Savandurga is a hill 33 km west of Bangalore off the Magadi road, in Karnataka. The hill is famous for a temple and is also believed to be among the largest monolith hills in the world. The hill rises to 1226 m above mean sea level and forms a part of the Deccan plateau. It consists of peninsular gneiss, granites, basic dykes and laterites. The Arkavathi river passes nearby through the Thippagondanahalli reservoir and on towards Manchanabele dam. Distance from Bengaluru to Savandurga Hill is 69.5 km and travel time is around 1 h 46 min via NH4 and SH 3.
Savandurga is formed by two hills known locally as Karigudda (black hill) and Biligudda (white hill). The earliest record of the name of the hill is from 1340 AD by Hoysala Ballala III from Madabalu where it is called Savandi. Another view is that the name is originated from Samantadurga attributed to a Samantharaya, a governor under Ahchutaraya at Magadi, although there is no inscription confirming this. This was the secondary capital of the Magadi rulers such as Kempegowda. from 1638 to 1728, Mysore took over this place and Dalavayi Devaraja occupied this place with the palace at Nelapattana. In 1792 Lord Cornwallis captured it from Tippu Sultan and this was described by Colonel Wilks.Robert Home in his Select views in Mysore (1794) shows distant views of the hill from Bangalore. He called it Savinadurga or the fort of death. There were no steps to reach the hill top and it was covered by Bamboos and other trees forming a barricade.
The Savandurga hills are frequented by pilgrims who come to visit the Savandi Veerabhadreshwara Swamy and Narasimha Swamy temple sited at the foothills. Picnickers come to spend time among the serene environs of the hill. Rock climbers, cave explorers and adventurers are among others who frequent the locale.
Trekking in Savandurga
Savandurga is the one of the largest monoliths in Asia. Of the two hills, Billigudda and Karigudda, which constitute the Savandurga trekking trails, the former is preferred by most trekkers over the latter due to its gentler slopes. The entire area is covered by verdure and serene atmosphere. This region is famous for medicinal plants and shrub forest. This is a paradise for the climbing enthusiasts. Climbers can scale sheer rock faces enduring up to grade 7. It is also good for a day's trek and camping at the foothill.