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BR Hills, Of Temples and Tranquility

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BR Hills or Biligiri Rangana Hills is a hill range on the eastern border of the Western Ghats. It lies at a spot where the Eastern and Western Ghats meet and create a diverse eco-system.

                                                                        Photo Courtesy: mandleicious

lt derives its name from one of its major tourist attractions, the Rangaswamy Temple in BR Hills is located on top of a white cliff. The hills are located in the Chamarajanagar district and lie at the south eastern border of Karnataka touching Tamil Nadu.

This must see place in BR Hills provides ample scope for adventure sports like trekking and rafting. The Cauvery and Kapila Rivers that flow through these hills offer opportunities for angling, fishing and coracle boat riding.

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Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple

Among the places to visit in BR hills is the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple that lies on the top of the hill range. The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkatesha. Among the temples in India devoted to Lord Ranganatha, this is the only pilgrimage site where the idol of the deity is in standing position. Apart from the statue of prime deity, this temple enshrines the idol of Ranganayaki, the Lord's spouse. A special puja is organised at this temple every Friday.

BRT Wildlife Sanctuary

BR Hills, Of Temples and Tranquility

                                                                       Photo Courtesy: Heather Paul

Another place to visit in BR Hills is the BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, which is situated in southern region of Karnataka, between the Tungabhadra River and the Cauvery River. Otherwise known as Bilgiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary, it is spread over an area of 540 sq km and lies at an elevation of 5,091 ft above sea level. This wildlife sanctuary is a protected site under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Travellers planning to visit this wildlife sanctuary will get the chance to see different species of flora and fauna. It is home to animals like elephants, Sambars, endangered tigers and Gaurs, to name a few. The sanctuary houses about 116 species of butterflies and 22 species of reptiles. There are approximately 225 species of birds in this sanctuary such as whistling thrush, yellow throated bulbul, racquet-tailed drongo, crested hawk eagle, crested serpent eagle, hill myna and many others.

Dodda Sampige Mara

A must see place of tourist attraction in BR Hills is the Dodda Sampige Mara. Its name stands for 'Big Champak Tree' in English. This tree stands at a height of approximately 34 mt and is around 20 mt broad. As per local belief, this tree is more than 2000 years old. Dodda Sampige Mara stands inside a temple that is situated about 4 km from the BR Hills. Upon reaching the site, tourists will notice that there are numerous Lingams placed nearby this tree. Dodda Sampige Mara is of great significance for Soliga tribes and other natives. During the month of April, this tree bears reddish and yellow coloured flowers. The tree has braid like stems, which is why it has been compared to Lord Shiva. For Soliga tribes, Dodda Sampige Mara is a god who performs the fire dance during the occasion of Maha Shivarathri.

How to Reach BR Hills

By Air: Mysore Airport is the nearest domestic airport connecting BR Hills to major cities of India, such as Mumbai and Chennai. It is situated at a distance of about 80 km from BR Hills. Bangalore International Airport is the nearest international airport, which is located at a distance of about 217 km.

By Train: Mysore Railway Station is the nearest railway junction to BR Hills, situated at a distance of about 82 km.

By Road: There are buses that you can take to reach here. You can also rent a car or jeep when coming here.

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