The rocky terrains of Ramanagara are most famous as the location where the blockbuster movie ‘Sholay’ was shot. Few, however, know that avid rock climbers have been practicing their craft here from as early as the 1960s.
The site is great for climbing and rappelling as well as trekking. The best aspect here is that it is situated less than fifty kilometers from Bangalore, on the route between Bangalore and Mysore, so Bangaloreans don’t really need a long holiday to go climbing, they can even do it on a weekend.
Activities and Things to Do
Ramanagara has a number of hillocks which are suitable for adventure sports like climbing. The ‘Ramadevara Betta’ is one of the most well-known ones. It roughly translates to ‘the hillock of Lord Rama’. At the summit of this hillock is another hillock, and the rock face of this second hillock is where many rock climbers try their sport.
Kapotagiri, Shivaramagiri, Kaakasura Betta and Ramasiddeshwara Betta are some of the other well-known hillocks of the region.
It is recommended that you go on a rock climbing trip prior to or after the monsoons, since the rocks may tend to be really slippery during the rains. Moreover, safety equipment is a must while climbing.
Ramanagara has received international recognition as a rock climbing site, with the grades here varying from moderate to difficult. Based on the nature of the rock surface and the level of difficulty, different climbing trails have been given different names; a couple of them are even named after characters from Sholay – ‘Kalia’, for instance.
Apart from rock surfaces, there are also some granite cliffs in the Ramanagara region. Some of these too can be used for climbing.
Ramanagara is known for a number of old temples so you could go around exploring them. Many of these temples are atop the Ramadevara Betta and they are dedicated to deities like Rama, Sita and Hanuman.
It is also home to a number of different species of birds, besides monkeys. While the birds are a treat to watch, the monkeys can prove to be a bit of a nuisance sometimes, so you’ll need to be careful while carrying eatables around.
Getting to Ramanagara
Here is how you can find the exact location of the Ramanagara rocks. If you are starting out from Bangalore, take the old Bangalore-Mysore road (not the new NICE Road). Once you pass Ramanagara town, you will see a road going towards the right which will lead to Ramadevara Betta. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find since some of the rocks will be visible from the main road itself.
You’ll need to get a clearance from the Regional Forest Office in Ramanagara town before commencing on any adventure sports. The office is open only on weekdays and climbers will be charged a certain small fee, and guide charges will be separate.
Some adventure travel companies are known to organize camps around this area. Not far from Ramanagara is the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, home to a number of species of rare birds including migratory ones.