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.
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!
K, one of my hiking companions, tried:
K avoids hitting her head on the cave ceiling
I avoid hitting my head near the exit, (although it appears that the holy water turned me into a zombie):
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.
With my hiking companions, K & P
On the way back down hill, we took a break in the shade, and considered the options at the numerous “rest stops”
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.