Putting the fire out, he signals all of us to start making our way towards the bus. It was 6 pm and it was time to head back to Bangalore. After spending too much time locked up in my room doing a 9-5 job, I was in desperate need of a short break. Breaking my head trying to find places to trek near Bangalore, I accidentally discovered a spot about 65 km West of Bangalore. A backpacker’s group on Facebook arranges a trek to Hutridurga every weekend.
I got my name registered for the weekend, paid for the trip and now here we are sharing stories from our best treks with fellow travelers when our new friend aka our tour guide tells us “there is nothing we haven’t seen in this jungle all these years”. As we wait for him to share his spooky stories with us, he signals us to start packing and move.
Hutridurga – the safe haven
As described by our tour guide Brijesh, Hutridurga is one of the nine hillforts built around Bangalore back in the 16th Century. One of the closest getaways for folks in Bangalore or near Tumkur, Hutridurga will delightfully assault all your senses. This is a safe haven for those looking to getaway for a few hours to break the monotony the pandemic has assured us all with.
Just a short drive from Bangalore, this place let’s you peace out with no touristy crowd to disturb your vibe. Isolated from the rest of Karantaka, the air here is crisp and nature is at its purest form. Drink in the stunning views, fill your lungs with fresh air, prance around and get those legs moving. A change of scenary at a time like this does wonders to your mind and body.
Book a safe, sanitized cab with a reliable car rental company and enjoy a day out with friends and family.
En route Hutridurga
My trip to Hutridurga started at 6 in the morning from Silk Board. We stopped briefly for breakfast and then continued on our journey without any halts.
It took us an hour and a half to cover 65 km by road. The time was 7:45 am. Excited. Thrilled. I am beaming with happiness to be finally out in the open. Brijesh gives us exactly 10 minutes to freshen up before we start the trek.
I look around, the jungle is unsually silent. I grab my backpack from the boot of the traveler van and hang it around my shoulders. The silence here is deafening. There is not a bird in sight, not a sound of a leaf falling nor an animal to be seen around. The sky is clear and the air here feels heavy.
We start the trek with Brijesh leading us. He tells us “forests are the most welcoming places on earth if you treat them well”. Clinging to our water bottles and broken tree branches, the hike gets interesting with each new turn and climb.
From encountering a leopard to skinny dipping in the ice cold waters of Uttarakhand; the fascinating tales of travelers kept me going. And in no time, we reached the peak of the mountain. Perched on a hilltop is a temple and around it is a view so magnificient.
Brijesh left us here to with a clear warning to meet him at 6 pm. He adds “staying here after 6 is something you want to avoid”. Brijesh sounds like the shamans of villages. Well, i dont blame him either. After all, he is a child of nature.
We spend the rest of the day roasting chicken, talking endlessly about our pandemic affected travel plans, sharing more spooky stories, and taking a zillion pictures. We see the sun setting beautifully, painting the landscape around in hues of orange, yellow and a little bit of purple. We hear the sound of birds returning to their nests. The chirping gets louder and I hear the calls of the flying squirrels. The air is getting colder, the rustling of leaves merges with other miscellaneous sounds of the forest and we start hearing footsteps everywhere.
We call it a day and follow Brijesh who wants us to board the tempo traveller before it gets pitch dark. My eyes are getting heavy from all the trekking, but I am happy to have finally done this. I am taking back way too many spooky stories from this trip which are surely going to keep me up all night along with a little bit of disappointment for not having spotted a leopard 🙁
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