Climbing one of the largest monolithic rocks of Asia is an experience in itself. Located 60 kms off Bangalore, Savan Durga or more commonly known as Savan D is a rock climber’s paradise. Savan D is perfect for climbers of different levels, as there are different climbing routes to the top of this hill. At an altitude of 1226 m above the sea level, the hill is a rather thrilling and great experience to all adventure enthusiasts.
Dry deciduous forests surround the hills and are home to various flora and fauna like various shrub and tree species, it is also home to few wild elephants now, that have migrated from Kanakapura range forest due to availability of food and water. Rich in history, Savan D has been prominent since the Hoyasala rule, and over time several rulers have held sway over the region. The hill fort that is located on the top of the outcrop is believed to have been erected by Samanta Raya. The massive rock has also been one of the most forbidding of all of Tipu’s hill forts. Today it is one of the popular places near Bangalore for day outings and climbs, Savan D is also great for cave explorers, as large number of boulders of varying sizes are piled on top of each other so with this in mind, we a team of 9 decided to head out for a weekend hike at Savan D.
A one and a half hours drive from the city, and the monolithic rock face welcomed us. Since most of us were beginners, we chose the easier path of the climb where you don’t need the help of rope and other climbing paraphernalia, thanks to several BAD Samaritans, the path that needs to be taken is marked with yellow arrows (not good from LNT point of view and also takes away that main bit of adventure i.e. route finding). For beginners, the climb can definitely be a test of their courage, fitness and will power. There are many parts where the climb that gets steep and might seem difficult for people who aren’t that experienced or are not regular trekkers, but the only trick is to put the next foot forward.
Passing through enclosed rocks, trees, broken down forts and structures, the Nandi Statue at the top hill welcomes you. Marshy patches, high growing grass, trees that have grown weirdly, simply gives the whole path a surreal experience.
While we had elected to go up the beginners the route, the sheer and smoother rock face is taken on by experienced climbers. The region around this huge monolithic rock is famous for its shrub forests, caves and is also believed to be the home for several medicinal plants.
It took us about 2 hours to get to the top, as the group had people with varying levels of fitness and had to stop for rest and also to soak in the views all around. After having spent an hour or so on top we decided to head down the same way. Climbing down can also be tricky and exhaustive since different set of muscles come into play. We were back on terra firma in an hour. All in all a great day, cleaner air, wonderful views, good overall exercise for soul and body!