A couple of years ago, I had seen a picture of the peacock temple on Instagram. I was instantly drawn and mesmerised by its beauty and that immediate moment, the place had made it to my bucket list. So when I visited Bangalore last year, I decided to visit Mandaragiri betta to see the peacock temple. I spoke to my friend and we made a plan. We decided to take an outstation Ola cab and visit this place as a day trip from Bangalore.
The outstation cab for the entire day cost us about Rupees 2000 and the booking of the cab was very easy on their app.
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Where is Mandaragiri betta?
The Basada or Mandaragiri betta (hill) is about 65 kilometres from Bangalore in Tumkur. It is in a quiet village called Pandithanahalli.
There are two things that can be done here – one is to hike the Mandaragiri betta and the other is to visit the Peacock temple. Both these places put together make a perfect one day trip from Bangalore.
One needs at least 4 hours to cover both these places.
The best time to visit Mandaragiri betta is during the spring and winter seasons (November to February) as it is not hot. The hill can get very hot during the summer season.
The Peacock temple is an awesome place for photographers and the best time to take amazing pictures are either during sunrise or sunset.
How to reach Mandaragiri betta?
The best way to get there is by driving. As mentioned above, the Mandaragiri betta is around 65 kilometres (approximately 1.5 hours) from Bangalore. The roads are in good condition and is a pleasant drive to the place.
There is plenty of parking space and is absolutely free.
There are frequent trains between Bangalore city and Tumkur. The train journey takes about 50 minutes and it costs only Rupees 25. The train journey can be booked on the IRCTC website.
There are also state transport buses that leave from Majestic and this takes around 1- 2 hours to reach Tumkur. The bus stop to get down is either Pandithanahalli cross or Basadi Betta Cross. The cost of the bus journey on a state transport bus is only Rupees 85 and the tickets can be booked on the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) website.
Note: For such short journeys on the trains and buses, one need not book the tickets well in advance. They can be purchased at the counters near the stations. For buses, one can purchase tickets after boarding the bus.
Part 1 – Mandaragiri betta
The Mandaragiri betta is a small hill with 434 steps (~ 500 metres one way) to reach the peak. The hike is very easy and is suitable for beginners and kids.
On top of the hill, there are four Jain temples. The temples are said to have been constructed between the 12th and 14th centuries. There is also a small pond, behind the temples where one can get spectacular views of the villages.
Unfortunately, the temples were all closed when I visited. I was also told that the temples can be visited only by the people who follow Jainism, I am not sure if this is true or not. Nevertheless, the views of the Mydala lake from the top are spectacular and breathtaking.
- Distance: approx. 2 kilometres one way.
- Steps: 434 steps (~ 500 metres one way).
- Grade: Easy.
- Time taken: 15 to 20 minutes one way.
- Cost: FREE.
Part 2 – Peacock Jain temple
The place also has a famous pilgrim temple for Jainism called Peacock Jain temple. At the foothills of the Mandaragiri betta is the Peacock Jain temple. It is a nicely constructed Jain temple which has a look of peacock’s feathers called Pinchi. The temple also hosts a big statue of Mahavir Jain. The temple is a very famous Instagram spot, especially during sunsets.
The temple also hosts a huge statue of Chandranatha Thirthankara, a smaller version of the statue of Gomateshwara that is in Shravanabelagola.
- Ensure to wear sturdy shoes to climb the Mandaragiri betta. Carry an extra pair of socks just in case of blisters.
- Carry sufficient water and snacks as there are no restaurants or shops nearby. And one definitely needs a good amount of water during a hot day.
- The closest darshini/dhaba (restaurant) is around 5 kilometres from the betta (hill) on the highway. Enjoy a good filter coffee in one of these darshinis.
- There is a toilet facility for ladies near the Peacock Jain temple. The keys for the toilet can be taken from the security guard.
- There are no monkeys on the hill which was a relief for me as the only animals that I stay away from, mostly, are the monkeys.
- DO NOT LITTER OR THROW GARBAGE. Take your garbage with you and do not dirty the place.
Safety for solo travelers
The place is absolutely safe. The hill does not have any bushes or any hidden places because of which this hike can be attempted solo. These are one of the few places where I felt safe and the best thing is that the hill does not have any monkeys. However, I would not recommend visiting this place during the dark as it can get very isolated quickly. Also, be vigilant about your surroundings and ensure you are cautious at all times when traveling alone.
The Mandaragiri betta and the Peacock Jain temple are definitely a must-visit getaway from Bangalore. They are very pretty and a nice place to spend a day with family and friends. I definitely recommend visiting this magical place and taking some awesome pictures.
One can also visit Mydala Lake along with Mandaragiri betta and Peacock temple. However, the road to the lake is a mud road.