If you are looking for a one-day getaway from Bangalore and are tired of visiting the usual crowded locations, here is an offbeat hilltop located at around 90 km from Bangalore. Avalakonda also known as Dhenugiri is located in the Chikkaballapur district, about 20 km off the NH 7.
The hill houses an ancient temple of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy which has a mythological significance. Ages ago, when the ocean was churned by the gods and demons, many creations both good and bad surfaced. One of them was the holy cow and it is believed to have landed here. The hoof marks of the cow can be found on a rock. In later years large numbers of cows frequented this hill which gave the place the name Dhenugiri (Dhenu: cow & giri: hill). The nearby villagers make it a point to offer the first milk of their cows to the lord. Herds of cattle grazing here make for a nice pastoral scene. The cave temple has a small image of Lakshmi Narasimha. Adjacent to the cave is another shrine of Hanuman.
The hill is surrounded by a wide plateau covered with trees and shrubs. There are steps behind the cave temple that lead to the boulders and it is from here that the most stupendous views can be seen in all directions. Steep drops in every direction serve as natural vantage points to savour the beauty of the valley.
The State Forest Department has taken the initiative to develop and maintain this place has also built a rest house on the hill top. A well laid concrete single lane road takes the visitors all the way to the peak of the hill where the Forest rest house is located. The hilltop offers a magnificent view of the green hills around.
Drive on the Bellary road (NH7) from Bangalore. At 14 kms after Chikballapur (52 kms) near Peresandra, look out for a road on the left and proceed to Mandikal (11kms). From Mandikal, the hilltop is at a distance of 11 kms. Mandikal is connected by buses from Bangalore/Chikballapur.