Ramanagaram Hills

Ramanagaram, a haven for rock climbers is a taluk of Bangalore Rural District.  It is situated about 48 kms from the South West of Bangalore city and the rocky terrain is about 3,066 feet above sea level. Ramanagara is the land of seven hills, namely Shivaramagiri, Yatirajagiri, Somagiri, Krishnagiri, Revanna Siddeshwara Betta, Jala Siddeshwara Betta and Sidilakallu Betta.

Ramanagaram has been famous for its historical temples on the hilly region, rock climbing, stone and granite quarries, silk cocoon industry, industrial belt at Bidadi Industrial Area, and also an great shooting location for action filled movies.

Temples and Caves in Ramanagara

Ramanagara gets its name from Ramagiri Hills or Ramadevara Betta. Along with Ramadevara Betta there are other hills Rama Siddeshwara betta, Shivar-amagiri, Kaakasura Betta, Kapotagiri, this hill resembles a lingam when viewed from the east, Ganesha from the west, a serpent from the north and Lord Hanuman from the south.  The village has a Agrahara, on the banks of the river Arkavati. Arkeshwara Temple built in Vijayanagara style was later renovated by Krishnaraja Wodeyar III.

One can see the small temple of Venugopalaswamy on the right and Prasanna Ambadevi shrine on the left.   The annual Jatra held on Phalguna Shudda Poornima is very auspicious.

Kharkhaane Bande: This hillock is about 3066 feet above sea level, 450 steps and three door ways leads to the rock carvings of Venugopal, Ganapathi, Maruti and Garuda and many inscriptions.

Rameshwara and Sri Rama Temples: Atop the hill is a pond, the Rameshwara shrine on the right and Parvathi temple nearby. Earlier this temple was called the Thryambakeshwar temple, a Kalyana Mantap was built by Kempegowda.

The left side of the pond hosts the Sri Rama temple with Navaranga statues of Vaishnavite style. Saint Ramanujacharya and Nammalwars yogic postures are seen here. On the ceiling one can observe the Shree Chakra with serpents, the temple sanctum hosts Sri Rama, Sita, and Hanuman.

The shikara(temple top) was built in Dravidian architecture. King Kempegowda constructed a Rangamantapa. It is believed that Kempegowda found treasure at the rock, Homiakumbhi Bande, which is behind the Sri Rama temple. This place is called the Naidile Theertha. These places were visited by the Saint Ramanujacharya. Adjoining the hill is the Yamaraja Betta.

History / Sthala Purana/ Entomology

Ramanagaram has been under the domain many great rulers in history. The Mauryas (268-372) , Gangas, Cholas, Kalyani Chalukyas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagar kings, Yelahanka Naadaprabhus, Mysore kings, Hyder Ali and finally Tipu Sultan have reined on these hills, leaving their landmark in renovating and constructing many temples and monuments. For ages, Jains, Shaivites, Vaishnavites, Veerashaivas and Muslims have been living together in harmony.

Kempegowda built a fort during his reign (1530 A.D.) Ramagiri during his time was known as Ramagiri Durga. Immadi Kempegowda was defeated by Ranadullah Khan in 1638-39 A.D. after his siege the fort.

Tipu Sultan strengthened the fort and made it the storehouse for his arms and ammunition in 1791 A.D. It was around the same time that the third Mysore War was raging. Tipu lost his kingdom to the British, Lord Cornwallis.  The same year saw Capt Welsh hoisting the Union Jack on this hill.

Ramagiri hills have been mentioned many a time in scriptures and literature. There have been references of the hills in Valmiki and Thoravi Ramayan, Revannasiddeshwara Ragale, a work by Harihara,  the 16th century work of Renukaradhya, Bheemeshaadri Mahasthala Purana. Sarvagna also makes reference to this place in his Vachanas. “Sidilu Kallina Balagadelu Koteya Nagiri” refers to the seven hills of Ramanagaram taluk.  In Manteswamy poems, Nallappa’s ‘Hydernaama, Kempegowda’s ‘Jayaprashasthi’ and Col. Home’s ‘Selected Views of Mysore’ has mentioned Ramanagaram in their literary works.

There are many mosques in this town .  Some of them are Nalbandwadi Mosque, Mehaboobnagar Mosque, Motinagar Mosque, Ijur Mosque and Hajinagar Mosque. Peer Hazrath phiran Shah Wali Dargah, near the Arkavati Bridge, where Urus is held during the month of Jamadi-ul-Aval.  Qawali is performed where lakhs of people participate in the programme.

There are six more Dargahs in the town viz., Bismillah Sha Wali (near railway station), Khasim Wali Shah (beside Nalbandwadi Mosque), Bade Khajas and Chote Khajas and Lautali Shah (Mosque area), Chaman Shah Wali (nearby the same area), Bahar-Ali-Shah (near Jamia Mosque) and Syed Mirah Shah Wali ( mysore road).

Movie Shoots at Ramanagaram

Ramanagaram is one of the famous shooting locations for Indian films. The famous “Sholay” movie has been filmed here.  Another movie “A Passage to India “ by David Lean  was filmed on the Ramadevara Betta.

Quarrying at Ramanagaram Taluk

Stone Quarrying has been one of the long time works threatening the environment and the ecosystem. The hills are the home for endangered species like the Yellow throated Bulbul and Long billed Vultures. Many people have spotted the sloth bears, tigers were found in the region in 1900s.

Closepet Granites

Ramanagaram was named as Closepet during the British period. Closepet Granites are formed during the Lower Proterozoic era . They form the rock belt stretching north south direction about 50kms. This belt has potassic granites, low grade granite greenstone belts with iron manganese ores, also younger gneisses of granitic and granodioritic composition with gold bearing schist belts.

Rock Climbing

Ramanagaram is famous for Rock climbs. Grades here vary from 5.8 – 5.11 American with 1 to 2 pitches. There are the climbs called Wanakkal wall (“Gabbar ki asli pasand”, “labour pain”) on the Rainbow wall (“UIAA”, “Kalia”), on the Anna Thamma Rock (“Darkness at Dawn”, “Black Diamond”)

Bidari Industrial belt

This city in Ramanagara Taluk houses mega companies manufacturing units like Toyota and Coca Cola, and a 1400MW combined cycle gas based power plant. Ramanagaram is known as the Silk town, one of the biggest silk markets in India. This place is home for many cottage and small scale industries like carpentry, handicrafts, stone carving, quarry, smithy works etc.

The Muslims of the place are mainly engaged in cocoon rearing and the Silk Cocoon marketing. The place is also noted for the manufacture of highly artistic terracotta items and pottery ware, which are even marketed elsewhere in the country. Ijur or old Vayujuru, the oldest place in Ramanagaram, is situated at the foot of two picturesque rocky hillocks.

How to reach:

This town lies on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway. It is about 50kms from Bangalore city.

Travel Tidbits:

  • Carry water, en route there are many food joints.
  • Please Do Not Litter the place.
  • If you are rock climbing or rappelling ensure you carry first aid kit for bruises.

Rock Climbing Gear: ropes, harness, carabiners, belay device, quick draws, climbing shoes.

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