There are many ways to explore a destination - road trip, train journey, trekking, adventure sports, etc. But it's a once-in-a-while opportunity when a destination comes with a combination of some or all.
One such opportunity fell in my lap on a lazy weekend when finding nothing worthy to do; and hence, my friends and I made an on-the-spot plan and zeroed in on Antargange.
Also Read : A Travel Guide From Bangalore To Kolar
Situated in the Shathashrunga mountain range in Kolar, Antargange literally means "Ganges from deep within" in Kannada. At a distance of approximately 70 km from Bangalore and 2 miles from the town of Kolar, the star attraction of this place is a temple that is situated on the top of the mountain, with a pond which gets a continuous stream of water from the mouth of the Basava (Stone Bull), the source of which is unknown. Legend has it that it originates from the head of Lord Shiva.
The short distance from our starting point was what made us opt for a bike trip rather than the confines of a four wheeler.
Best Month To Visit Antargange
March is the best time to visit this place, since the weather is pleasant with a warm breeze. While preparing for a bike trip & trek, it is prudent to always carry essentials like a water carrier, torch, band aids for first aid, and a cap/hat to protect from the harsh mountain breeze.
The Road Journey
We started our journey as early as 4:30 AM, just before daybreak, as sunrise is early during summers and riding in intense morning heat could be quite dehydrating and tiring. We took the NH4 route towards Kolar. The roads are excellent and smooth with not a single bump; it was incomparable to any other road journey I'd made.
After 1-2 short breaks to stretch ourselves, we reached Kolar town at 7 AM. After entering the city, a left turn led us towards Antargange caves. We had breakfast at a nearby hotel where the friendly local people advised us to take help of guides, who are actually young local boys, to help us explore the caves.
After the light breakfast and stimulating tea, we parked our bikes at the base of the mountain and headed towards the temple.
Details On The Temple
There are around 350 stairs which lead to the temple. The stairway is surrounded on either side by trees and the greenery makes for a pleasant ascent. On our way to the top, we found some of our co-trekkers clicking pictures of colorful butterflies. It is they who told us that this place is home to many species of butterflies.
As we drew closer to the temple compound, we could find many monkeys prancing around. It is always better to keep eatables hidden, so as not to attract their attention. After exploring the temple premises, we were excited to finally see the pond with the Basava statue. The stone bull had water flowing from its mouth. It was indeed intriguing to witness something as mysterious as this. Some of the visitors filled up this water with the belief that it cures many diseases.
The Trek To The Caves
Soon after the temple visit, we started our trek from right behind the temple. The trekking trail, which is roughly 2 km, is defined by smooth boulders on either side. As we continued our climb, the view became captivating, defined by boulders, greenery and stairs carved out in rocks at some places.
We did bump into some local kids who offered to guide us. We took directions towards the caves from them and then headed in that direction. Once there, we did some of the caves in the periphery, as it provided plenty of photo opportunity. Feeling a little dehydrated, the water carriers came in handy and so did the pack of biscuits and cakes.
After relaxing a bit, we followed some of our co-trekkers to the flat area on the hill-top. There are seven villages on this very hill top. We headed towards a mosque close by for further directions and also got to fill up our water carriers. To our surprise, we found that the route behind the mosque was the closest to reach the peak of the mountain.
PC: Tilak Bhandari
From there, we reached the peak within 15 minutes. Unlike other peaks, this one was flat and horizontal. But the view was splendid and worth all the hard work! The most eye-catching one is the view of NH4 from the summit.
By now, the sun was starting to get warmer, so we decided to descend. We had come looking for adventure, but got more than what we asked for. Getting to visit a temple and a mosque the same day not only gave us a sense of harmony, but ended up enriching us spiritually too. Thus, this journey unexpectedly became a journey from within... the source of which is blessed, yet unknown!