Kunagalu Betta Trek | Ramanagara

My friend Gargee had been requesting me to plan a short trek around Bangalore for her. We had initially planned it in October 2023 but for various reasons that did not happen. Now that it is certain that she will move to Ahmedabad for good, it was imperative that we do a trek before the relocation. Saturday, the 9th of March 2024 was the date decided. I asked some of my friends if they did like to join and I got one confirmation - from Bhavani. I had met Bhavani on a trek through a common friend last December. 

I decided a meeting point near Mysore road expressway toll booth at 6:30am. I took an auto rickshaw to reach there. Gargee and Dhaval were already there. Bhavani was caught in a traffic jam so we decided to head to the restaurant Kadamba for some breakfast. 

The entire staff of Kadamba appeared like they had woken up from a deep slumber and were in no hurry to attend to the customers who were pouring in. After some wait and calling for attention, we finally had our orders placed. Bhavani joined shortly. 

After a light breakfast, we started our drive towards the base village. Bhavani parked his car next to the restaurant and we all drove in Dhaval’s car towards Kunagal village. 

I had come across Kunagalu Betta trek while browsing for an easy trek around Bangalore. Since this was meant to be a leisure outing, I was scouting for a short and easy trek. Kunagal village is 7.5 km from Ramanagara and 55 km (1.5H) from Bangalore. We reached there within an hour. The villagers with hand gestures asked us to continue on the road towards the hill. There is a concrete road up to a certain distance. Follow the google maps location for ‘Kunagalu Betta’. I would advise the cars to park just before the puppy-faced rock or the Ganesh idol that you see on the way. The road ahead is not paved and can be damaging for cars with low ground clearance. Bikes can go a bit further. A few boys had camped there the previous night and they were packing their tents to leave. A few men and women were returning back from the trek. They had perhaps reached there before or around the time of sunrise. 

The sun was out and the weather was pleasant. A kilometre long walk till the Nandi statue is quite relaxed with gradual inclination. We enjoyed the view from the Nandi statue. 

The trek becomes interesting from here on, as the trail passes through a cave formation. Passing through the pitch dark regions of the cave we make our way through huge boulders and climb up. 

As we climb up and exit the cave, there were rock-cut steps leading us to a small shrine of lord Anjanaya. From here a gradual climb leads you to the summit that houses another small shrine and shelter to relax. 

The view was spectacular. We were surrounded by several small hills and down below them were mango groves and coconut farms. The mango trees looked like a shrub from the top. A few villages with their packed houses were scattered randomly across the landscape. But mostly the green grass and the trees covered the soil, and that made this viewing pleasant. 

We sat there for a long time and discussed various topics - From Bangalore to Ahmedabad infrastructure, from politics to trekking. How could one have missed the pompous pre-wedding celebration of the son of India’s richest businessman that had been ubiquitous on social media and news channels. The video clips from this event was forcibly shared on every citizen's Instagram feed through promotions. The videos depicted the son as a kind-hearted animal lover and his parents the considerate ones, so rooted in the Indian culture and traditions. From Rihanna to Daljit, from Bill gates and Marc Zuckerberg to Shahrukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan were all present in this fiesta. It was a shameless display of money and power, creating a clear distinction of classes and almost instigating a sense of oligarchy; not the Russian way, but the Indian way - post-truth methods. 

After spending a good time relaxing at the summit we headed back. Bhavani wanted to climb the summit of puppy-faced rock too. So while Gargee waited for us near the car, the three of us tried to find a way to reach the rock. The route was challenging as we had to find a way to jump from one rock to another. While Dhaval decided to stay back, Bhavani and I, with the help of a tree and its branches got to the rock not he other side of a ditch. Once that was achieved, the route to the top was simple. The 360 degree view from the top was amazing. I would recommend this short adventure if the trek to Kunagalu peak alone seems too comfortable for your experience. 

On the way back, we stopped in Ramanagara town to have some tasty tender coconut for just Rs20 each. The same would have cost us Rs30 or 35 in Bangalore. 

Dhaval and Gargee dropped us near the spot were Bhavani's car was parked and from there Bhavani dropped me at Nayandahalli. Form there, I took the metro back home. 

This was a trek to remember - not for its complexity, but for its leisureliness. We often forget that the main reason we trek or travel is to relax and spend some good time with friends and have good conversations. This trek checked all those boxes. 

The movie on this trek: