Day Trip from Bangalore – Devarayanadurga Hill Station
Stranded on the Devarayanadurga Hills All Night
Since my last trip eight years ago to Devarayanadurga, a hill station at 3,940 feet, 90 km from Bangalore, I’ve been wanting to repay the man at the petrol station who gave me free engine oil because none of us had any cash. He said I was “cutting his stomach” (translated from Hindi,which is why it sounds so odd, but the meaning is clear).
I had driven my Fiat there in 2005 and spent the night stranded without engine oil on the hill. Luckily no jackals or dacoits got us. In the morning, we rolled the car downhill to the gas station. It was only then that we found we were almost out of engine oil and the engine could have seized. A mystery to me. I hadn’t even known about engine oil.
The night sky was so full of stars, we couldn't tell where the lights from the nearby power station ended and the starry skies began. In fact, I had never seen so many stars before. We spent the night dancing to 'The Doors' beneath the stars.
In Search of a Petrol Station in Devarayanadurga
I went to Devarayanadurgaagain in 2013, hoping to find the gas station and pay the man. This time in my new Maruti Alto K-10 which is a joy to drive especially on the highway. It was the first time I touched 120 mph.
Of course, I wondered whether I would even find the petrol station which was located on a route leading to the Devarayanadurga hills, but usually, petrol stations stay where they are.
Beautiful Highway from Bangalore to Tumkur
The highway is a beauty, much of it lined with colourful bougainvillea. I started from Bangalore at 6:15 am – the ideal time to avoid traffic snarls. After a couple of tea and photograph breaks (I picked up a curry leaf plant from a roadside nursery) we arrived in Tumkur around 8:30 am.
But where was that sharp U-turn in the road onward from Tumkur that led to the hills? And the petrol station – where was it? We came across one but I could not see the hills from there. Besides, it was too big, the building too far from the road. I thought I’d stop by on the way back and give them the cash, anyway since it was the closest gas station to the hills.
The Devarayanadurga State Forest
March is a rather dry time in this region, but the trees were finally putting out beautiful new green leaves. The Devarayanadurga State Forest was pretty bare and beautiful in its starkness. I loved the little winding roads as we climbed and the sight of the plains below, the hills all pale blue beyond. It was still hot though and I thanked heaven for the air conditioning in the car.
More photo breaks. I noticed a brand new staircase built into the hillside – going right up to the 2000-year-old Yoga Narasimha Temple. Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Yoga Narasimha to Brahma Deva who had been performing penance for thousands of years. I wasn’t going to dare climb 3000 feet up that stairway to heaven! I thanked my car again.
The 2000-Year-Old Yoganarasimha Temple
We climbed past the vendors selling soft drinks, cucumbers and bananas as well as bags of “prasadam” to offer in the temple above.
Monkeys hung around the stairway, waiting to pounce on the prasadam. A couple of them landed on me, expecting tidbits from my handbag. I kept my cool and they were shooed off. The place had just about five visitors heading upwards to the Temple. The “abhishekam” or bathing of the deity was to happen at 11 am.
The Temple seemed freshly whitewashed, its beauty ruined by a long shed with a tin roof at the side. The spot on the edge of the hill from which we had looked down over the valley was gated.
Shrine to Hanuman and Garuda in Devarayanadurga
The little tunnel-like cave with its carving of Hanuman was still there, and there was a new shrine nearby with images of the red Hanuman and Garuda. Just below the temple, the sacred tank full of dirty green water, its sides lined with debris had visitors too - a family bathing a little boy with a shaved head.
I did not enter the shrine inside. I could hear the priest chanting. At the entrance there was an ancient carving of Narasimha, happily not whitewashed.
I let the car roll downhill much of the way. It went pretty fast down those hairpin bends, which took some driving skill. I could have easily driven off the edge.
Unfortunately, I did not pass by the petrol station on the way back. I suppose I’ll have to pay the man back in my next life, or maybe he was the one who had to pay me back in this one.
Acommodation in Devarayanadurga, How to Get There, etc.
Where to Stay in Devarayanadurga
Of course you can get back to Bangalore on the same day in about 2 hours, but if you'd like to stay overnight and dance under the stars among the secluded rocks, KSTDC operates a hotel in Devarayanadurga called Hotel Mayura Meghadoota. There are guesthouses on Easter Hill too and also a traveller's bungalow.
And there’s the rustic Camp Linger at Vishaal Farms, Tannenahalli/ Dabbaspet-Korategere Rd, Korategere, Tumkur.
Best Time to Visit Devarayanadurga
Avoid travelling to Devarayanadurga in the monsoon. September to May is the best time of the year to visit.
Where to Eat
Carrying food along is a good idea. Or you could grab a South Indian snack or a soft drink (healthy tender coconut water too) on top of the hill near the temple.
Getting to Devarayanadurga
Devarayanadurga is 70km from Bangalore.
Bangalore - Nelamangala - Dabaspet - Devarayanadurga.
By Bus from Bangalore
Catch a bus to Dabbaspet at the Kempegowda Bus Station (platform 16) . Take an auto from Dabbaspetto the hill.
Devarayanadurga on Google Maps