Avalabetta Hilltop and Gudibande Fort - Exploring the Unexplored

by Sagar Sakre


Posted on 13th October, 2015


Avalabetta Hilltop Gudibande

Places: Avalabetta Hilltop, GudiBande Fort and Muddenahalli , Karnataka
Distance: 220 km round trip
Route: Bangalore -> Hebbal -> Paresandra -> Avalabetta -> GudiBande
Bikes:Discover 150, Pulsar 200 and Yamaha R15
Crew: Abdul, Girish, Vishwanath, Naresh and Sagar Sakre(Myself)
Type: Trekking, Sight Seeing
Ideal for: Friends & Family
Budget: Rs.400/Head

It's time to reveal the hidden secretes of two mighty hills - Avalabetta and Gudibande fort. Avalabetta and Gudibande Fort are unexplored destinations that make for a perfect weekend roadtrip from Bangalore. They make for a perfect combination of Nature and Heritage! Since there are broken pieces of information about these places, I'll to explain in depth.

Brief about the places

Avalabetta a.k.a Avalakunda

Ages ago, when the ocean was churned by the gods and demons, many creations both good and bad surfaced. One of them was the holy cow and it is believed to have landed here. The hoof marks of the cow can be found on a rock. In later years large numbers of cows frequented this hill which gave the place the name Dhenugiri (Dhenu: cow & giri: hill)

  • The hill houses Lakshmi Narasimha temple, villagers offer the first milk of their cows to the deity worshiped here.
  • For explorers and adventurers, the place offers enough opportunities for climbing, bird watching or simply learning about its mythology.
  • Years ago the only way to scale the hill was to take a trail covered in bushes. Now however there's a good road constructed.
  • The State Forest Department which has taken the initiative to develop and maintain this place has also built a guest house here. I am not sure if its available for all the people or only for the govt officers.

Gudibande / Gudibanda Fort

  • Gudibande, a multi level fort was built by local chieftain Byre Gowda some 400 odd years ago in the 17th century.
  • The fort’s main feature, is the rain water harvesting with 19 rock ponds at different levels of the fort.
  • On the top of the fort is a Shiva temple, which is believed to be one of the 108 Jyotirlingas.

The Ride

Since it was a long ride we hit the road as early as 5 am, Giri joined us from Hebbal. After a formal greeting we headed on National Highway.

Riding in the misty weather was chilling experience, there were hundreds of bikes rushing in the same direction who were going to Nandi Hills. After Devanahalli where all those people took left turn to Nandi Hills we continued straight in the same direction. We stopped for a while to see mighty Nandi hills covered in clouds looking beautiful than ever. For a minute we had second thought to turn bike around and go to Nandi hills but we some how convinced ourselves to stick to the plan and continued towards Avalabetta. The GPS instructed us to take left turn at Paresandra, the national highway turned into small road cutting through many villages. The road from here was full of pot holes and patches which costed us 40 minutes to cover 15 km. Though locals and direction signs were helpful we relied on the GPS (which was a bad idea). After Mandikallu Google maps showed two routes one which takes left turn at Thirumaladevaradinne and other one goes straight. Since the left turn was in recommended route we took left turn at Thirumaladevaradinne and ended up at dead end (actually there is a rough road where vehicles can't go).

Avalabetta Route From Bangalore
Your should take Route 1 marked in blue line

We took help from locals and followed the other route ( Route 1 - refer image above). There were sign boards at every turning which helped finding directions easily. Finally we reached base of the hill, an arch at entrance welcomed us.

Avalabetta Entrance Arch
Arch at the entrance of Avalabetta

Avalabetta Zigzag Roads
The zigzag road to the peak

Avala Betta Hilltop

2 km of cement road with steep hairpin bend turns offered a thrilling experience. Fist we visited Govt Guest house, to my surprise there were already 4 - 5 bikes parked, needless to mention they were from Bangalore. I wasn't expecting anybody else as its not a well known place. We were standing on the terrace of the guest house, the sun was shining from far distance. It offered a decent view with a lake guarded by rocky outcrops and the horizon marked with a band of blue hills the panoramic vistas were a treat to the eyes. We spend couple of minutes taking photographs and enjoying the cold breeze.

Avalabetta GuestHouse
Your should take Route 1 marked in blue line

Avalabetta Views
View from hilltop

Avalabetta Temple
Laksminarasimha Temple behind us

Its time to explore the temple and its premises. One has to walk couple of steps to reach the cave temple where Lakshminarayan Swami idol is installed and worshiped. However temple was closed and there were no one around. The staircase behind the temple lead to the summit of the hill where the most stupendous views can be seen in all directions. There is another temple at the summit. We saw pound behind the temple and decided to go there.

Avalabetta Temple
A few steps to reach Cave temple

Avalabetta Rocks
Huge Rocks

Right diversion from cave temple leads to the pond at the backside. There was warning written on the rocks - "Beware of Bears" which scared the leading guys but I think those animals are long gone for now because of human interference. The rock on the edge was broken I don't know who made that but it was a beauty at the place. The pound, pointy rock and beautiful landscape offered a perfect background for photography. Oh yeah that's all we wanted!! Everyone lined up for photos. It was already around 10.30 am we had one more place to explore so we decided to leave. The temple was still closed, locals said the temple should be open by 9 am but today priest was late. We could here noise of hundreds of school children walking towards the hill, seemed like a school trip. Children waved hands shouting "Bye!!" we waved hand in return and continued towards our next destination.

Avalabetta Pond
Pond behind the temple

Avalabetta Pond
Beautiful Pond

Avalabetta Pond
Avalabatta to Gudibande

GPS guru helped us with directions to Gudibande, its merely 24 km to Gudibande (search for Gudibanda in maps instead of Gudibande) from Avalabetta. We pulled over for a tasty breakfast at a hotel near a village. Again the bumpy road costed us golden 45 mins to reach the fort.

Gudibande Fort / Gudibanda Fort

At first fort looked smaller than I thought, it wasn't massive like many other forts near Bangalore. As expected there was not a soul in sight, that said we had whole fort for ourselves. Since the fort is smaller the trek should be easy. There are reconstructed steps at the beginning which is helpful for climb but ruins the beauty of the fort. Seemed like the steps at the beginning was a dark spot to the fort, but the rest of the fort was a beauty to express. Though the trek was short we got tired quickly as it was already 12 in the afternoon and the the sun was upon us, dehydrating us at every step. Though cold breeze helped us restore our energy the enthusiasm to explore the fort had vanished. At normal pace it should take less than 30 minutes to reach summit. The fort offers a good opportunity for the architects and explorers. After crossing couple of turrets we finally reached summit where Lord Shiva is worshiped. It is believed to be one of the 108 Jyotirlinga. The temple here is in well condition and maintained very well. we didn't get much opportunity to lean about the deity worshiped here. One could see villages with colorful houses from the peak, most of the buildings had vibrant colors like blue and yellow :D. Its actually a Taluk so calling it a village would be wrong. The fort was a spot for awesome photography but we were tired and had a long road to cover so we soon left the place.

Gudibande Fort
Gudibande Fort

GudiBande Fort
Well Preserved Walls

GudiBande Fort
GudiBande Fort
GudiBande Fort Steps
Steps carved on the rocks

Gudibande Fort Temple Pillar
16 sided tall monolith pillar with square base

While coming back we entered Chikballapur city for lunch. Abdul insisted that we visit Muddenahalli - the birth place of one of the greatest sons of India,Bharat Ratna,Sir M Visvesvaraya. It took less than 15 minutes to reach Visvesvaraya museum where various honorary degrees, Bharat Ratna medal, mementos and other belongings are showcased. We saw visited Sir MV's Samadhi(grave) in nearby well maintained park. There is also famous Bhoganandeeshwara Temple nearby but we decided to skip it.

Visweswaraya Museum
Sir. M Visvesvaraya Museum

Visweswaraya House
Sir. M Visvesvaraya's childhood house

Visweswaraya Samadhi
Sir. M Visweswaraya's Samadhi

Slow!! You are driving too fast!!We headed back to Bangalore, Near Devanahalli there will be police with speedometers so I signaled everyone to slow down. I guess most of the people would get ticket for over speeding here. Remember speed limit is 60 kmph for Bikes and 80 kmph for cars. And not to forget near "so and so Tollgate police would be checking for all Bike documents and Licence so remember to keep Documents with you.

Conclusion

Though both places are little far they are worth visiting. Sometimes Avalabetta is referred as Nandi Hills without crowd which I found to be untrue. Yes Avala betta wasn't crowed but it didn't have the same beauty though. Nandi Hills and Avala betta are incomparable - both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Important Notes
  • For reaching Avalabetta just ask locals for the direction don't get lost following Google maps, I have explained above what route to follow.
  • Search for Gudibanda in maps instead of Gudibande.
  • When you reach Devanahalli reduce vehicle speed below the limit and carry all the documents.

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About the Author: Sagar Sakre

Sagar Sakre

I am a person who loves to travel and explore places, I do lot of my trips on bike I mostly write all of my trips in my blog. Bangalore gave me a lot of enthusiasm to travel and do what I want to do. You can follow my blogs here.

Tags:

Bangalore, Weekend RoadTrips, Avalabetta, Gudibande Fort, Treking, Hilltop temple, Visweswaraya, Muddenahalli