Night trek to Skandagiri peak

Trekking Under the Stars: Skandagiri Night Trek (2024)

Experience the thrill of Trekking Under the Stars with our Skandagiri Night Trek adventure. Embark on a journey into the darkness as you ascend the rugged terrain of Skandagiri Hills under the shimmering canopy of stars.

Every adventurer in Bangalore is well acquainted with the exhilarating night trek to Skandagiri Peak. Renowned as a premier trekking spot, it is a cherished escape for locals seeking weekend thrills. My recent visit marked my second journey to Skandagiri, both occasions filled with the excitement of night trekking.

Though technically labelled a hike, the everyday usage in India often refers to such trails as treks, hence my occasional use of the term throughout this recount.

PIN for later reference – Skandagiri Night Trek

PIN for later reference - Skandagiri Night Trek
PIN for later reference – Night trek to Skandagiri peak

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About Skandagiri betta

Standing proudly at approximately 4430 feet, Skandagiri Betta emerges as a beloved trekking hotspot near Bangalore. Dubbed Kalavara Durga Betta, this natural marvel rests within the scenic expanse of the Chikkaballapura district, a mere 60 kilometres away from the bustling city of Bangalore.

Among the cluster of five prominent hills in Chikkaballapura, collectively known as the Panchagiri, Skandagiri holds its place alongside Nandi Giri (Nandi Hill), Chandra Giri, Brahma Giri, and Hema Giri. While the allure of Skandagiri beckons adventurers to its slopes, a day trip to Nandi Hills from Bangalore remains an equally popular pursuit among locals, adding to the region’s vibrant outdoor appeal.

Skandagiri betta
Skandagiri betta

Renowned for its breathtaking sunrise vistas, the hill attracts night trekkers eager to witness nature’s spectacle unfold. Offering panoramic views of Muddenahalli Village and Nandi Hill, Skandagiri’s allure is undeniable. However, its fame comes at a price—the trail remains bustling with activity at all hours. Commencing as early as 4 AM, the initial trekking groups aim to conquer the summit by 6 AM, just in time to greet the sun’s majestic ascent.

Views of sunrise Skandagiri
Views of sunrise

At the pinnacle, you’ll discover a stone temple honouring a Hindu deity, accompanied by remnants of an ancient fort. Honouring the site’s religious sanctity by removing your shoes before entering the temple premises is essential. Respecting these sacred beliefs adds reverence to your trekking experience and ensures harmony with the spiritual essence of the surroundings.

While the trail remains accessible year-round, it’s prudent to steer clear during rainy seasons when the rocks and boulders turn treacherously slippery. Opting for a morning trek is advisable, as the rising temperatures throughout the day can make the journey arduous and uncomfortable.

How to Get to Skandagiri Base?

By Road

The trek commences at the forest checkpoint in Kalawara village, approximately 60 kilometres from Bangalore city. Accessible via a road journey of about 1 hour and 20 minutes, heading towards the airport, Kalawara (also spelled as Kalavara) village serves as the gateway to this adventure. Ample parking facilities are available at the Papagni temple in Kalawara village, although it’s worth noting the presence of numerous monkeys around the temple premises.

While some concerns about locals attempting to puncture car tyres have been voiced, it’s reassuring to observe the considerable number of cars and bikes safely parked in the lot, indicating a prevalent sense of security among visitors.

Temple at Kalawara village
Temple at Kalawara village

By Public Transport

The closest bus and train stops to Skandagiri are located in Chikkaballapura. Regular bus and train services operate between Majestic in Bangalore and Chikkaballapura, offering convenient transportation options. From the bus or train stops in Chikkaballapura, travellers can easily hire an auto-rickshaw to reach Papagni temple, approximately 3 kilometres away.

For bus schedules and bookings, please visit the KSRTC website. For train timings and reservations, kindly refer to the IRCTC website. These online resources provide up-to-date information to facilitate your journey planning.

Statistics of the Skandagiri Night Trek

The Skandagiri trek spans 8 kilometres round trip and is classified as Hard grade. This rating stems from the challenging nature of the ascent, with the entire 4-kilometre stretch to the peak characterized by steep terrain and a few boulders necessitating climbing. Expect 2 to 3 hours for the one-way journey to the summit.

  • Starting and Finishing Points: Forest checkpoint. The forest checkpoint is just 800 metres from the Papagni temple in Kalawara village.
  • Total Distance: 8 kilometres return.
  • Time Taken: 2 to 3 hours one way.
  • Grade: Hard.

Trekkers embark on this exhilarating adventure amid nature’s splendour, starting and finishing at the forest checkpoint, conveniently situated just 800 meters from the Papagni temple in Kalawara village. Prepare for a rigorous yet rewarding trekking experience amidst Skandagiri’s rugged landscape.

Trekking Agency

My return to the peak marked my second ascent along this trail. My initial trek, undertaken with friends many years ago, predated the trail’s commercialization and the requirement for permits.

Today, securing permission from forest officials is a prerequisite for embarking on this journey, with the first batch setting off at 4 AM. On this occasion, I opted to join the expedition organized by Plan the Unplanned, who meticulously coordinated the entire trip from Bangalore. Priced at INR 1448, the package included transportation to and from Bangalore, ensuring a hassle-free experience. The trek leads were exceedingly amicable, adding a delightful touch to the adventure.

While a trekking agency facilitated my second trek, tackling the trail independently remains feasible. Permits, obtained online for INR 300 per person, grant access to the straightforward path devoid of complexities requiring guidance. However, should assistance be desired, local guides are readily available at the checkpoint, offering their expertise for hire.

Important Information

  • For those embarking on this trail independently, securing forest permission online before reaching the starting point is essential, as only 200 trekkers are permitted daily.
  • Ensure you carry a valid photo identification (hard or soft copy).
  • Opt for comfortable and sturdy footwear to navigate the potentially slippery terrain.
  • Pack a small daypack and include extra socks for added comfort.
  • Stay hydrated throughout the trek by carrying at least 2 litres of drinking water.
  • Don’t forget to bring small snacks to fuel your journey and enjoy at the peak.
  • Pack a first aid kit and a jacket to prepare for unforeseen circumstances.
  • Expect crowds on the trail and at the peak, and exercise patience and respect for fellow trekkers.
  • Beware of monkeys at the Papagni temple in Kalawara village; refrain from feeding them.
  • Respect the environment by disposing of garbage properly. Carry your trash with you and dispose of it in designated bins.
  • Toilet facilities are available at the base of the trek.
  • While no shops are along the trail or peak, you may encounter a tender coconut vendor selling biscuits.
  • Exercise caution on the trail by maintaining a slow and alert pace. Take small steps and avoid rushing. Safety should always be a priority.

Is Skandagiri Night Trek Safe for Solo Female Trekkers?

The Skandagiri trekking trail offers a safe environment for solo female trekkers, thanks to its straightforward path leading to the peak and clear markings. However, having a trekking buddy is advisable, particularly considering the presence of rocks and slippery sections that may pose challenges.

Download the Emergency Plus app for any unforeseen situations. The app does not require a mobile network; it shows your location. This is useful to inform the emergency services in case of any emergency.
If you are a tourist, always have good comprehensive travel insurance to cover yourself in case of any emergency.

The journey to Kalawara village can also feel isolated and daunting, especially at night. Having a companion adds an extra layer of security and peace of mind, ensuring a more enjoyable and secure trekking experience.

Closing Notes

Undoubtedly, the Skandagiri night trek is one of the most remarkable treks near Bangalore. The journey is rewarding, offering breathtaking views from the summit that make every step worthwhile. However, brace yourself for the crowds that flock to the trail and gather at the peak, as this popular trekking destination attracts numerous adventurers seeking its scenic beauty.

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Trekking Under the Stars: Skandagiri Night Trek (2024)
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    PIN for later reference – Skandagiri Night Trek

    PIN for later reference - Night trek to Skandagiri peak
    PIN for later reference – Skandagiri Night Trek