Family trek to Skandagiri

After the trekker's high at NITK Catch-Up at Shivagange, we wanted to keep the momentum, and climb another hill soon. Nadeen Zacharia suggested something near her house, so it's easy to host. We decided on Skandagiri for the trip
We left leisurely post lunch at 3pm from Bangalore. Plan was to pickup Nivedita Kumar, Iresh Chawla and meet Nadeen Zacharia, Tisya Purohit and family at Hebbal. The latter group were delayed slightly and we decided to meet at Nadeen Zacharia's house in Chikkabalapura.
We reached eventually at 6:15pm and settled in. Nadeen Zacharia's amma and family had made some amazing dinner for us.
Amrik Ray showed up with some board games. We played Codenames late into the night and retired at around 1am.
We woke up at 2:30ish. By the time we freshened up and were ready to go, the clock had struck 3:30.
The start point of the trek (Papagni Math) was 20min away. 15min, if it wasn't for the dug-up approach road that made us initially park 1km away. Luckily some locals pointed us to the right place, and we parked a lot closer.
There was a horde of people at the start point.
The Karanataka Forest Tourism officials checked our ID cards, and assigned a guide to our group. We started arounf 4:30.
The start of the trek was moderate. Not having the sun baking our backs was a good thing - we could see only upto where the torchlight let us, and this kept up our morale.
For a couple of us in the group, this was the first trek. And a couple were ultra-fit, relatively speaking. The fit ones almost literally ran up the hill with our drunken guide, while the others were generous with taking breaks. As there are plenty of people on the trail, it's very difficult to get lost despite the lack of light.
Around 6:30am, and 3/4th of the way up, the sun rose, and the clouds descended. We were hiking in the clouds, and the feeling of the mist condensing on your skin while you plough forward was surreal. There were a couple of steep/rocky stretches along the route, but they had wide stairs cut into them, or had a muddy detour to help climb up. There are remnants of an old fort here, with dilapidated structures made of stone and brick.
We reached the top at 7am welcomed by strong gusts of cold wind, and a view shrouded with clouds. Tisya Purohit, Mahasweta Kapadia, and I met the one who went ahead and waited for the sky to clear to clear up. Nandi Hills was poking out and stood above the clouds at a distance.
We ate Haldiram's Moong Dal, and it was amazing. The salty oily snack, though fried in cotton seed oil, was perfect to burn in the cold weather after the trek.
The others caught up with us at the top. There is no real peak here, but a relatively flat land with a temple and some broken down structures. Amrik Ray went ahead to click some time-lapses, while the rest of us huddled behind the temple to stay warm.
Blanketed by the white clouds, we had some amazing views through the holes when the sky and wind favoured them. We spotted Srinivasa Sagara Reservoir at a distance, and saw Chennagiri jutting out of the sheets.
At 9:30am, we decided to climb down. Again, the fitter folks ran down the hill, while the rest of us took our time climbing down while stabilising our shivering knees. The views downhill was more than spectacular - the carpet of green fields with flowers in orange and yellow, the boulders dotted in-between, the minor hills nearby breaking the horizon, and the lakes and reservoirs punching blue holes in the green and brown.
The 8am batch were climbing up while we were trekking down.
We reached the bottom at 11am. An overpriced Tender Coconut later, we were reenergised enough to make it back home.
The gang fell asleep almost as soon as we reached Nadeen Zacharia's home.
Amrik Ray, Nivedita Kumar, Iresh Chawla left, while the rest of us stayed back to chill some more.
Tisya Purohit drove us to a marigold farm nearby, and an amazing tank (Dinnehosahalli) nearby. We spent some time here, watching the sunset, and headed back home.
We were Bangalore bound at 7pm, and reached our destinations at 10pm.
Note: All pictures clicked by the people on the trip.



Location: Chikkabalapura
#Night Trek
The trek is intermediate/difficult if your fitness level is low. Not having the sun during the uphill is an advantage


Book tickets on
INR 250 per head + tax, in Oct 2021
Carry enough water and food as there are no shops etc on the trail


Drive from Bangalore the previous night
Start trek at 4am
Watch sunrise, and eat snacks
Trek down, and reach bottom by 10am
Brunch at the stay


The Karanataka Forest Tourism has mandated guided trips from 2016. You'll need to
There are 24 guides, and only 300 people are allowed on any given day. Each group will get one guide
The trek starts at 3am, and you can stay at the peak till 5pm
The trek is done in 2 batches - one starting at 3am, and another starting at 8am. The earlier slot is better because of the weather, night trek experience, and sunrise.
The views from the top are amazing if the skies are clear
There's Kaurava Kunda, Kandavara lake while climbing up
Nandi Hills, Chennagiri, Srinivasa Sagara Reservoir is very clearly visible from the peak
It will be cold (expect 10-15 deg C) and windy (expect high winds in all places) at the peak
The path is well defined. There are painted arrows on rocks that help in case you get lost
But given the number of people moving around on the weekends, it's difficult to stray off the path accidentally
The guide will demand extra payment