Devarayanadurga – In Search of a Divine Break ©Sangeeta Venkatesh

If you are in search of a quick one-day getaway from Bangalore, Devarayanadurga is a destination you may want to consider. Situated in the Tumkur district, Devarayanadurga is 60 kilometres north-west of Bangalore. The drive from Bangalore could take an average of two and half hours depending on your start destination. For us the drive from Whitefield was 92 kilometres.

 The region was previously known as Kari Giri, which means black hill, but the name was changed to Devarayanadurga in 1696 when it came under the rule of the Mysore king Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar. The drive from Bangalore to Dobbspet on NH-4 is crowded but the smooth road makes it a pleasant journey. At Dobbspet, a right turn takes you through the rocky and verdant terrain till you reach the shrine dedicated to Lord Bhoga Narasimha. The temple is run by priests of the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya (followers of Lord Vishnu). The temple has been renovated by several kings, but the current gopuram was built by Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar.

The Devarayanadurga Temple

Further up on the hilltop is the shrine of Yoga Narasimha, that has the deity in yogic stance. Vehicles can be taken up only up to a point after which there is a steep yet brief climb to reach the temple. Legend has it that the idol appeared before Lord Brahma as he meditated upon Lord Vishnu at this place.  The temple also houses the holy Vishnu Saligrama and a Narasimha Saligrama, which are regularly worshipped by the residing priests. Just outside the sanctum sanctorum are the idols of the 12 Azhwars – the poet-saint devotees of Lord Vishnu.

View from the hill

The hill-top is at a height of 4200 feet above sea-level and the view from the top is picture-postcard perfect! A serene pushkarni or holy tank is just outside the temple.

What strikes you about these shrines is that their surroundings are spotless. This is largely due to the fact that the TVS group of industries is actively involved in the maintenance of the place. Drinking water is available. One cannot miss the dustbins cheerfully painted in yellow and red!

Spot the monkey!

Devarayanadurga is home to wildlife like deer, leopard, bear and also the endangered yellow-throat bulbul. You can also visit ‘Namada chilume’- a fresh water spring, that is eight kilometres from Devarayanadurga. According to legend, Lord Rama stopped here when on his way to Lanka to rescue Sita. When he found no water to make the vermillion paste for his ‘tilak’ or ‘namam’, he shot an arrow into a rock and water spouted into a spring. Hence, this spring is known as ‘Namada chilume’ which translates into a spring that emerged for making the vermillion paste.

Namada Chilume

Food is available at the Hotel Mayura run by the Karnataka Tourism, but my suggestion would be to take a picnic hamper to enjoy food under the shady trees and soak in the ambience. Only make sure that no litter is left behind.

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