Bengaluru, Nov 18: It's often said that you should break away every once in a while by climbing a mountain or spending time in the woods as it helps you wash your spirit clean.
I'm not much of an adrenaline junkie but the trek here, the waterfalls and serene drive around the hills caught my heart. I booked a direct airport taxi in Bangalore with Savaari that drove me and a friend to these wonderful and magnanimous Male Mahadeshwara Hills. What I loved the most was that Savaari ensured that the car was well maintained and the driver was experienced. It seemed he had done his homework about the narrow and patchy roads that lead us to our destination. Even though the tarmac wasn't as smooth but the beautiful scenery made the effort worth all the troubles.
The roads needed expert driving skills because they were narrow with hilly walls on one side and a valley on the other. We were glad to have taken a cab because the road had surprises. A spotted deer came out of nowhere while we were driving but thankfully our driver was alert and smart enough that he tackled the issue with ease; but for a split second, I nearly had an anxiety attack. There were few curves where the bigger buses had slight problem in turning in a single go. We were glad that we were sitting at the back in comfort while the well trained expert navigated through such tough spots.
Before I go further, did you know the late bandit Veerapan used these thick forest covers at MM hills as his hideout? I didn't… Also, the area was closed due to obvious reasons of a dangerous bandit on loose, but now after him, nature and adventure lovers find solace here thanks to the trails that have opened up. The forest department has opened trails at Chamarajanagar, Kollegal and Kanakapura but prior permissions are required. It took us very long to get these but it all was worth it when we witnessed the jaw-dropping scenery and wildlife in their natural habitat. We saw elephants with stunning tusks taking a dip in a small water body while we were trekking. The greenery was so thick that we nearly missed it. The panoramic view of the landscape was so compelling that it made my heart skip a beat. I would really recommend the nature treks to those who love themselves some adventure; and I say adventure because the trek wasn't easy. It was a challenge, though we were rewarded really well by nature when we succeeded at it.
After a hard day's trek we just couldn't travel anymore so we requested the cab agency and made a stop at one of the guest houses near the temple. It was okayish but we were so exhausted that we didn't care. Next morning we headed to the temple where it is believed that Lord Mahadeshwara had come to serve for penance. However, it is also said that Lord Mahadeshwara is an incarnation of the mighty Lord Shiva and legends have it that Lord Male Mahadeshwara used to perform miracles and protect the people who resided in these areas while riding his tiger.
After the temple, which I'm really sorry to say, needs some cleaning; we walked around a little. We heard that one can take a dip in the perennial holy stream called Antaragange. The origin of this stream is not known and thus it is considered to be mystical. However, it was not a pleasant sight to see with plastic and wastes thrown all around. I really wish that the authorities would implement some rules and laws to make things better here because the site is definitely worth a visit, if kept clean. We walked around while listening to the Kamsale folk artists as they danced and sang for Lord Mahadeshwara. It was colorful and I was pleasantly surprised at the devotion that people have towards the Lord.
Though the temple is quite famous especially in South India but why one should travel to MM hills especially is because of the natural beauty. Talking about natural beauty, another destination that's worth your time, are the Hogenkal falls. We drove for about 45kms till the falls that are said to be have medicinal properties. I don't really know how true the medicinal part of it is, but words cannot even begin to describe how dramatic they were with clouds forming over the rocks as water gushed over them. It was just spectacular.
I would suggest that you rent a Savaari car in Bangalore with an expert driver so that you can have a hassle free experience and enjoy the hills rather than worry about your car and tire yourself by driving around. When you leave from here, you'll surely take a part of these hills back with you, like I did. It was an experience of a lifetime that left me in awe and truly I'm grateful to nature that cleansed my soul and brightened my spirit, getting me ready to face whatever is coming at me next.