Also known as the Kalwarbetta or Kalavara Durga, Skandgiri is located 70km from Bangalore. It is a fortress mountain that offers a raw and coarse trail that leads to the top of the mountain. If you want to explore the wilderness that this mountain offers, then opt for a night trek between the months of November to February. The area hasn’t been commercialized yet and thus, you will get ample chances to connect with nature.
We opted for the night trek organized by EscapetoExplore and booked the trek two days in advance. It cost us around ₹1275 per head. Initially, we were a little sceptical as we were unsure about how it would be like with strangers. Knowing fairly well that both of us are quite antisocial, we cannot even rely on our ability to make friends on the go! But believe us, treks like this are fun even when you don’t have a big group of friends to enjoy.
Our pick up was scheduled at 12:30 AM. Though we expected a tempo traveller to pick us up, we were quite surprised to see a bus stopping before us. It was full! There were more than 30 people on board. It took us one and a half hours to reach Papagni Temple in Kalwara Village. We were asked by our guide to either catch up on our sleep or take a walk under the moonlight. The place where we stopped had washrooms but a torch was a must as it was dark. After having slept for a while, we were asked to gather near the base camp where we were allotted our guides, our team was assigned a name and the general rules of the trek were briefed. These were some of the rules that we remember:
- No one should wander off
- No plastic to be thrown/ No littering
- Don’t halt for a long time or else you might get separated from the group
- Stay with the group
- Follow the guide
- Enjoy the trek
We began the trek at 3:30 AM. Filled with uneven boulders, the trail is quite difficult. It involves a lot of climbing, jumping and sliding! Unless you have proper trekking shoes, you cannot complete the trek without getting a scratch on your body! Exhausted, we touched the peak at 5:30 AM and waited for the clouds to make way for the sun. But alas! We weren’t lucky enough to witness the sunrise. Hence, we spent some time sitting there on the rocks and enjoying the cold weather. All the trekkers were wrapped in warm clothes and were either catching up on their sleep or chatting with friends. It was too cold to even click pictures.
We began the descend by 7:00 AM and reached the base camp by 8:30 AM. The descent was more difficult than the climb. But the daylight helped us cruise through the muddy trail. The panoramic views throughout the trail greeted us well. We took short photography breaks and also gave rest to our legs.
The breakfast was included in this package. After starting from the base camp at about 9:30 AM, we stopped at a restaurant to have our breakfast and then made our way back home on the same bus.
Overall, this experience was a much-needed experience for both of us as this was our first moderate trek. We wanted to test our limits and we did feel accomplished once we summited.
Details about our trip:
Book the trek here.
Cost: 1300 per person (as mentioned on the website)
Trek difficulty level: Moderate
Total trekking distance: 10 km
Essentials to carry:
- Small backpack to carry your essentials during the trek
- Water bottles – 1-2 (1 litre)
- Raincoat/Bag covers in case of rains
- A comfortable pair of shoes with good grip
- Torch/Headlamp to be used at night (very important)
- Extra cash for meals not included in the itinerary
- Identity proof (Adhaar Card will do)
- Jackets and caps
- Energy bars, common medicines, bandaids, dettol/ sanitizer
Overall, this trek to Skandgiri was an experience to remember. We were thrilled to death!