Bangalore Outdoor Adventure - Kailasagiri

As someone who has been in Bangalore for some time, I was keen in finding some 'outdoorsy' things to do. Trouble is Bangalore itself has little to offer within the city limits for that type of fun, so you have to go out of the city instead.

After looking around, I got wind of a 'cave temple' outside the city, about an hour and half drive. Excited with the prospect of seeing something new, I got my family into the car and off we went.

If you're not familiar with the Indian countryside, then this drive is a pleasant experience for the eyes. Trouble is, the roads are something to be desired and the drive can be quite dangerous for those inexperienced to Indian roads.

Upon arrival into Kaivara, we were struck by the large boulders towering over us (actually, we could see them from pretty far away; up close they looked monolithic). We immediately stumbled out of the car and were about to start a quick hike up when the sun reminded us that it was perhaps not the brightest idea.

The map of the area informed us there was a 'forest' nearby, and the cave temples were actually in the next town over. So we boarded our vehicle and headed off. Sadly, the forest is less like a tree-filled area and more like a beginner's garden. There were a few plants growing between rocks and was somewhat lacking in the leaf department. Nothing like the forests and wildlife parks you can find in other nearby areas.  Still, if you like monkeys, then there was quite a large number of them hanging around

This temple is quite large and fascinating. Apparently there was a large epic battle here from ancient Hindu mythology and attracts a large number of devotees and curious cats (like myself). It's all terribly exciting, but we were adamant about seeing the cave temples.

We found out that the place we wanted to get to was called Kailasagiri, located 8km away from Kaivara (see map).

The drive is... unique. The place is located on a mountain next to some huge boulders that rivaled what we saw moments before in Kaivara. You travel through a small village and up a windy road. At the top you will see a small shop, a large building, and a parking lot in the baking sun. There are a few trees, but it's open and hot (I cannot stress how much sun and heat there was).

Now, in most Hindu temples and religious places, food is handed out for free, so if you're looking to eat and like simple vegetarian food (and can stomach it), then you're more than welcome to eat in the mess hall (which is the large building you would have seen). It's a sit-down-serve type where you sit down and they will serve you rice, daal, yogurt, and salt. It's good, although I'd advise against it if you're a newcomer to India. You might get an upset tummy.

Oh, and you have to take your shoes off before you go inside, but they'll tell you that so don't worry. Also, after that, you'll be asked to make a donation. Give whatever feels is right. Also, they don't have eating utensils, so brush up on your hand-eating skills (they have a faucet for you to rinse outside).

After that we decided to go up the mountain to see the caves. In the hot, hot sun. Perhaps not the smartest of things, but we were determined to explore the caves, so we decided to suck it up and get on with it.

On the way, my wife decided to buy some chocolate as a treat. Food and monkeys don't mix, and one made some threatening gestures to get the chocolate goodness out of her hands. It worked, and she threw that chocobar as far as she could and started a monkey death match with the treat as a prize.

Don't show the monkeys you have food otherwise they'll try to steal it from you.
The hike up was difficult, but that is more of me being unfit and the heat reminding me that it was hot. After getting to the top of the path, we were disappointed to discover that the caves were actually newly created and that there was still an immense amount of debris from the excavation.

The caves are a holy place, so after reaching the top, you must remove your footwear and enter. Inside the temperature dropped considerably. We rested up, taking in the large chamber where you could have a wonderful time having a band play in there. The acoustics were perfect. After that we headed out passing three different gods and paid homage to each one in respect.

After that we headed down to the car and took a different route home, which added another hour to our overall trip, but we got to see so many different types of scenery that was worth it.

So, in summary, Kailasagiri isn't that great of a place. It's not old, and it's difficult to get to. Saying that, it's still unknown ‘touristically’ and there are few people there. The area around the caves and the temples is relatively untouched and is beautiful. It was worth the drive and visit, in my opinion, but I wouldn't do it again. If I did, I'd do it during the monsoon or just after and not during the blistering heat, which contributed to 80% of the downside to the trip.

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