B R Hills and K Gudi
This weekend was booked for a day trip to Biligiri Rangana Hills, popularly known as BR Hills. This hill range is located in Chamaraja Nagar district of Karnataka and is famous for its wide variety of flora and fauna. Since we could cover Shivana Samudra falls (Gaganachukki and Bharachukki Falls) on the way, we decided to revisit this falls en route.
My brother accompanied us in this trip. As we had a long day to go, we started at 6.15 AM. Our first destination was Gaganachukki Falls which is around 120 km from home. We traveled via Kanakapaura > Malavalli road and reached Gaganachukki Falls at 8.45 AM. It was a huge disappointment to see no water in the falls. Localites told us that the water will be released from the dam after August, and then the falls will be filled with water. We were expecting it to be with full flow like how it was during our last visit. But, we were wrong. After clicking few photos of the dry falls, we had our tasteless breakfast at the Mayura hotel near the parking area of the falls. We always wonder why they provide such bad food when they get to serve enough customers. Since there was no water in the Gaganachukki Falls, we decided to skip visiting Bhara Chukki Falls which is just 10 kms away.
See here for the post on our last visit to these falls.
B R Hills
Next, we proceeded towards B R Hills which is around 50 kms from Gaganachukki falls view point. On the way, within 10-15 mins drive from the falls, we came across a beautiful narrow road which had a lake like water body on one side of the road,which was filled with water. We did a photo and selfie video session near this and then started towards B R Hills. We traveled via Kollegala. The road is maintained fairly well. There was almost zero traffic on road which made the drive blissful.
B R Hills is known for its wildlife sanctuary, commonly known as Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary or BRT Wildlife Sanctuary. It is also declared as a tiger reserve by Karnataka government in 2011. This hill range is considered to be the link between eastern and western ghats. As soon as we entered the gates of the sanctuary in B R hills, landscape changed to forest and the narrow road went through dense green forest. The season was apt to visit this forest. There was greenery everywhere. We were expecting any animal to show up at any point. But to our surprise, nothing showed up, not even a deer. Though we felt little sad, we had great time going through the forest. It is advisable NOT to stop the vehicle in the forest.
As we were nearing the temple, we could see a small village with few houses, hospital, school, etc. There is a junction wherein you have to take right towards Biligiri Ranganathaswamy temple. The road from here on is bit narrow and steep as well. Near the temple, the road was curvy and it was under construction when we visited. One can get a mesmerizing view of the surrounding hills and forests from the parking area near the temple. We reached the temple at around 12 noon.
Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple
This temple has been a place of pilgrimage for more than 500 years. The temple is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha and is located at the edge of a rock cliff. This rock cliff looks white in color and hence the name of the hills (Biligiri means white hills in Kannada). In this temple, the God is depicted in a unique standing pose and he is accompanied by his consort Ranganayaki. The temple attracts large number of tourists during festivities. Luckily, there was less crowd on the day of our visit which made us complete our Darshan within 15 minutes. Outside the temple, you can get breathtaking view of nature. There are viewpoints on both front and back sides of the temple. Around the temple, there are lot of monkeys. Be aware !! Do not carry eatables openly, if you do not have the intention of feeding them.
B R hills is also home for Soligas, whose name means ‘Children of the Bamboo’. They are the first tribe in India to have their right to use ancestral land inside a tiger reserve, i.e B R Hills. Their main source of income is harvesting and sale of Non-timber Forest Produce (NTFP) like honey, nellikai (gooseberry) and bamboo. You can find people dressed up in tribal wear near the temple, celebrating their rituals.
After spending some time in the temple, we decided to start towards our next destination K Gudi at 12.30 PM. Kyathadevara Gudi is popularly known as K Gudi and is just 20 km from Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple. At the junction where we took right for BR Temple, take the left road which leads to K Gudi. There is a wilderness camp offered by Jungle lodges in K Gudi and apart from this, nothing in particular to see in K Gudi. But, we recommend you to take this extra 20 km pleasant drive if you ever visit B R Hills.
The road leading to K Gudi traverses through a dense forest with space for only one vehicle to pass in most of the places. There was absolutely no traffic in this forest route. The thought of this forest being home for numerous wild animals, the lonely road, and thick forest definitely makes your drive an adventurous one. Avoid stopping the vehicle in this route. Unfortunately, we could not see any animals except for few deers en route. Near the Jungle lodges’ wilderness camp, we could see 2-3 wild boars. After the jungle lodges, the wildlife sanctuary continued for about 3 kms.
Note: Since there will be very less vehicles on the way to K Gudi and there are chances of animals crossing, take extra precautions if you are going alone.
After the exit of the forest’s wildlife sanctuary gate, we proceeded towards Chamarajanagar which was around 20 km. But the road was so pathetic that the 20 km distance took us around 45 mins to cover. We had lunch at a small hotel named Shingar Sagar near Pachappa circle in Chamarajanagar and started towards home at 3.30 PM. We took the Kollegala > Malavalli > Kanakapura route and reached home at 7 PM.
- Route Travelled: BTM Layout > Kanakapura > Gaganachukki Falls > Kollegala > B R Hills > K Gudi > Chamaraja Nagar > Kollegala > Malavalli > Kanakpura > BTM Layout.
- Total Distance (To & Fro): 404 km
- Mileage (Car): 19 km/l
- Fuel expense: 1488 Rs
- Total expense: 2073 Rs
- Photos: B R Hills and K Gudi Photos