An unplanned weekend trip to witness the rocky splendor of Asia’s largest monolithic,  followed by a countryside drive through the lush green state forest to see the grandeur of the Arkavathy valley and  Manchanabele dam-  so much awesomeness in a little over 120 km round trip from Bangalore. Can’t believe it?  Read along!

The Met department had predicted that the Monsoon would hit Bangalore 4 days later so the weekend was still expected to be dry. There was no reason to stop us from getting out and thus began our weekend outing. We choose to visit Savandurga and Manchanabele dam  because of their close proximity to Bangalore.

To reach Savandurga, we took the Magadi road crossing the Thippagondanahalli reservoir and took a deviation  somewhere before Magadi to  hit the Magadi-Ramanagara road.  We could see the huge monolithic from the main road  standing majestically overlooking a beautiful  lotus pond. Savandurga was about 3 km detour from the Magadi-Ramanagara road.


Some ancient pillars in the lotus pond near Savana Durga


Lotus leaves


The lotus pond

The Savandi Veerabhadreshwara temple was the first temple we came across as we entered the  village of Savandurga which was previously called Savandi. Though the temple building looked renovated, there were a few old pillars and towers in the temple premise still retaining the ancient charm. We were lucky to witness a procession at the temple. Narasimha swami temple was another temple we visited. Since it was the day of Badami Amavasya ( new moon), the temple was quite crowded. It was around  12.30pm by the time we had completed visiting both the temples. It was quite hot and we ditched the idea of climbing the monolithic.


The monumental ornate tower near Savandi Veerabhadraswamy temple


The procession at Savandi Veerabhadra Swamy temple

To reach Manchanabele dam from Savandurga, we took  a route off the beaten track. ( check the map) we took a left near the Gollarahatti on the Magadi- Ramanagara road. The road was pretty deserted and in manageable condition till we reached a village by name Matha. ( well, that’s the name of the village as per Google maps ). This quaint village looked so perfect with the backdrop of the Savandurga hill- it offered an amazing view. Our amazement lasted  only till we realized that the road from Matha to reach Manchanabele was in a pathetic state. In fact, there was NO ROAD at all. Our poor cars had to literally  off-road to negotiate what was left on the so-called road till we reached the Savandurga-Manchanabele road. ( this is the usual road everyone takes to reach Manchanabele from Savandurga). Luckily, the Savandurga-Manchanabele road was in pretty good condition except for a few occasional potholes. The best part of the drive was that the state forest through which the road passed was lush green. There were small streams flowing on either side of the road. With the chirping birds, the meandering road and the lush greenery- it was an awesome drive.


Matha village with Savandurga hills in the background

We had to cross a small bridge constructed across the Arkavathi river near the Manchanabele village to reach the dam. It was quite delightful to see that the river had pretty good amount of water. It was only the leakage water from the dam that was feeding the flow of the river. It would be a splendor to see water gushing out when both the gates of the dam are open- we were not lucky enough.


The leakage water from the dam gates

The entry to the dam was restricted. So  we drove further to park our car on the roadside where a lot of other vehicles were parked and walked a bit to cross a small hill. The clouds were getting darker and it looked as if it would start raining anytime.  Not being sure if the view was worth all the trouble we were taking , we silently strolled across the ridge and gosh!! We stood to wonder at the view. The dam looked so full. Just as we stood there appreciating the huge catchment area, the  dense green vegetation of the Arkavathi valley  and the cool breeze- the sky opened up. The monsoon had officially arrived 4 days prior to the predicted date. After spending some time admiring the landscape and clicking a lot of pictures, we headed back to Bangalore via the Big Banyan Tree .


Arkavathi valley


View of the backwaters

Here are a couple of other things to note:

  • There are not many proper restaurants or eatouts near Savandurga or Manchanabele. It is better to take packed lunch.
  • No options for overnight stay in both the places. Also, it is not safe to roam around the locations after it gets dark because there is no proper lighting and the roads are deserted.
  • If you take the Magadi road to reach Savandurga, do not miss to stop at the Thippagondanahalli reservoir.
  • While returning from Manchanabele dam to Bangalore, you can also visit the 400 year old Big Banyan Tree spread across 3 acres and  the Mukthi Naga temple .


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