Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Trekking-The twin hills of Ramanagar

There are several caves in this hill or rather twin hills. The local palegars or chieftains used these caves to shelter themselves from their enemies.
During wars and skirmishes, the palegers used these hills to their advantage. They not only hid in these caves but also used them to store arms and ammunition. Some f the caves are so high up on the rocks that you need a ladder to climb into them.
This is the Thenginkal Betta in Ramanagar or Ramanagaram district. The Betta, or rrther two hills, is just off the Bangalore-Mysore highway and is a little more than an hour’s drive from Bangalore.
The hill is a trekker’s delight. It is also a rock climber’s paradise. Infact, there are more than a dozen hills in and around Ramanagar which are on a trekker or climber’s map. Many of these hills remain relatively unexplored and they offer a good opportunity for a quiet retreat.
Thenginkal Beetta remain once such hill. It has two peaks-a small ne and a much larger peak. Both of them together are called Thenginkal betta. Thengu in Kannada means coconut and Kal means rock or boulder. Betta is hill. So it roughly translates as coconut rock hill.
Well, climbing up is an adventure in itself. During the monsoon, the oaths become slippery and the many crevices and depressions on the hill fill up with water. The hill comes alive with greenery.
Interestingly, the lower half of the hill is full of greenery. As you begin to climb, you have to pass over small shrubs, thorns and boulders.
Be careful of thorny bushes. They are likely to “catch” your clothes and if you pull, you are likely to not only hurt yourself but also tear your clothes. The best way to climb the hill would be use trekking shoes and thick pants, preferably jeans as they can afford a lot of protection.        
One of the caves high up the hill is pretty big and it can easily accommodate more than 50 people. Some caves have carvings and they were used to store ammunition.
As you climb, the vegetation thins down and you come across hard rocks with natural archs, crevices, water ponds and rocks piled one upon another.
When you reach the peak of the smaller hill, you can see a man made pond.
The best time to trek is early morning. Carry water and some light snacks. The nearest eatery is in Ramanagar. The SRS Betta is nearby. In fact, you have to pass the SRS Betta to reach this twin hills.
Thenginkal Betta cane be reached from Ramanagaram. From Ramanagaram travel on the road towards Kanakapura. You have to cross the Bangalore-Mysore railway line and continue on the road. Travel 12 kms and on the right side of the road you will come across the SRS Betta. Take this road and when you travel a little further, you can see Thenginkal betta.
The best time to visit is between September and February when the it is not very hot. There is small village at the base of the  twin hills.