Picture this, you’re riding on a curvy road and the road ends at the top of a hill. It’s a dead-end but you see a small muddy trail hidden in the bushes. You take a deep breath and venture into that unknown trail and it leads you to a spectacular view of the valley below. Dotted with many such hidden gems in the tiny Devarayanadurga state forest, Devarayanadurga Hills is truly a heaven for adventure and thrill-seekers.
All I knew about the place before I rode to Devarayanadurga was that it’s a religious place home to the Bhoga & Yoga Narasimha Swamy temples. I also expected it to have some good views as it is on a hillock in the middle of a state forest. But the hidden gems I dug up after exploring Devarayandurga hills were beyond astonishing. And I’m gonna take you on a ride to all the hidden gems I explored during my ride to Devarayanadurga Hilla from Bengaluru.
So on a fine Saturday morning in the month of October back in 2018, I picked up my bike and started the ride towards Tumkur. I presumed Tumkur was another town on the Bangalore-Mumbai highway till this ride happened. But little did I know that the forest cover surrounding the town is home to mysterious, enchanting hills and temples that are millenniums old. Since it was an impromptu solo ride, it wasn’t as planned as my other trips were.
A Judder And A Slowdown
I’ve been riding almost every weekend until then but I always forget the exit route out of city. So in order to memorize it, I wanted to take the Yeshwantpur-Tumkur road instead of the comfortable NICE road. I started riding on the Hosur road and reached cubbon park in a jiffy.
I hit the Hyderabad highway and it was empty like never before and I quickly reached Yeshwantpur. Once I reached Yeshwantpur I realized I made a mistake of choosing this route. It was still early in the morning, but boy the entire road was full of trucks, interstate buses and whatnot.
I slogged through the morning traffic like I usually drag myself out of bed on a Monday morning. Once I crossed Nagasandra, the traffic was relatively less. So I pulled the throttle as much as I could and reached Nelamangala tollgate within 30 minutes. I breezed past the pile-up of trucks at Nelamagala and was enjoying the breeze and speed.
After about 15 minutes of ride from Nelamangala toll gate, I heard a juddering sound from my bike. I slowed down to pay attention to the source. The engine was making abnormal noises. I stopped by the road to inspect. My first suspect was petrol, so I checked the petrol levels and there was enough to last for the ride back home. I moved my hand close to the engine and it was slightly hotter
A Speed Locked Ride To DD Hills
With a puzzled look on my face, I pressed the start button and it started. Though the sound didn’t die down and I was sure they came from the engine. I continued the ride but slowed down a lot from my earlier speed to let the engine cool down a bit. I suspected it to be overheating but it was still early in the morning so the ambient air was still cool. The only suspect left was less engine oil.
But I figured I will just make it run hook or crook and service it once I get back. So from then on until Dabaspete which is around 30 km before Tumkur, I rode at a 40KMPH speed to not overstress the engine.
The ride so far wasn’t much of a thrill. A boring ride on the highway and a judder and a halt. I was now restless for the wild to surround me. Soon I approached the Dabaspete flyover and saw a board directing me to take the underpass towards Urdigere.
Have you ever felt that nature always plays these games? It bores you to death and if you persist, it brings you closer to the magic. I think you need a lot of patience to witness what the world truly has to offer. If you’re in a hurry either you’re missing the details or you don’t appreciate the beauty enough because it was so quick(perceived as effortless). My ride was something like that so far but now I guess nature decided to reward me.
Come And Get Your Love!
After I took the right turn, there were eucalyptus trees on one side and paddy fields on the other. But the best part was the road just lit up with the myriad shades of the sunrise sky. The gradient at the end of the road in front of me was so enticing. So with newfound enthusiasm, I continued the ride breezing past villages.
After some time, the hills in the distance appeared at the end of the road. I couldn’t control my excitement. The shades of sky, wide-open road and the hills in the distance, it was all too beautiful a sight. I felt the hills were singing “Come And Get Your Love” for me.
Soon I reached Urdigere and after about 3KM of the ride after Urdigere, there was diversion towards the left with a welcome arch to the temple. As soon as I entered the arch, the temperature dropped like crazy. Thick stretches of trees surrounded the road, so it was still dark on the road.
I continued the ride through the narrow road under the shade of the canopy of trees. Soon I saw a pond on my left-hand side. The perfect reflection of the hill in the pond surface was a mesmerizing view. I wanted to go to the pond and explore it a little. But I was in the middle of a state forest in the early hours of the day. I didn’t want to have any unwanted encounters. So I killed that idea and continued the ride.
The Scenic Ride Through Devarayanadurga Forest
The road was so beautiful that If I had to stop at every beautiful spot, I thought I’d never reach the top with any battery juice left in my phone. Added to that the road was no less of beauty anyway. So I thought a video of the road ducked under the canopy would be a beautiful one.
After another right turn towards the Devarayanadurga village, the trees by the road disappeared. The shade was gone, but the views of the valley below the hill accompanied me. There is a toll gate at the junction. The road on the left goes to the village while the one on right goes to the temple on the hillock. I continued the ride towards the hillock temple. There are two ways to reach the top, by the road and the staircase. I took the road with the hairpin curves that revealed the landscapes afar. From hills surrounded by lush green forests to villages and lakes dotting the green cover, it was such a beautiful sight.
I rode all the way to the inspection Bungalow at the end of the road. I parked my bike there giving it some rest. While I was resting, a small muddy trail caught my eyes. It didn’t feel like it would take me anywhere, but I just wanted to check it out.
Random Explorations At Devarayanadurga
So I ventured into the unknown trail. Surprisingly, the trail was long enough and lead me to a huge rock. This huge rock was right above the hairpin curves I rode on minutes ago. Standing there, I could get a panoramic view of the entire landscape. The temple on top of the hill, the temple at the foot of the hill and the distant hills and landscapes.
With enough shade and surrounded by colourful Lantanas and yellow bells, it was a perfect place to take some rest and spend some peaceful time alone.
After spending some time there, I rode back downhill and stopped at the first viewpoint. There are few remains of the fort walls near the viewpoint. It’s a vantage point offering stunning views of the valley below. It appears like a green blanket was spread on the land for as far as you can see.
The weather was misty and because I was facing the sun, pictures were blacked out. But I definitely wanted to come back to this place on a bright sunny day which unexpectedly happened in November 2019 during my ride to Mandaragiri Hills.
Exploring The Fort At Devarayandurga Hills
From where I parked my bike at the viewpoint, I saw another path, along what appears to be the ruined wall of the fort. I wanted to see what this trail has in store for me. There were ruined watchtowers in the earlier part of the trail. I continued walking through the thorny bushes and reached a huge rock.
I walked further ahead and boy I was stunned looking at the vast expanse of the Devarayanadurga forest. I mean it was endless and stretched as far as my eyes could see.
After spending some time there, I walked back to my bike and rode to the temple.
I was planning on going inside but apparently, the temple opens at 10 AM and it was just 8:45 by then. I was really hungry so I rode to the village at the foothills hoping to get something to eat.
Just when I was choosing from whatever was available to order, I heard the sound of drums and ritualistic bells. When asked, the shopkeeper said that it was time for Abhishekam. The idol in this temple was also Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy, so I thought, If not on top, let’s pray to the deity downhill. So I walked into the temple, stayed for the Abhishekam and had a delicious plate of Idly for breakfast in the shop nearby.
There was another road in front of the temple leading to “somewhere”. So I thought, why leave this one out. When the last two attempts yielded brilliant views, this one will definitely have something in store.
To The Edge Of Devarayanadurga Hills
I continued the ride on that road, just following it wherever it took me. The road ended at another bungalow. There were few people standing by the grill. I thought it might be some viewpoint. But as I approached closer, I saw there were bikes and people lined up. I reached and realized it was a cliff. Something like the potato chip rock at Avalabetta but bigger in size. I jumped with excitement and stood in line to get a picture clicked.
Once that was done, I didn’t see any other random trails, so I headed straight back home. That trip taught me a lot about the beauty of impromptu plans. If I had a predefined itinerary like my other trips, I would’ve let these random explorations go. But because I didn’t have any specific plan in mind, I just did whatever best the moment offered.
Now that I think of it, it is true to a lot of things in life. If you plan everything you may blind yourself to the exciting opportunities that may knock your door. Be conscious and keep your eyes wide open. You never know when you’ll encounter a random trail leading to a beautiful destination.
Thanks for sparing your time reading it. Hope it was worth your time.
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This is post No. 21 of the weekend blog post series I started writing 4 months ago. If you’d like to check out the other posts, click here.
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P.S: I’ve been to Devarayandurga Hills twice and I got good pictures during the second ride. Owing to better clarity and composition in the pics from the second trip, I’ve used most of the pics from the second trip in this blog post.