It was a saturday morning, and I was desperate to travel to a near by serene location to destress myself from the hustle and bustle of the city life. I planned a day trip to Ramanagara temple near the vulture sanctuary, which is 50km from Bangalore. Ramanagara is known as the silk city as it is famous for sericulture and produces high quality silk for sarees and other clothings. Ramanagara is also known because the super hit movie Sholay was filmed in the sorrounding hills in 1975. It is home to giant mountain rocks, ancient temples, and sanctuary for vultures including the long billed vulture and egyptian vulture. It is the only one in India with a dedicated sanctuary for the vultures. With that information, I was eager to explore the mountain top, and if I was lucky I wanted to spot vultures in their habitat.
I started at 11 am from Electronic city, Bangalore. The road to Ramanagara is mostly highway, and you will have to take Nice road till Kengeri, and then take the newly built Mysore highway to reach Ramangara. The final stretch of the road, you will come across a large statue of Hanuman, take the road adjacent to the statue to reach the Ramanagara betta. Finally, I reached at 12.30 pm (Total 1h 30min). There was an entry fee of 25 rupees per adult and 10 rupees for parking charged by the Karnataka Forest department. Once you are in, the road to the top was really bad with many potholes. So drive very carefully in this relatively short section. There was ample parking for two-and four-wheelers.
Once at the parking lot, you can notice a gate to the temple. The catch is that the temple is located at the hill top, and you will have to climb 400 steps to get there. While climbing I noticed, people were sliding near by and having fun next to steps. The location is picturesque with colorful steps covered by greenery with no direct light. It is believed that in this temple town, Lord Rama and Sita stayed here during their exile and established a Shiva Linga for their daily prayers. Lord Rama created a pond at the hilltop called Ramatheertha it is believed that the water has never dried up till now. Colorful steps, and mural paintings on the rock fascinated me and I covered the 400 steps without breaking a sweat.
As soon as I reached the perimeter of the hill I can feel the calmness that this temple had to offer. I sat there enjoying the beautiful vista from the hill top. First I visited the shiva temple, and then visited the Ram mandir. On saturday, the temple personnel provides you with delicious hot food, and you can appreciate it even more given the fact there is no food available at the premises.
Next to the Ram mandir, there is way to go further up. When you take that route you will experience going through a dense foliage with the views of distant mountain rocks and the whole town of Ramanagara. After a while you will come across a large boulder with steps carved out, with support railing to go at the top. Although it looks intimidating, but it is manageable.
As you reach to the top, the views were mesmerizing with distant mountains, and lot of flora with aerial view of the temple town. I also loved the cacti all around with a small body of water. I spent close to 40 minutes just taking in the pleasant winds, and gorgeous views. Along with it blade of grass captivated me as they were dancing to the tunes of the wind.
After experiencing the hill top, I came down to a trail leading to a Hanuman Statue that was claimed to be 700 year old. The trail was down hill with the way covered with large rocks as if there existed a small river. As I went down, I noticed priest performing aarti to the statue, and he was the one who served me hot food at the Ram temple. He told me that you can spot a vulture from 6AM to 8AM and then in evening 4PM to 6PM. However, since I was there mid-afternoon, I was not lucky. Hopefully I will have to come again to witness them in their Habitat.
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