Kabbaldurga! An ode to the Goddess
Built by Kempegowda in the 16th century, Kabbaldurga is one the nine fortifications or Durgas (Nava Durgas) built around the city of Bangalore. These were supposed to be watch posts to guard the city against intruders. The ruined fortifications are still visible on the two hillocks surrounding the village of Sathanuru and the Kabbalu hill. Back in the days of its glory, it is supposed to have been a seven-tiered fort. A small, yet captivating hillock near a rustic hamlet called Sathnuru, the Kabbaldurga is at a height of 3,600 ft and provides a bit of a challenge even to the seasoned climbers. This is also a fascinating night climb. This is home to the Goddess Kabbalamma, and the hillock derives its names from her.
The easiest way to get to this fort is by road. One can take the route that goes from Bangalore-Bidadi-Channapatna-to finally reach Sathnuru, which is at the foot of the Kabbalu hill. Many adventure seekers choose to take motorbikes on this route. The 100 km stretch is partly on the highway and partly on country roads. The stretch upto Kanakpura is largely city driving on Mysore road, and partly beyond is beautiful roads in the villages of Channapatna and Sathnuru, but after that, the terrain gets rough. After Channapatna, you will spot the hillock. It is advisable to stop here and ask for directions for the village of Sathnuru, as the place is not very clearly marked on GPS. Take a left deviation to leave behind the hot city roads, and enter the cool country roads. Fresh air will hit your face and every single time you look at the hill of Kabbalamma, shivers at what lies ahead will be clearly felt. Navigating somehow through mud and country road, you will arrive at the village of Kabbalu with the hillock and Fort in the backdrop.
Camping enthusiast? Kabbalamma’s got you!
The resting place of the Goddess Kabbalamma provides a good place for the seasoned camping enthusiast. The village of Kabbalu as well as Sathnuru is good place to spend the night camping. Carry your camping gear with tents, sleeping bags and provisions and the village offers all the basic amenities for camping. There’s drinking water available and there’s also a lake to swim in nearby, if you are so inclined. Begin the trek first thing in the morning, or around midnight, if you have decided upon a night trek.
Breaking down the trek
The trek begins with a simple walk through plush green fields. Soon after, one passes a few homes. Trailing through the rugged, uneven and challenging terrain, make it to the peak and find yourself some time to explore and witness the charm of this old temple and surrounding fortifications. The initial stretch is also where you need to find your way to ascend, and it is very easy to get confused. Keep pushing through the shrubbery till you hit rock surface. This is where the real climb begins.
The three pointers
This is the second stretch of the climb. This is also the most confusing and exhausting of the entire climb. It will test your energy levels, especially if you have chosen to do a day climb. The sun makes the rock which is granite, hot to touch, and all you have is bare rock to climb on. Very soon, you will happen upon a field of lush green grass, or what is commonly called by the climbers, the Viper stretch. It is easy, and you might even spot the last remains of a snake long gone by.
This is a comfortable stretch with steps and railings, which have been marked by the local villagers to ascend to the temple of Kabbalamma. But because it is steep steps, the knees will take a beating. Soon enough, you will find yourself at the top, and pay your respect to the goddess and then, stand on the edge of the hillock and enjoy the vista that unfolds underneath.
The descent is fairly easily and can be completed rather quickly. Once at the bottom, take a little rest before starting the drive back to Bangalore as the steep descent can cause the occasional cramp in the gluteus and may need a bit of relief.
This is one of those carefree, fun filled, free flowing weekend trips that include some serious sections of treacherous climbs and trek. The place is highly enjoyable and has something to offer for everyone, whether it is an adventure seeker, the nature lover or the history buff.
The trek is situated about 102 km south west of Bengaluru in the State of Karnataka is about 20 kms from Kanakpura Taluk. The best and easiest way to get there is to drive or ride from the city.
Be armed with ample amount of food that is ready to eat, water, water bottles that are easy to carry, flashlight, an emergency medical kit, because cuts, burns and abrasions will be aplenty though there is a dispensary in the Sathnuru taluk. Sunblock and sun glasses will help if you have attempted a day climb; otherwise you are looking at some serious sunburn and tan, as well as tired, sore eyes.
If you intend to camp, either team up with an agency that will arrange for a camping tour, or bring your own camping gear, including tenting and blankets, because it gets very cold at night. Granite heats up fast and cools down faster.