Rayakottai Fort – A peak summer trek 29/04/2018

Place: Rayakottai Fort, Tamilnadu

Distance: 74 km from Bangalore
Type: Trekking
Ideal for: Friends
Trek Difficulty: Easy
Trek Length: 3 kilometers one way

Trek Duration: 1 hour one way

Do you have kind of friends with whom you don’t talk for months or even years but when you reconnect it feels like nothing has changed? Well, I’ve such friends Rathod and Satish. Ye dono kamine hai, nikamme hai, nakara hai lekin bhai yaar hai ye dono dost.

Best of the beast: Dabbing on the Rayakottai Fort Hill Top

Summer was at its peak so I refrained myself from any trips. Rathod called me on a long weekend to check if we could go on a trip even if it’s a day’s ride. I hardly get any chance to hang out with these guys so I couldn’t say no.  Our last trip was Makalidurga trip which turned out to be epic, if you haven’t read that post then do check it out after reading this post. I had Rayakottai Fort trek as an unexplored place in my list which suited the kind of the place we were looking for.

Few other mutual friends pitched in and we were 7 on the confirmed list. Silk Board junction was decided as the meetup point. We planned to leave early to avoid the scorching sun while trekking.

Sunday morning: Alarm started irritating me from 4 am. After snoozing 10 times I woke up at 4.30. I gave a call to Rathod to check if they got up. Otherwise, I would just go back to sleep ( I was so much tempted to sleep). But (un)fortunately he said everyone got up and getting ready. So in no time I and Arun got ready and we hit the road at 5.15.

6 am: We started riding towards Rayakottai after having tea and a selfie

In most of my rides, I wear a jacket as it will be too cold in the morning but today it was not cold at all. I could easily estimate how hot it will be in the afternoon. After 30 minutes I reached Silk Board where rest of the gang were waiting for us. After having a hot cup tea we started our ride towards Rayakottai Fort which is exactly 69 km from Silk Board signal.

The Ride: Riding on Electronic city flyover is a bliss. Silky smooth road with colorful sky gave a beautiful start to the ride. We pulled over at Hosur to fuel up and check the directions. Google aunty told we need to take a right turn after Hosur. We entered single lane road with no traffic. It was breakfast time so we started looking for the restaurants en route. Most of the hotels were dirty and not pure veg. It seemed like a never-ending search for the good restaurant. Meanwhile, the ride was going fantastic. The road from Hosur till the Rayakottai is mesmerizing. Single lane road was surrounded by trees on either side. The road condition was excellent with no traffic, regular twists and turns kept the ride interesting. I love roads in Tamilnadu especially the countryside roads will be a treat to ride.

Breakfast time: Hunt for restaurant ended only after we entered Rayakottai. We found a decent pure veg restaurant near the Raikottai Railway station. Great breakfast was followed by a refreshing tea. The fort was hardly 1 km away, we reached the fort entrance in 5 minutes.

8am: Had breakfast near Rayakottai Railway station in a pure veg hotel

Brief about the place: Located in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu, Rayakottai fort is at a distance of 75 KMs from Bangalore city. Rayakottai fort is one of Tipu Sultan’s lesser-known forts. In the 18th century, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan ruled this fort. 

For a moment we were confused as the entrance gate was locked and some board in Tamil was put up. I could see Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) board declaring this place as a protected monument. I was not really sure if trekking is allowed here or not. Seeing our helpless condition a villager pointed out the entry point to the side. We got the confidence and parked our bike next to a small shop near the entrance.  As there’s no dedicated parking we requested shopkeeper to keep an eye on our bike.

For a moment we were confused as the Entrance gate was closed. We entered from the sides though.
9.00 am: We started trekking and this well-structured staircase helped us scale the hill till the Shiva temple

The trek: At first the hillock looked easily conquerable but I knew it would be challenging in this summer. The trek was assisted with the help of stairs at the beginning. Within 10 minutes of the hike, our t-shirts were drenched in sweat. It was hot and sunny even at 9 in the morning. With a couple of breaks and lots of fun, we reached a T-junction. The path splits into two – Left turn takes to the Shiva temple and the right turn takes to the peak. Satish decided to take the left turn first as he never takes the right decision 😂. After walking for another 10 minutes we reached a cave temple.

Even though it was just 9 in the morning the climate wasn’t pleasant. 
The trail is covered with the green bushes on either side. 
That is the summit. Seemed like a difficult one at first glance.

Did you observe this electric pole in the above images? Well following that would take you to the cave temple.

Cave Temple, the first view of the fort wall and the peak all in a single pic 

Cave temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is beautifully painted with white paint and red borders

Shiva Temple / Cave Temple: The temple is painted in white and decorated with red borders. It was sad to see many nonsense people had written their name with girl’s name (That girl probably doesn’t even know his name). There were no information boards about the temple or the origin. I entered the temple to learn more about it. The cave narrows down like a cone, at the end of the cave there was a Shiva Linga.  Seems like the puja doesn’t happen here regularly unless there’s a local festival. The temple was clean and beautiful. 

And then there are nonsense people who just ruin the beauty of the place by writing their names with a girls name in a potato shaped heart 

The cave inside the temple and Shiva Linga

We took a long break before proceeding further. We could see the giant hill behind the temple. At first, it seemed challenging but we were ready for anything that comes in our way.

We took rest for sometime enjoying this view of the city

The temple is the dead end so we realized another right turn which we saw earlier should lead to the peak. We came back to that junction and proceeded straight. Things started changing drastically, the well-built stairs disappeared and we were welcomed by thick forest and hills around. The inclination from here is less. It was almost like walking on a flat road for most of the time. The view was getting better with every step. Finally, we reached an open ground where there were 3-4 abandoned buildings which were probably used for storing armor and food in Tippu Sultan’s time. Even though it was just 11 the sun was very harsh and we were dehydrated. We took rest under the shade for more than half an hour listening to the music and enjoying the cold breeze kissing our cheeks.

Did you know goats are one of the best rock climbers in the world? Well, I witnessed it here.

Well-built stairs disappeared and we were welcomed by thick forest and hills around. 
There’s a pond to the extreme right. It was dried up but I am sure in monsoon it would look very good with water in it.

The view of the summit and abandoned structures amidst the greenery looked beautiful

A big rock on the edge of the hill caught my attention. The monkey in me woke up and climbed it to give some creative poses. While Rathod, Satish and me were busy in taking pic others were resting under the shade. 

The monkey in me woke up and climbed this rock to give some creative poses.

This candid pic was one of my favorites

Three Idiots!! (from left) Satish, Sagar (me) and Rathod

By this time our energy was completely down and I had to cheer everyone up to trek till the peak. It was hardly another 10 minutes hike till the summit which we covered without any stops. Like on any other hill I expected to find temple atop but what I saw was something out of the world or my imagination. There was a big diya (lamp). I think during the festival or special occasion villager light it up. From here we could see a 360-degree view of the surrounding. Especially I loved the view of the colorful houses of the village at the base. We couldn’t stay long on the peak as it was extremely hot and there was no shade. So we started descending soon after a group pic.

As soon as we reached summit my eyes were searching for a temple as most of the hills will have a small temple atop

But there stood this giant lamp which is lit on special occasions like a festival.

I realized how colorful the houses were only after seeing the city from this point

No matter how tired and dehydrated you are, ek selfie at the peak tho banta hai boss

We took another good half an hour of break. All the water bottles were empty. We got dehydrated and feeling hungry. We decided to descend non stop and have refreshments at the base and have lunch at Hosur.

It was 12.45 pm by the time we started to descend. The sun was at its peak sucking all our energy as we move. Descend was pretty easy, without any stops we reached the base in 25 minutes.

I forced everyone to pose for another group pic. (disinterest is clearly visible in their face :D)

I was happy to see our bikes were safe and sound. We started riding back to Bangalore. Stopped for water and tender coconut en route. We cruised non stop till A2B hotel at Hosur. A2B at Hosur is relatively cheaper than A2B’s in Bangalore. We reached Bangalore at 4 pm.

Conclusion: It was a lovely ride especially with one of the best gang ever. Overall it was a nice trek, fairly easy and worth a visit. There is very less information on the internet about this fort though. The roads are amazing and definitely calls for a bike ride.

Important Points:
1.  The location of the fort on Google map is precise. Link to Rayakottai Fort Location
2. Most of the people can understand Kannada and few can speak as well. Even if you don’t know any south language you can manage well as you hardly need to speak with anyone. 
3. Many other blogs mentioned there are many species of butterflies around this fort. So if you are butterfly lover then do visit it in the early morning.
4. Better to have breakfast before or Hosur itself because there are no good restaurants after Hosur. The one I had during my trip was just opposite to the Rayakottai Railway station. You can navigate to this location.
5. You can also reach Rayakottai by train and hire an auto till the base of the fort or simply walk.

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Other Recommended Trekking Places near Bangalore:
1. Savandurga Hill,  – 50 km 
2.  Shivaganga Hill – 50 km
3. Nijagal Betta, Tumkur – 52 km
4. Makalidurga, Doddaballapura – 55 km
5. Mandaragiri / Basadi Betta – 60 km
6. SRS Hills, Ramnagar – 60 km
7. Skandagiri Hills – 60 km
8. Hulukadi Betta – 65 km
9. Rayakottai – 74 km
10. Antharagange, Kolar – 75 km
11. Bilikal Rangaswami Betta 75 km
12. Avani Betta – 95 km
13. Siddara Betta – 100 km
14. Madhugiri Fort, Tumkur – 103 km

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