My last couple of treks were in the Himalayas. As alluring as the Himalayas are, one can't just pack the bags and leave from Bangalore. So I was looking for a trek destination closer home.
I had trekked the usual suspects like Mullayangiri, Ramnagara, Kodachadri, etc., in Karnataka. I was attending a wedding in Tirupati, and my friends there suggested that we should trek Venkateswara Hills.
Venkateswara Hills fall in the environs of the Venkateswara National Park in the Eastern Ghats. This is the forest area you see when you travel to and in Tirupati.
PC : Neha
This trek appeals to the trekkers, as it provides an opportunity to explore natural pools, mesmerizing waterfalls, and green land-cover. It will also give you an opportunity to see the stunning and majestic wildlife. The base of the trek is Kumaradhara Dam. This is a 48-km trek and requires a minimum of three days to complete it.
Best Season To Visit: September to March is the ideal time to undertake this trek. The summers in this region are unbearable and can cause dehydration, especially when you will be out for about three days. It is best to avoid monsoons too. The rain can cause a blinding effect as you trek. The winters are very pleasant and is an ideal time to trek up this hill.
Things To Carry: Trek backpack, hiking shoes, energy bars and drinks, water, snacks, trek pole, raincoat, head lamp, medical kit, insect repellant, sleeping tent, toiletries, and sunscreen lotion.
PC : Shravan Kamath94
We took a bus to Tirupati from Bangalore. It was a 5-hour journey. We had to attend the wedding in Tirumala. We took a jeep to Tirumala. The security is pretty tight here and there are many constraints.
Be advised that non-vegetarian food or even cakes are not allowed at the security checkpoint before heading up to Tirumala. We had a hearty darshan of Lord Venkateswara and proceeded to attend the wedding.
We rested a bit and started towards the base of the trek - Kumradhara Dam, which lies above the temple. You need permission to enter the national park, so make sure you do that beforehand. There is no set trail for this trek.
PC : ShashiBellamkonda
There was no much tree cover above our heads at all and we found it difficult to walk under the scorching sun. Soon, we hit a forest area, but the stream to our right was totally dried up. I was disheartened.
So far, it seemed like we were walking on a barren land. For the next couple of hours, we walked on rocks. We came across a pool and the water looked fresh and without any invitation we all jumped inside it.
The water was very cold and it was so refreshing, given the blistering heat. We had to walk down from here to reach Angel Falls. Let me tell you, this walk is not for the weak-hearted.
PC : Adityamadhav83
We walked along the edge of a cliff, and it was the most dangerous thing I've done in my life. Angel Falls is a gorgeous waterfall totally justifying its name. It is in a valley with sunlight permeating through a marquee of trees.
We stopped here, splashed around a bit in the plunge pool and had lunch. We walked another 5 km to reach the campsite. It was not an easy trek at all and I was ready to nod off. But my friends had other plans. They were raring to jump from the top of the cliff into a pool nearby.
I do not know how to swim, so I informed them that I had no death wish yet and asked them to go ahead. We placed our sleeping tent on a dried-up stream and started preparing dinner. We had Maggi and Khichdi. I dozed off immediately due to exhaustion.
PC : Nikhilb239
I was sore all over the next morning. However, I decided to wake up and prepare the morning tea for everyone. After dipping our feet in the cold water, we decided to eat breakfast. We had sandwiches, and started on our trek again.
We started following the stream and came across a pool where the water was neck-high. We had to carry our bag on the head to avoid it from being drenched. Later, we rested for a bit and started hiking along a jeep trail.
We spotted fresh elephant dung and it sent chills down my spine. Thankfully, there were none around. We walked some more to reach another deep pool. Some splashing and diving done, we walked some more till we reached a 4-metre high rock.
PC : Elavana
There were not many projections to hold on to and climb the rock. But our campsite was on top of the rock. Somehow, we managed to climb it. No points for guessing who took the maximum time to reach the top.
We set up the sleeping tent and started a bonfire and cooking fire. We had soup and rotis with aloo curry for dinner. I went into snooze mode soon after under the starry sky.
PC : Adityamadhav83
We started the day with multiple rounds of tea and breakfast. After walking around 2 km, we reached a beautiful gorge with pristine, clear pool. This was a great photo opportunity that I was not going to miss.
We reached a dead-end where the descent seemed pretty steep. It was scary to see from the top. But we managed to get down and what do you know, we had a pool waiting for us downhill.
Naturally, another dive and splash session ensued. We crossed another water body to reach a beautiful valley. From here, we walked around 10 km to reach Kothapally highway. We were fatigued by now. This was the end of our trek.
We took a local bus to Tirupati. We had dinner, and got on the bus to Bangalore.
This was definitely not the easiest trek I have been on. But I was surprised to see the hills of the Tirumala had so much more to offer than just the temple of the Lord.