Haddina Kallu (Eagle Stone Hill).
We are sure you would not have heard of this place before. Neither we did till we stumbled upon it.
We are not sure how many times we have driven on Bangalore – Mangalore highway. Whenever we drive on this road, Poorna used to notice a beautiful hill every time we crossed Yediyur. We could see a small temple kind of structure on top of it. But we never ventured to find out what this place is. There was no signage either.
Three months back when we drove on the road a nice arch had come up on the road leading to the place. On the arch was written “Haddina Kallu Hanumantharaya Swamy Temple”. The figures of Lord Hanuman and Lord Rama were sculpted on the arch. The name “Haddina Kallu” looked interesting but we did not venture to go for it.
Last month when we were driving from Sakleshpur, we noticed a car coming out of that road and joining the highway. Poorna pulled the car aside and asked the person who was driving the car about Haddina Kallu. The man told us that there was a nice temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman on top of a lovely hill. He also said that it is a good climb to the temple.
On a lazy Saturday morning last fortnight, we just decided to drive to see the place. After delicious breakfast at Shark food Court – which serves soft and tasty tatte Idlis – followed by the regular coffee break at Swathi Delicacy, we crossed Yediyur and after few kilometres turned right to Byrasandra village. The village is at a distance of four kilometres and we were greeted by a beautiful lake on the way. Good rainfall had ensured fields were tended and green. Driving through the fields, we could see the hill from distance. The hill looks massive and spread out. Please click on the pictures to see them in larger size.
We reached the village and asked locals for directions. They pointed us towards the hill. After driving another kilometre, we reached the foot hill and parked our car.
Let us take you through pictorial journey to this lovely place.
We park the car and start walking. The parking area is 300 metres away from the welcome arch. This place being a pilgrimage place for locals, we find few buildings meant for them to cook or conduct rituals. A small lake on the left is brimming with water. On the bank, we spot a Kingfisher on a small twig.
The welcome arch is newly built and the staircase is also new. We notice that the trust formed by philanthropists being active in developing this place. Stones meant for building the stairs are piled up on either side of the road.
The first stop happens to be the shrine for Indrajit. Yes, the son of Ravana. A small statue of Indrajit adorns the shrine on the right side of the arch. It is here people who have taken a vow sacrifice chicken to the god.
The board at the arch says that we need to leave our footwear at the foothill and climb barefoot. We have no option. We leave them in a safe place praying no one pick them up. We start climbing the steps. The hill looks tall and the well spread out. It looks formidable even as we start climbing the newly laid stairs. Looking at the colour of the walls, the building on top of the hill obviously must be the temple.
The cliffs are steep and looks challenging for rock climbers.
The initial euphoria of walking on the well laid out steps is short-lived. We now walk on the pathway made of boulders. Fortunately, they are not sharp but uneven. The greenery around the path and the views help us to forget the pain of walking barefoot. We are slowly getting used to it.
We pass a beautiful painting of Hanuman and continue the climb.
The first glimpse of the landscape below the hill. This is the same lake we saw at the foothill.
The weather is fortunately holding and cloudy sky is providing some comfort. Monsoon rains have turned the whole place into glorious green. The steps get steeper and we look up to see a fascinating array of stones. Balancing against each other, it looks like an “eagle in flight”. Is this the reason the hill is named “Haddina Kallu” of “Eagle Stone Hill”?
Climbing the hill in the morning sun is quite a task. We are barefoot. The saving grace is the greenery all around. But unfortunately there are no trees covering the pathway. Thus, we have no option but to climb in the sun. Gulping water, we continue and pass a small pond. This looks like a holy pond where pilgrims take a dip before offering prayers to the god.
We ask a fellow walking down as to how long is the climb. He says another hundred steps. We are glad that we are reaching the summit finally. We notice two stones delicately leaning against each other. Who placed them here? The beauty of nature is for us to enjoy.
We finally reach the top. We can see a temple under a shed. The temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. We could see few people around the temple.
Temple bells at the entrance. We could see many monkeys around. The door of the temple has automatic closing mechanism to ensure the monkeys do not enter inside.
The interior of the temple is very simple. A stone pillar with Hanuman carved on it is the main deity. We start talking to the priest who is from the neighbouring village. He walks up every day to the temple. He says initially there was no shed and the deity was in the open. The place was known only to the local villagers who used to come on Saturdays and on special occasions. We ask him about the name “Haddina Kallu”. How did the place get its name? “Possibly because the hill is so tall that only eagles could reach”. Apt answer indeed.
Then comes the interesting part of our conversation. The priest tells us the holy column also has a figure of Indrajit carved on it – see pic below – and he is also worshipped! This is a surprise. Indrajit is the son of Ravana, the emperor of Sri Lanka who was killed by Lord Rama. This must be only temple in the country dedicated for him!
After the darshan of Lord Hanuman, we spend few minutes enjoying the beautiful surroundings. The views from the top is breathtaking, especially after monsoon.
We plan to descend as the sun gets hotter. Descending is easy but the stones are getting heated up! At some places we feel ascent is better than descent due to steep raise. Poorna says he will start counting the steps. We reach the arch at the start point. Poorna says “1050 steps” ! We couldn’t believe ourselves that we had climbed 1000 steps! That is quite steep indeed.
But it was fun doing this. To be there amidst greenery for few hours and inhale fresh air was always a welcome break from the monotony of city life.
Haddina Kallu is at a distance of 100 KMs from Bangalore. After crossing the flyover at Yediyur, drive for 7 KMs and look out the signage of “Byrasandra” on the left and for a lovely arch on to your right. Take the U turn and enter the village road. You can see the hill from the distance. A comfortable drive will take you to the foot hill. Here is the google map
- It is a good day trip to do by car or bike. At a height of Haddina Kallu is 980 metres (Nandi Hills is 1450 Mtrs) it is one of the tall hills around Bangalore.
- Leaving early will help so that you can climb before sun gets hotter. Have breakfast on the way. Our pick is either Shark Food Court (excellent Tatte Idlis (flat idlis) and Dosa) after Solur or Swathi Delicacy before Yediyur which has more variety. Shark is an open air restaurant and may get crowded. Swathi has a car service and the Masala Dosa and filter coffee is to die for!
- You can take the car till the foot hill of Haddina Kallu and then start your climb. Though there is a board asking people to leave the footwear, it is advisable to walk with footwear.
- There are few petty shops at the foot hills which sell knickknacks. You will not get any thing to eat.
- It will take around 1.30hours to climb for a healthy and fit person and 30 minutes to come down.
- It is a tough climb for old and obese. We saw few old people climbing the hill but they were struggling.
- The hill has forest around it and while speaking with the priest, he mentioned that there are sloth bears in the forest. Thus it may not be advisable to climb down at night.
- The summit is a good place to camp. Not sure whether one needs to take permission for it. The lake sides – at the foothills and Irubanahalli – are good places to camp.
- No liquor or smoking allowed on the hill. This is not a hill station but a pilgrimage centre. Please respect it. No loud music too.
- Wear a good hat, carry water and some energy bars.
- Take a good camera and binoculars. You would love it.
- Looking at the forests and trees in the hill, this is definitely a birders paradise.
- You can combine this with a detour to Yediyur Siddalingeshwara temple and also Markonahalli dam on Shimsha river which are close by.
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