Madhugiri trek is around 120 Kms North West of Bangalore in the Tumkur district. Madhugiri trek is named after the Madhugiri hill which translated to the Madhu (Honey) + Giri (Hill): Hill of the honey.
Driving to Madhugiri:
Driving to Madhugiri takes around three hours from Bangalore. We had started from Electronics city and had taken the Nice road to reach Madhugiri and it had taken us around three hours.
On the Google maps, just search for “Madhugiri Fort Entrance, KSRTC Bus Stand Road, Madhugiri, Karnataka 572132“.
To get fresh, you can use the Toilet at the Madhugiri Bus stand and also, there is a nice and cheap restaurant there where you can get the breakfast. The name of the hotel at the KSRTC bus stand, Madhugiri is “Pavan Hotel”. A coffee costs rupees 7 and a plate of 2 idlis with Vada costs around 30 rupees over there.
Madhugiri fort trekking:
Madhugiri fort trekking time is within 2 hours. However, the trek is little technical and steeper than most of the treks around Bangalore. Some of the other steep treks which are known around Bangalore are Savandurga, Kabbal Durga etc.
There is no entrance fee at the Madhugiri fort. So, try to start your trek as early as possible. When we started our trek around eight o’ clock (We had left Bangalore at five in the morning), we saw two guys already coming down. That means, if summited the trek, they must have begun very early.
The trek is very straight forward and initially, there are steps to almost half of the way and then, there are iron rods and side pillars are there to support as the steepness increases.
Madhugiri fort trek in Detail:
Initially, there is a stretch of stairs to almost half of the trek. Then, you will have to hike on the plain and steep rocks. However, there are handle bars to support the climb.
After half of the ride, the ascent becomes steeper and also, at some of the points, handle bars are not there but rock-cut steps are there almost throughout the hike.
In the final stretch, at some points of time, rock-cut steps are not there near the fort but you can easily walk up.
Madhugiri fort exploration:
I and my friend loved exploring around the Madhugiri fort right from the starting of the trek. And we made some amazing discoveries to ourselves like the Madhugiri fort had a nice water channeling system right from the top. The pond that you see in the beginning of the trek, most probably, was used to store water coming from the top.
There is also a big tunnel near at the starting of the trek and there were also places to keep arrows and canon fireballs at the fortified structures around the Madhugiri fort. As we trekked up, we also saw some secret and hiding places which are normally hard to discover.
At the top, we also saw some nuclear reactor kind of structures which my friend guessed to be a granary. There are also rooms for soldiers and all.
Madhugiri trekking precautions:
- Try to start the trek as early as possible because in the late afternoon, it, sometimes, rain there.
- Wind speed is high at the top so be careful with your bag and other items.
- Have a nice shoe with good grip. Because while ascent and descent, you will need a good grip.
- Carry a bottle of water while climbing up. In summer, you can think of carrying two liters of waters.
More about Madhugiri/ Medigeshi Fort History & structures:
The history of the name of the Madhugiri fort goes back to the time when there used to be a colony of honeybees on this hill. Also, Madhugiri is the Asia’s second largest Monolith after the Savandurga. Treasure hunters have ruined the most of the second portion of the fort in search of treasures which might have been left behind by the rulers.
This hill has a total of three entrance gates. You can still see the modern style of structures resembling 16th and 17th century like small bricks and cement etc. While returning, you can also buy mangoes from the local village or other seasonal fruits. They are much cheaper.
Medigeshi Fort story
It is said that the wife of Nagi Reddy, a chieftain during the Vijayanagar Empire, had unusual hair that touched her feet. Himmadi in Kannada means heels and Keshi means hair. Over the years, in the people’s words, the name changed to Medikeshi.
According to historians, Midigeshi fort has seen a lot of wars as the rulers were vying with each other to conquer it. After the grand legacy of Nagi Reddy, the hill fort was conquered by another chieftain, Chikkappa Gowda, who was on the run from invaders of his native Madhugiri In the year 1761, Hyder Ali gained victory over the fort only to lose it to Maratha rulers within six years.
In the year 1774, Tipu Sultan took over the fort. Later British army general Lord Cornwallis raised the Company flag over the fort. However, they abandoned the fort allegedly because they couldn’t find much wealth there. Locals say British failed to trace the wealth as it was hidden in secret places known only to an inner circle of the chieftains.
Since then, the place has been taken apart by treasure hunters – hoping to find this mythical treasure house. Several Mantapas (probably the shelter for soldiers) and the armory have also fallen apart.
Coming back to our queen with the long hair, Nagi Reddy had built massive stone structures atop the terrain. In fact, one could access the chieftain’s family members only after crossing the seventh gate. Experts say Midigeshi is one of the few forts ruled by queens before the region was invaded by outsiders.
The resting abode of the queen and chieftain is so beautifully built and keeps you cool even at hot summer. Two water bodies – complete with rain water harvesting – which remain intact even today show that a large number of people used to stay inside the fort.
Also, on top of the hill is a mosque-like structure probably built during the reign of Hyder Ali or Tipu. The minarets of the structures, accessible by a spiral staircase, are clear examples of south Indian Islamic architecture. The upper portion of the one of the minarets has been destroyed and the interior walls are covered with ugly graffiti and filth – a reflection of the attitude our authorities have towards historical monuments.
Other treks nearer to Madhugiri:
- Chennarayana Durga
- Siddara Betta
- Devrayana Durga etc.