Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Conquering Madhugiri Fort!!

Bike trips are always exciting but sadly I don't get to do it very often. The last time I went on a bike trip was to Coorg in 2012 (Clutch Breaks and Gears). Off late use of the 'M' word has increased in my family and it made me realize that there are so many things that still needs to be done before I get a +1. It so happens that most of my friends are facing the same situation. So a few months back we started planning various things but anything hardly worked out. So as things work out, you guys can see more and more posts being written in this blog (no, not a threat). 

[ PS: Click on the pics to see the full resolution pictures]

So 3 of us - Amruth, Vikram and me decided to meet at Guruguntepalya at 8am and head out to Madhugiri Fort via Tumkur Road. We carried a bag with us to keep a water bottle and to dump our jackets once we reach the fort. I left home at 7:30am and thanks to it being a Sunday Morning, I covered the distance of 22kms from my home to Guruguntepalya in 30mins via the Outer Ring Road. And thus began the awesome bike trip. The Tumkur toll road hardly had any vehicles at this hour, and we totally respected the traffic rules. The speed limit was 80kmph and we made sure we followed it (chuckles). Also two wheelers need not have to pay the toll, so it was an added bonus. 

So the route to Madhugiri is pretty simple. Keep going on Tumkur road for around 30kms until you reach Dabaspete flyover. Take right from under the flyover and go straight for around 50kms to reach Madhugiri. We had decided to have breakfast on the way but then by the time we got hungry we had already left the highway and had taken the deviation at Dabaspete. Luckily for us we passed a small village called Urdigere and there was a decent hotel (Hotel Shri Annaporneshwari) where we had tatte idli and dosa. The breakfast for 3 of us costed us a total of 110 bucks. 

The stretch of road till Korategere is being converted to highway so the roads are either too good or there are no roads at all. The stretch of road after Korategere till Madhugiri has lots of pot holes. The view through out the route is amazing with lots of farms and surrounded by mountains. 

So after 2.5hrs and around 120kms we reached Madhugiri fort. We parked the bikes at the foot of the fort and started walking. There are a series of doors as you start climbing the fort and the difficulty of trek increases as you advance from one door towards the next. I tried to click as many pictures as I could, so from here on I will try to help you experience the trek through pictures. Hope you all will enjoy the captions before each picture.

So this is the main gate, once you enter this there is no turning back (Just kidding, you can give up like a loser any time)

So this is how the fort looks from the foot of the hill. [ The fort is a lot higher then it looks ]

So the trek from the first to third door is pretty much straight forward. Just walk and climb up a series of steps. It is easier than it sounds. Once you cross the third door you face the below path. But before you climb this, you can see around and explore the fort. This would be the last time on this trek where you will get to walk on a flat surface. [ Actually once you reach the top, it is flat again but until then you will remember the acute angle, obtuse angle and the right angle]

Yes, click a few pics, look around and see how beautiful the nature is. The only high structures you will see are the hills.

This spot is still 1/5th of the trek, so before you proceed further, you can take a slight detour to climb this little view point which is at the level 1 of the fort.

Once you are back down and proceed further, you will get to this large door.I would ask you not to waste much time at this point because there is still a long way to go.

Beyond this door is the staircase to hell (literally). Assuming that you don't trek very often, you will want to take atleast two breaks before you get to the next door.

You are a step closer to the destination. Keep saying this till you dont see any more steps in your path. You can see your destination from here. 

After the nearly vertical climb, it is time to climb nearly horizontally. 
Yes. The door. Congratulations on completing 50% of the trek. Or in this case reading half of my post.

Take a little rest, drink a little water and look up to realize that the distance to the destination is now looking even more far then how it looked before. And yes, no side rails to hold and climb. Time to get on 4 legs just to be safe.

Yay. We made it. Look at how beautiful it is from here. Worth taking a picture right. Also enjoy the cool breeze at this point.

 Lie down but not for long. 

At this point you will realize that you have not reached the top though you thought you did. This where you feel like giving up. We thought about it too. Then my friend Vikram reminded us that we need to keep moving and aim high. If you need more inspiration remember the 'Ziddi' song from the movie Mary Kom, he said. 

A little more to climb. We are almost there. Yes drink little more water and take more breaks but don't give up. The next door will take you to the top of the structure that you see in the below picture.
Yes. We pushed ourself to reach until this and only we know how happy we were to see this view.

 YAY.. We did it.. We reached the top.
 Or did we. There was more to climb.

We climbed for a few more minutes and finally spotted another door. With hopes of it being the last door, we climbed. Almost walking like zombies now, we had very little water remaining so we prayed that this would be the last one.

And yes, it indeed was. After 3hrs of climbing, we had reached the top. But I was not happy. I wanted to climb more ( :P ). So I somehow managed to climb on the wall of the structure. Had a tough time keeping my balance and then getting down but it was worth it. 

After spending almost 45mins resting there, we started climbing down. With very small breaks, we managed to reach the foot of the fort in about 45mins. It was one hell of a trek and now we had to ride 120kms to reach back to Bangalore. 

Few tips if you are planning to climb:
1) Get sufficient water to make it to the top and a little extra to give it to those people who just started climbing without getting water.
2) Carry light food like biscuits or cucumber if you feel you cant last for around 5hrs
3)  Wear trekking shoes which has proper grip. Coming back down is tricky and you will most likely lose balance. 
4) Keep going with minimum photography breaks till you reach the top. 

Other alternatives:
If you do not want to ride to Madhugiri on your own vehicle then you can choose to take the KSRTC buses. There is a bus every 20 mins or so from Bangalore

If you have time:
Well if you have decided to take your own vehicle then you can visit the Devarayanadurga temple which is between Dabbaspete and Koretegere. You will get to drive up a scenic ghat route till the foot of the hill after which you will need to climb 200 steps to reach the temple. This temple closes at 5pm so plan your visit accordingly. The view from this temple is also amazing.

You will get a lot of fresh vegetables on the way and they are pretty cheap compared to the prices in Bangalore. There are a lot of vendors who have stalls by the road near Udigere. We bought 6 large cucumbers for Rs 20 and also a dozen carrots for Rs 20. They will wash and cut these vegetables if you want to eat it there itself.

Hoping this post has motivated (or demotivated) you to take up this trek. I am sure once you reach the top, you will not regret it. Ending the post with panaroma shots that I clicked at various stages of the trek.

Do leave your comments about this post. Would really appreciate a feedback as I am planning more trips and would love to share my experiences in a way that people would enjoy.


  1. Your idea of writing it this way has worked out :) Kudos..I shud have been there with you guys :(

  2. Nice one. We too experienced same in our trek to Madhugiri.

  3. Looks like it was a lot of fun

  4. Nice one ! Good choice of words and pictures . If only the video had a voice over :P

  5. Nice one. You should consider adding your travelogue on medium too