Skandagiri hills, also known as the Kalavara Durga is a mountain fortress located at a distance of 62 km from Bangalore at Chikkaballapura, Karnataka. Most popular for its night trek, Skandagiri is best climbed in the calm of the night to witness one of the best sunrises of your life. It stands at an elevation of 4757 feet above sea level and offers a great chance to stargaze before sunrise. Skandagiri is one of the top places to visit from Bangalore and for a weekend trip from Bangalore.
How to reach Skandagiri Hills?
Since it is located at just 62 km from Bangalore, visitors can drive to the Skandagiri base. Many travel agencies offer Skandagiri Hills Night Trek/Sunrise Trek packages and also provide pickup and drop as well. The nearest railway station and airport are both located in Bangalore. You may also avail buses from the Majestic Bus station to Chikkaballapura, and take an auto-rickshaw to the Papagni Temple. Paid parking is available at the base camp.
Skandagiri Hills Night Trek
The trek to Skandagiri hilltop is around 4 km and takes around 3 hours to reach. It starts at the Papagni Temple near the Kalavara village. The Skandagiri Hill trek up is a bit tricky as there is no well laid out trail and one must step over huge rocks and boulders to move ahead. The area is quite dry and dusty and there are shrubby vegetation along the way. If you opt for the night trek which usually starts at around 3:15 am, it will be a good idea to carry flashlights as the entire trail will be dark. Camping options are also available with many travel agencies and it is a great experience.
Usually there will be at least 2-3 guides with each group. They will guide you through the path and make sure everyone stays with the group as there are many instances of wild animals like tigers showing up. The last phase of the Skandagiri Hills trek is a bit steeper than the others and you must be careful while climbing up as the rocks tend to be loose and slippery. You get a beautiful view of Chikkaballapura from here. The Skandagiri Hills trek is very similar to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery Trek in Bhutan compared to the difficulty level and the beautiful views from the top.
Once at the top, you will have to find a good spot for yourself to see the sunrise. Since each group may have close to 20-25 people, it will be crowded and you may not find a good spot. It is extremely windy and cold at the top so make sure to wear jackets and cover your ears. The guides will know the exact time of sunrise. It will be a good idea to use your mobile phone compass to find the direction of the sunrise. You will be able to witness the sky changing colors during the sunrise and it is a wonderful sight to behold. It gets quite sunny after the sunrise, and the view from the hilltop is mesmerizing.
Once the sunrise, you can explore the hilltop. There are ruins of the Skandagiri temple dedicated to Lord Siva here and it is a regular photo spot for trekkers. Even though at a crumbled state, it a treat to behold after the rigorous climb.
Tipu Sultan Fort
Built by Tippu Sultan, the ruins of this fort clearly indicate that the fort was once an elaborate structure. Though only a few walls remain standing, it adds to the mysterious aura of the place. Exploring these ruins deeper reveals the presence of two caves and 6 samadhis inside the structure.
Back to base camp
The trek back down is the same way, even though it may feel like an entirely new place in the sunlight. The drop is quite steep and it might feel more difficult to descent than it was to climb. Take care on each step as you may easily slip down the rocks. The endpoint will be where you began the trek, the Papagni Temple. Note that the guides may not accompany you on the way back. Most travel agents provide pick up and drop, so you will be given time to meet up at the starting point.
Skandagiri to Bangalore
The Skandagiri hills night trek is one of the best trekking experiences near Bangalore and a great weekend getaway for people living in and around Bangalore. The thrill of trekking through the boulders with your flashlight is just so amazing, it cant be put to words.
Places to visit near Skandagiri Hills
The most popular places to visit near the Skandagiri Hills are the Lepaskhi Temple, Nandi Hills, Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple, and the Tippu Sultan Fort.
Suggested Read – Bangalore to Nandi Hills Day Trip Guide
Skandagiri Hills Entry Fee and Permission
The Skandagiri Hills Trek is only permitted with the permission of the Forest Department of Karnataka. You must pre-book your trek dates through their official website. Only 150 passes are allowed per day and the Skandagiri entry fee is Rs.250 per head. Once the permission is granted you will receive an SMS with the details of the trek guide. You can also opt for booking through different travel agencies or travel websites.
Skandagiri Hills Night Trek/Sunrise trek booking through official site: Click here
Skandagiri Hills Trek Facts:
- Starting Point: Kalavara Village, which is around 3 km from Chikballapur
- Altitude: 4757 feet above sea level
- Trek Time: around 3 hours
- Distance: 4 km
- Difficulty Level: Moderate
- Starting time: 3:15 AM
Things to Carry for Skandagiri Trek
- Good quality hiking shoes, preferably with ankle support and good grip. Below are our recommendations.
Men’s Hiking Boots
Women’s Hiking Boots
- Breathable Socks to avoid blisters or irritations during the trek
- Flashlight is very important during the night treks. You should use a good quality high lumen flashlight during these events.
- Carry enough water and energy bars.
- Sunscreen with high SPF. This will help protect your skin from sunlight during your descent.
- Jackets to keep yourself warm once you reach the top. Especially during the winter months as it tends to be very cold and windy in the early hours.
Men’s Hiking Jacket
Women’s Hiking Jacket
- First aid kit including elastic bandages, waterproof band-aids, pain killers, Dettol, Antiseptic ointments, and Pain relief sprays.
- Hand sanitizer and wet wipes.
- 10L hiking backpack to carry your things.
- A Good Camera to capture the sunrise and your hiking memories.
GoPro Hero 9 for capturing the best quality videos.
Sony alpha for taking breathtaking shots.
Places to stay near Skandagiri Hills
You can stay at Chickballapur or Bangalore – Check Room Prices
FAQs about Skandagiri Trek
The best time to visit the Skandagiri Hills is during the winter months (November-January) when the scenery is green and the view from the hilltop is mesmerizing.
At a distance of 4 km, the Skandagiri Trek takes around 3 hours to reach the hilltop.
The Skandagiri hills is located at a distance of 62 km from Bangalore.
The Skandagiri Hills Trek can be considered moderate based on the fitness of the individuals.
You can either drive to Chikaballapura from Bangalore (62 km) or take a bus to Chikaballapura from Bangalore and take an auto rickshaw to the base camp.
The entry fee is Rs. 250 per head and you can pre-book your Skandagiri Hills Night Trek/Sunrise trek from the Karnataka Ecotourism Department Website.
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