Hiking Shivaganga

About an hour NW of Bangalore (if you leave early to beat traffic) lies a hill named Shivaganga. Shivaganga is said to have four-faces: (1) east = Nandi Bull, (2) west = Ganesha, (3) south = a linga (stylized representation of Shiva), and (4) north = coiled cobra with hood. The hike starts off rather like Gomatesvara, there is small village at the base, with a large tank, and the path/steps are carved into rock. As you start the hike you pass through a large gopuram. This hill has many nandi bull temples — a huge one carved of natural stone towards the base, a white one pained with colours en route up and numerous small ones in little pavilions and then one precariously placed at the very top.

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About half way up, hikers and pilgrims come across the Cave Temple. It is cave like — I couldn’t stand in many places and for one portion you really have to limbo or crawl. The big feature of the cave is a hole in the rock with natural spring beneath. The legend is that if you stick your hand in the hole and touch the water, you are lucky/blessed/good person. I was able to reach the water — yippee!

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K, one of my hiking companions, tried:

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K avoids hitting her head on the cave ceiling

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I avoid hitting my head near the exit, (although it appears that the holy water turned me into a zombie):

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The last 30 min or so of the hike are steep steps craved into the rock. They are more akin to a ship’s ladder than a hiking path. There are hand rails along this section (with seemed sturdy) and they were absolutely necessary. The view at the top is amazing and it was a good sense of accomplishment to make it there. There are 2 temples, a Nandi bull and some columns at the top.

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K & I waving from the top:

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With my hiking companions, K & P

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On the way back down hill, we took a break in the shade, and considered the options at the numerous “rest stops”

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There are lots of monkeys on the hill waiting for hikers & pilgrims, so we only snacked at a rest stop who’s proprietor used a sling shot to keep them at bay. Even then, one cheeky monkey ran off with a bunch of grapes I left on the bench right next to me as I sorted out my pack.

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