A nondescript detour off the Bengaluru- Tumkur highway led to a narrow road with intermittent tarmac that meandered its way past open lands and a few scattered houses. In a few minutes I was at the base of Basadi Betta, a popular hillock which is also known as Manadargiri.
A few meters before Mandaragiri hill, stands the tall statue of Thirthankara, welcoming people to his land. A popular Jain shrine, Manadaragiri has caught the attention of travellers with the beautiful Guru Mandir which is in the shape of an inverted Pinchi (a peacock feather fan) next to the statue of Thirthankara. This 81 feet tall structure with its hues and the art works which made a pretty frame took my attention away from the statue of Thirthankara. Guru mandir was built in memory of a Jain saint, and the inner walls have stories and paintings from Jainism.
Manadagriri which is also known as Basadi Betta is a hillock with a few Jain shrines atop it built between 12th and 14th century. More than 400 steps lead to the top of Mandaragiri. It was a quick climb and I scaled it in less than half an hour. Though not spectacular, the aerial views of the surrounding areas were a delight as I walked up. To the left of the temple is a pond with boulder strewn hills all around. However, the view behind was a stunner with the blue Mydala kere lake slowly revealing itself and gleaming against the brown backdrop. There is a narrow trail that leads down from the hillock to the waterbody. Strolled around for a while and headed back as the sun got harsher.
Mandaragiri is a nice short getaway from Bengaluru and remains not so popular on the tourist map.
1. Mandaragiri is 65 Kms from Bengaluru. It is ideal to travel in your own vehicle.
2. There are no restaurants nearby, so do carry water and energizers.
3. It is highly recommended to visit early in the morning to avoid the harsh sun.