here
We were down the hill by 3pm. We could have covered some more places before reaching home but everyone had different plans, so we departed after that.
This place can be made more tourist friendly by proving enough information and infrastructure (The nearby Nandi Hills is well maintained and far more popular). Not much info is available on net about this place. Chikballapur municipality has some info which can be found here
Check the videos:
Update: Photos taken by Jayasimha can be viewed on flikr here
Giri has uploaded one of his videos here
Similar: Anantagiri Hills Hyderabad | Trekk to TADA Hills AP |