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NATURAL SPLENDOUR The most interesting feature of Heggunda is the massive rocky hill
NATURAL SPLENDOUR The most interesting feature of Heggunda is the massive rocky hill

Heggunda is an ideal destination for a short, daylong break

Heggunda could be easily dismissed as one among the thousands of underdeveloped villages in Bangalore Rural district. But when you consider its historical importance and natural attractions, it stands out. According to records found here, Heggunda (earlier called Pokkunda) was an important city during the Hoysala period (12th Century). Today it is one of the few places that still retain the rustic charm of the countryside. To the city dweller used to seeing endless rows of concrete buildings, suffering blaring horns and inhaling vehicle exhaust, Heggunda offers an array of rejuvenating activity options: trekking, rock climbing, cave exploration, bird watching and so on. And for those with a special interest in history and antiquity, there are hero stones (veeragallu), ancient temples and inscriptions to admire and analyse. The most interesting feature of Heggunda is the massive rocky hill, Ramadevara Betta, crowned by a Rama temple. The hill towers behind the village and its main face has been markedly sculpted and shaped by the elements. But be careful of the several large beehives on the rock face. Disturbing even one of them might provoke an army of bees to attack you. The trail to the top commences from the eastern face via an uneven path, which slowly becomes a gentle rock face till a ruined stone dolmen (mantapa), where a stone pond is located. From here on it is a long and ultra-steep flight of tiny rock-cut steps to the top. The iron railings installed all the way to the top provide adequate support and comfort for the city dweller long used to the elevator. Atop the hill is a small temple of Sri Rama with a tall stone pillar installed in front. It is said that Rama's sacrificial horse was tied to this post by his sons Lava and Kusha. There is also a pair of footprints nearby which is believed to be that of Rama. The village has about seven beautifully carved memorial stones in various states of neglect. Two installed near the Anjaneya temple are being used as post to tether cattle and one more is lying in the middle of a field nearby. The remaining four - including two depicting heroes wielding guns - are installed in the middle of the village amidst houses and they are being used as platforms to dry clothes.

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Getting thereDrive on NH 4 towards Tumkur to reach Dobbaspet, about 50 km from Bangalore. Cross the flyover (after the toll gate) and turn right onto the Devarayanadurga Road. Drive five km on this road via Narasipura and turn right at the Heggunda Cross. Two km from here is the village at the base of Ramadevara Betta. If by bus, go to Dobbaspet by KSRTC and then take a local bus/matador/maxi cab to Heggunda.

KISHORE PATWARDHAN

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