A trekker's paradise and more

A trekker's paradise and more

The area is surrounded by thick woods, chirping of birds can be heard all around the place. The place is enriched by ancient temples, a fortress and a huge hill. Savandurga, a popular holiday spot, is just 59 km from Bangalore.

If you are looking for something special during weekends, this is the place. You can start your trip by visiting a park of medicinal plants and then the ancient Veerabhadra shrine, dating back to the time of Yelahanka Nada Prabhu Kempegowda. A 100 feet tall Garuda khamba (pillar) is installed just outside the shrine. And inside the shrine are the idols of Lord Veerabhadra along with the goddesses. Near the mukhamantapa, are the beautiful idols of dwarapalakas and Nandi(bull). 

New sightingsYou will be surprised to find a ‘King's balance’ (tula bhara), which is taller than it’s Hampi counterpart. This balance was used to by the king to measure gems, gold and precious stones equivalent to his weight and distributed to the kingdom. It is believed that it was built by Kempegowda.

Your next stop should be the ancient Narasimhaswamy Temple. This temple was renovated by Kempegowda, when the founder of Bangalore made the village his second capital. The temple itself was built by the Hoysala King Narasimha during the 11th century. There are two shrines inside the temple. The shrine of Goddess Lakshmi is in the rear, and the Narasimhaswamy's sanctum sanctorum is faces the front.

The idol of Narasimhaswamy is considered as swayambhu udbhava (natural and not man made). The annual car festival takes place in the first week of June every year.There are two giant granite rocks named Karigudda (black hill) and Biligudda (white hill) here. It was first fortified during the reign of Hoysalas. There are no steps on the steep rocks, and no supporting iron railings.

After climbing at least 500 feet, the bastion of the fortress is visible. This was used as a watchtower by the rulers in the past. Sadly only the stone walls remain today. Kempegowda also built a mantapa, a shrine of Anjaneya, Nandi mantapa and another watchtower on the left side of the hilltop. From the top, the views are breathtaking. River Arkavathi and Thippagondanahalli dam can also be seen from here.

According to a popular belief, Kempegowda made this hill his hideout while he was being hunted by the Vijayanagar ruler Achyutadevaraya, after he started issuing coins in his name. After being imprisoned and released, Kempegowda returned and built the fortress and the shrines here.

The fortress is designed in such a way that it would be very difficult to conquer, and the invader was certain to face death thanks to the dangerous rocks. Thus the name, Savandurga or the fortress of death.

Savandurga is on of the largest monolith hills in Asia standing tall at 1226m. 

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