Thursday, 28 February 2013

Dynamiting Bangalore's highest peak

It is the highest point in Bangalore and all maps and geographical coordinates take it as the City’s tallest peak or elevation.
This is Doddabettahalli or Doddabetta near Yelahanka which for centuries has been recognized as Bangalore’s tallest natural coordinate. The Doddabetta has another twin, a smaller peak, called Chickabettahalli or Chickabetta.
Both Doddabetta and Chickabetta are small villages near Yelahanka on the Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan Road that connects Jalahalli and Yelahanka New Town.
Doddabetta was decades ago officially conferred the honor of being the highest elevated point of Bangalore city. It had a natural height of 962 metres and this rocky hill remained in the record books of  geographers, cartographers and surveyors.
The topology of Bangalore is flat except for a central ridge running NNE-SSW. The highest point was always Vidyaranyapura Doddabettahalli, (3,156 ft) and lies on this ridge.
Alas, a few years ago, both the peaks-Doddabetta and Chikabetta-fell prey to the quarry lobby and both disappeared from view. The peaks do not exists and their fame to elevation has been blasted and two ugly bowl like depressions exists at the place where the peaks once stood, oblivious to their record.       
Though the villages remain and the rocky plateau exist, the peaks have fallen prey to our greed for quarrying. Villagers say that the peaks were dynamited and the same rocks ground into jelly for the houses that have been constructed nearby.
The blasting has ensured that the once highest elevated peak of Bangalore is now lower than the spot behind the Kempegowda Tower at Mekhri Circle which is also among the highest points of Bangalore (not the highest though).
The defaced peaks of Doddabetta and Chickabetta will leave you scarred and if you want to visit this place, you can take Route 401 from Yelahanka or Yeshwantpur and get off at the Jelly Machine Bus Stop. Walk a little away from the bus stop and you will land up at the quarry.
All we can se today are holes in the ground, and even now a few lorries moving about carrying granite. But wait. All is not lost. The abandoned quarry at Chickabetta can still be put to use. If the local authorities and the Government so wants, they can include the huge quarry which is spread over more than 100 acres into a park.
As it is the Government has started dumping mud and debris at he corner of the quarry to fast forward a four-lane motorway to Airport.  
Now with the tallest peak gone, the question is which is the highest point of Bangalore. Look around and you can rate the Omkar Hills in Rajarajeshwarinagar as the tallest or highest point. The tallest peak near Bangalore-Nandi of course.   

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. Doddabetta is one of the highest peaks of the Nilgiri mountain range. Usually referred to as the Queen of hill stations, Ooty is a picturesque little town amidst serene lakes, lofty mountains and sprawling grasslands. For accommodation, check out these Ooty hotels offering all the basic services.