Of history, spirituality & natural beauty

Of history, spirituality & natural beauty

It is a weekend retreat and a well-known pilgrim spot near Bangalore that hundreds of people visit.

Devarayanadurga, a scenic hill spot, is famous for ancient temples such as Bhoganarasimha and Yoganarasimha.

About 15 km from Tumkur, situated at an altitude of 3,940 feet, Devarayanadurga has numerous sight-seeing spots like ‘Namada chilume’, ‘Khumbi betta’, deer park and a herbal garden. Devarayanadurga is also known for its rich flora and fauna.

Devarayanadurga got its name from Mysore king Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar who built a fort here with seven entry points. The 17th-century fort ruins can be seen in the surroundings of ‘Khumbi betta’.

The hill temples were patronised by the successive rulers of Wodeyar dynasty. Many inscriptions and historical remains dating back to the Hoysala and Vijayanagar periods have been found in and around Devarayanadurga.

Near the hillside village is a small lake called ‘Bukkasamudra’ built by a feudatory ruler under the Vijayanagar king. Steeped in mythology, legends and history, Devarayanadurga had several names like  Anebiddasari, Jadakanadurga and Kusumadri. It is also called ‘Karigiri Kshethra’. The name is drawn from a mythological episode in which two Gandharva brothers became kari (elephant) and giri (hillock) following a curse by sage Bhrigu maharshi.

The rocky forest area of Devarayanadurga consists of three hilly elevations set amid a picturesque valley with the backdrop of a scenic village. At the foothill is Devarayandurga village.

Situated at an altitude of 4,200 feet ‘Khumbi betta’ (peak hill) has the most visited Yoganarasimha temple situated beside huge boulders and sacred ponds ‘Narasimha teertha’ and ‘Pada teertha’.

‘Khumbi betta’ is about a two-km climb from Devarayanadurga village. Apart from the stone steps that lead up to ‘Khumbi’, there is also a road from the base of the hill leading up to the hill top.

Midway to the hill top is a cave shrine with the holy ponds of ‘Ramateertha’ and ‘Dhanushteertha’. A government guest house (IB) is also located here. The Bhoganarasimha temple has an exclusive shrine for Goddess Lakshmi. In the vicinity of the main temple is the shrine of Anjaneya (also called Sanjeevaraya) worshipped by the Rajaguru of Krishnadevaraya, Vyasarajaru, who is believed to have installed more than 700 idols of Hanumantha at various places in Karnataka.

Devotees in thousands are known to visit Devarayanadurga during the annual car festival of the Bhoganarasimha temple held in Phalguna masa (Feb-March). The week-long annual jathre-and-temple festivities remain an ancient tradition.

Five km from Bhoganarasimha temple is ‘Namada chilume’. Located on Tumkur-Devarayanadurga road, originally called ‘Oralakallu teertha’, ‘Namada chilume’ is a natural spring created at rocky dry spot. Mythology has it that epic hero Rama who badly needed some water for applying nama (sacred forehead marks) created this spring.

Legend apart, the sight of crystal clear water gushing out of a rocky pit is what has made ‘Namada chilume’ an oft-visited tourist spot. It is situated near the Forest Department’s deer park and a green nursery. Inside the nursery of herbal and sacred plants spread over twenty acres of the forest garden, the visitors also get to see a meditational pyramid.

Environmental concerns
The Devarayanadurga forest is said to have been depleted and degraded over the years, mostly because of tree cutting, frequent forest fires, encroachments and illegal quarrying done in the forest surroundings.

Getting there
You can either take the Bangalore-Nelamangala-Dobbspet-Urdugere-Devarayanadurga route or the Bangalore-Tumkur-Devarayanadurga route.

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