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The Complete Guide to Ambaji Durga Trek

The Ambaji Durga trek is an easy and offbeat trek that is about a 1.5 -2 hour drive from Bangalore and can be made into a quick getaway trek experience with family and friends. The ease of access and quick drive on the highway makes it a perfect trek experience for beginner trekkers to go on.

It is situated right along the Bangalore – Chintamani Highway and is located in the Kolar district of Karnataka.

The trail on this trek includes passing through farmlands,  Deccan forests and hop skipping on boulders and rocks to reach the Fort ruins and the Anjaneya temple. The hilltop holds the most marvellous view of the nearby city of Chintamani and vast flatlands peppered with small hilltops. You can spot the peaks of Nandi hills, Skandagiri, and the entire city of Chintamani and Kaivara from the top.

Culture and history of Ambaji Durga

Unlike other treks near Bangalore, the Ambaji Durga trek has both culture and history embedded into it. Along with the temples, it has the ruins of the Ambaji Durga Fort.

This trek offers you a glimpse into three cultures simultaneously. Since Ambaji Durga is situated near the Andhra Border, there is definitely a Telugu influence of the Rayalaseema region. Majorly Kannada is spoken here but since Chintamani has witnessed the comings of many kingdoms, you can find many traces to its Maratha heritage. The Forts of Ambaji Durga and Kaiwara are testimony to that.

These hills hold historical importance, with cave temples, forts, ancient scriptures and idols written across them.

This trek includes walking uphill to the ruins of the Ambaji Durga Fort which was built by the Maratha rulers. The hillock also has two temples – the Durga Temple which is in the midpoint and the Anjaneya or Hanuman Temple situated right at the top.

A perfect trek for Beginners

The trek is an ideal one for any age group. Families, friends and colleagues can go and explore this trekking trail. 

A fit trekker can complete the trek within a couple of hours while those who want to take it leisurely can spend a day easily exploring the trek.

Just like you, we love trekking! And this is a trek we’ve documented in great detail to help you do it on your own. Drop-in comments at the end of the page if you need any help.

➤ Table of Contents

 You will get all the information required to do the Ambaji Durga trek on your own. To navigate through the documentation easily, use this section of the Table of Contents.

➤ What to Watch Out For

1. Spectacular View of the Entire Chintamani City

Ambaji Durga  Trek offers you a grand view of the surrounding cities of Chintamani and Kaiwara along with the villages nearby. The hilltop is roughly 4,400 feet from the base and offers a view that is unmatched by other treks around the  Kolar district. You get a vast expanse of the entire district of Chintamani, the farmlands and surrounding villages. 

While you are at the top, there is a short boulder ascent even further up and gives you an even better view of the landscapes below. This ascent is around 300- 400 metres and definitely makes you touch the mist and the clouds, especially during the monsoon. But be careful as the boulder section can be quite slippery during the rains and proper footgear is required.

Ambaji Durga Trek - View from the top of Ambaji Durga - Indiahikes - Jothiranjan

View from the top of Ambaji Durga. Picture by Jothiranjan

2. Visit the Anjaneya Temple

 Ambaji Durga is a pilgrim route. There are two main temples along the way. The Durga temple is midway where you could optionally park your vehicle if you want to do a shorter trek and the other is The Temple of Anjaneya situated right at the top.

As you leave the hustle and bustle of the Durga temple and move up towards the Anjaneya temple, the boulder sections surrounded by shrubbery and grass offer you a different terrain than the mud-rock one you had climbed through the forest. 

As with all summits, reaching the top and seeing the small tranquil temple gives you a sense of calmness and stillness that only summits can offer. Spend some time here with yourself marvelling at the views and visiting the temple that belongs to the Monkey God- Hanuman.

On your way up, you will come across the chattering of many monkeys and some might pester you for food. Their comical antics will keep you entertained on your way up to the Anjaneya temple.

Notice the intricate hand-cut designs on the pillar in front of the temple. These pillars are made of stone and are typical of the temple architecture in this region of Karnataka. 

Ambaji Durga Trek - Anjaneya Temple at the top of Ambaji Durga - Indiahikes - Nandana

Anjaneya Temple at the top of Ambaji Durga. Picture by Nandana

The temple is quite small and the hilltop is vast and filled with all types of lush green grass. Post Monsoons you will notice different kinds of floral composition all along the way and especially on the top.

If you’re lucky, you can encounter some wildlife that is typical in this terrain – snakes,  Agama lizards, butterflies, monkeys and a whole variety of birds.

➤ Base Point 

There can be two base points for this trek. One is at Konappalli (between Chintamani and Upparpet) near the Hazrath Khwaja Sirajullah Chishti Dargah, and the other is the Durga Temple where most of the tourist crowd park their vehicles and begin the trek.

At Indiahikes, we recommend the best trek experience for our trekkers and thus suggest that you begin the trek from Konappalli situated at the base of the Ambaji Durga Hill. This is because the trail from Konappalli is adventurous with no predefined path and you will feel quite intrepid while taking this route as it passes farmlands, dry forest cover and lush tallgrass.

The second reason why you should trek from Konappalli is that this can be a holistic one day trek experience. The entire trek circuit to and from from the Konappalli is approximately 8.50 kilometres which give you ample time to spend at the hilltop.

Take in the beautiful surrounding views of the city of Chintamani as well as witness the historical ruins of the Ambaji Durga Fort and getting the entire trek/pilgrim experience. It won’t be just limited to an outing but a proper trek!

➤ Trail Information

The total trek is about 8.50 kilometres. You need to reach the base of the Ambaji Durga hill to start your trek. Start your trek early in the morning from the Parking Lot nearby and make your way through the farmlands into the forest. The total ascent will take you about 2- 3 hours to reach the top. 

The trek can be divided into two sections:

1. The base of the hill is from Konappalli to the Parking Lot near Anna Dan centre.

2. From the Durga Temple/Anna Dan or Langar centre onward to the Top of the hillock.

Ambaji Durga Trek - Indiahikes - Trail Map

Trail Map of Ambaji Durga Trek. Screenshot from Google Earth Pro

Alternate Trails

Ambaji Durga trek can be attempted from the two alternate trails as marked in Green and Blue on the route map image.

Alternate Trail Marked in Green: The trail starts from inside the town of Upparpet, which is not easily accessible by four-wheelers. Only two-wheelers can go till the end of the town from where the trail to Ambaji Durga starts.

Alternate Trail Marked in Blue: This trail is easily accessible by four-wheelers and the trail takes you all the way to the Parking Lot, near the Anna Dan centre. You may choose to park your vehicles at the start of the trail in Narayanahalli and trek all the way for a better experience.

Section 1: Konappalli to Durga Temple

Trek Distance: 3.5 kilometres
Trek Duration: 1.5 – 2 hours
GPS coordinates of Parking Lot: 13°23’58.5″N 78°00’25.7″ E
GPS coordinates of Durga Temple: 13°23’57.10″N 78° 1’1.47″E

The trek starts from an open ground near Konappalli (where there is a small shrine) at the base of the hill where you can park your car/two-wheeler. Your first section will take you from this base to the Durga temple which is roughly about 3.5 kilometres from here.

Important Note: Parking your vehicles at your own risk. We say this because the open ground near the small shrine is isolated and not many people pass through the route.

There are a few shops near this open ground on the other side of the highway where you can refill your water and buy food. 

But having said that,  we at Indiahikes believe that trekking is a responsible sport and leaving our trekking trails better than we found them and therefore we strongly encourage that our trekkers not use packaged goods.

All along the trail, you will notice the beautiful landscape littered with plastic scraps and that will make you sad. Together, let’s be a green champion and help in keeping our treks clean so that when you come here with your family, the landscape will be as beautiful as them.

Protip: Carry cloth bags to collect the waste that you generate. If travelling with kids or young adults, you can conduct a clean drive activity along with them that not only will clean the trail but also make the trekkers understand the importance of properly managing our waste.

Ambaji Durga Trek - On the way to the mud trail - Indiahikes - Jothiranjan

On the way to the mud trail. Picture by Jothiranjan

There is no properly marked trail from here and you need to go past the initial fields of the village to reach the forest area. Politely ask the locals the direction toward the Fort and they will happily guide you.  Watch your step and trek gently where the local produce is being grown.

The trail is a mini-adventure of sorts till the Durga temple as you literally cut through the grass and the shrubs to make your way to the top.

A very easy gradual ascent takes you through a section of tall grass surrounding and into the dry forest cover part of the trail. Here also, there is no well-defined path and you would have to make your own cutting through the tall grass and shrubbery around. Use the GPX file above to follow the trail if you need help.

Keep your eyes wide to spot many butterflies, lizards, stick insects that might move around when you are trekking through this region.

In this forest section, you will come across rich tree diversity. Tree species like Bor, Babhool, Hivar, Flame of the Forest, Shirish, Teak, Banyan and Peepal can be seen here.

These plants ensure that desertification does not happen in these already arid landscapes. They also prevent erosion by wind and rainwater.  During the fruiting season, these trees provide food and shelter for many species of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects and support an entire food chain.

Ambaji Durga Trek - Wild Mushrooms en route - Indiahikes - Jothiranjan

Wild Mushrooms en route. Picture by Jothiranjan

If you’re a keen birdwatcher, you will notice many grassland birdlife including the  Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican, Pallid Harrier, Black Kite, Brahminy Kite, Common Kestrel, Baya Weaver, Stonechat, Pied Bush Chat and various species of Drongo, Lapwing, Dove, Quail, Lark, Shrike, Babbler, Egret and Pipit, among others.

Ambaji Durga Trek - The first view of the fort ruins - Indiahikes - Nandana

The first view of the fort ruins. Picture by Nandana Kamasani

As the forest section clears, you will come across some of the ruins of the Ambaji Durga Fort. Look towards the right, the eastern side to spot the town of Kaiwara and the vast farmlands below.

Few more minutes of this climb and you reach the  Durga temple and the Anna Dan centre. 

This is the place where the pilgrim route actually starts from. Devotees come in their vehicles to the Durga temple, partake of the Prasadam at the Anna Dan centre which is next to it and continue their journey towards the Anjaneya Temple. You have rock-cut steps leading to the  Anjaneya temple from here.

The elders of the family can sit back here and wait for others who go up towards the Anjaneya Temple.  

This is the last place where you can refill your water bottles and eat a simple meal. If there is less crowd at the Durga temple and the Anna Dan centre, talk to the gentle middle-aged lady in her early forties there and ask her about the history of the Fort and the temple. She, with smiling eyes, will tell you about it. Make sure you return her smile with an even bigger smile of yours.

You can either explore the temple now on your way up or keep this time after going to the top and while descending down.

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Section 2: Durga Temple to Top of Ambaji Durga

Trek Distance: 1 kilometre
Trek Duration: 1-1.5 hours
GPS coordinates of Durga Temple: 13°23’57.10″N 78° 1’1.47″E
GPS coordinates of Top of Ambaji Durga: 13°23’36.95″N 78° 1’0.08″E

The main trail goes up towards the left of the  Durga temple. You can take this diversion without entering the premises of the temple. 

A small bend and you hit the first shoulder section of the hillock. Continue your gradual ascent towards the eastern face before you reach a point where the climb now starts going towards the west. 

Ambaji Durga Trek - Final steps to the top of Ambaji Durga - Indiahikes - Nandana Kamasani

Final steps to the top of Ambaji Durga. Picture by Nandana Kamasani

Your climb now starts going through a series of boulders covered with high grass and rocky sections. You soon hit the second shoulder of the hillock with a series of steps.

Take a small break, sip some water, and continue with small steps. This is an easy climb marked well by steps that belong to the Fort. Watch out for troops of monkeys along this boulder section. They look funny with their antics.

The trail in this section is pretty clear, unlike the previous section. You will have to hop and skip over a few rocks and boulders in this part. In the post-monsoon season, this part gets filled with lush undergrowth that you might have to climb over.

Soon you will be near the top of the hillock. This could have been an ideal camping ground if camping was allowed by the forest department. But it is not allowed and staying overnight is not a possibility on this hill or the surrounding hills nearby. Explore around this area and observe the view of the fields, the green farms,  grand views of Chintamani and Kaiwara and the highway leading towards Andhra Pradesh. 

Ambaji Durga Trek - View from the the summit - Indiahikes - Jothiranjan

View from the the summit. Picture by Jothiranjan

The descent to the base takes you through the same route. It will take you about 1.5 – 2 hours to reach the Parking Lot.  The descent is mostly a  jagged switchback trail and makes sure you are careful especially during monsoon season as the mud slips off easily. Make sure you have a Turn Around Time (TAT) at 5.00 PM if you start the trek post afternoon.

➤ Best Season to do the Ambaji Durga Trek

All months except March, April, May and June are the hottest seasons in Karnataka. It would become quite bothersome to do the trek during those months unless and until the weather cools off in the middle of these months.

The temperature at the Ambaji Durga Hill is around 2 to 3 degrees higher than in Bangalore so make sure you plan accordingly.

The months of post-monsoon and winter would be the best time to go on the trek with pleasant weather. 

Amabji Durga Trek - The monsoon colours on the Ambaji Durga trek - Indiahikes - Nandana

The colours coming out alive during the monsoon months on the Ambaji Durga trek. Picture by Nandana

Due to less tree cover and shade on the boulder section of the trail, we recommend you wear a cap or a hat if you are trekking during the summer months. This boulder portion after the Durga Temple can get really hot if you are trekking during the summer. 

During monsoons, carry a poncho or a raincoat along with a rain cover for your backpack to keep yourselves dry. But, we advise not to trek during heavy rain as the trail becomes slippery on rocks. This can hamper your experience of the trek.

➤ Difficult Sections on the Ambaji Durga  Trek

Ambaji Durga trek is an Easy trek. There are no sections on the Ambaji Durga trek that can be classified as difficult as such. However, a trekker must know about these sections to keep an eye out while trekking. 

Here are a few things to note down: 

– The Slippery trail through the forest terrain (Monsoon specific) from the Parking Lot to the Durga Temple: The trail becomes more tricky during monsoons as the mud and rocks become very slippery and caution must be taken while traversing.

If trekking in the monsoons, trekkers should be very careful with their choice of footwear and should check weather charts so as to avoid days with anticipated heavy rains. The rocks and boulders can be slippery. Watch out for the first shoulder near the temple when it rains. The wet rock can make you slip and fall. Be extremely careful.

– The Exposed boulder section towards the top from The Durga Temple to the Anjaneya Temple: Although this section is not difficult, keep your eyes out where you place your footing. The boulder section towards the top is something to keep an eye on. It is easy to twist your ankle or get a bruise if you are not careful.

The exposed section is also something to watch out for. Make sure you do not go over to the edge of these cliffs. While climbing these boulder sections, be careful so as to not hurry through them, as some of these boulders are large and a drop can cause fatal injuries.

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➤ How to Reach Ambaji Durga

Ambaji Durga trek starts from a small village of Vaddahalli situated in between the towns of Kaiwara and Chintamani in the Kolar district of Karnataka. The village is very close to the main town and around 4 km from Chintamani.

The approach is, even more, easier if you take the lanes from the highway of NH75. 

Reaching Ambaji Durga by your own vehicle

If you are travelling in your own vehicle, the best way is to travel on the Bangalore-Andhra Pradesh highway NH75. You could even drive straight up to the Durga temple that has parking space and then climbs the remaining 1 kilometre towards the hilltop.

You can use this link to set up the location on Google Maps. For a more detailed explanation, read through the information below.

After you cross the town of Kaivara, continue onwards to Chintamani asking directions to the Ambaji Durga Fort.

You will come across the village of Vaddahalli. Just ask anybody to the hill base and you will be there in no time.

Use the Google Map or GPX File to reach the base of the trek. 

Reaching Ambaji Durga  by Public Transport System

The base village for Ambaji Durga is a Parking Lot right at the foot of Ambaji Durga hill.

All buses plying to Andhra Pradesh from Majestic Bus terminal at Bangalore will make you reach the town of Chintamani. From there you can hire a local auto /taxi to the base of the Ambaji Durga hill.

There are two options you can still consider if you do not have your own vehicle. The best option is to take a bus from Bangalore to the Chintamani bus stand. All the buses going to Andhra Pradesh will cross Chintamani. From the main bus stand here, you get options of shared auto or a personal auto to Ambaji Durga Hill.

The distance from the main town to Ambaji Durga Hill is approximately 5 km. You will find a variety of public transport including shared autos. Private autos and taxis plying to the Ambaji Durga. 

Since the distance between the town and the hill isn’t much, you can even walk the  4 kilometres to the Ambaji Durga Hill through the village bylanes and reach the Parking Lot and continue your trek. 

Use the Google Map or GPX File to reach the base of the trek.

➤ Things to Take on Ambaji Durga Trek

  • Basic First Aid kit*
  • Identity Card
  • Cap/ Scarf/ Bandana & Sunglasses
  • Water (Minimum two litres)
  • Lemon and salt OR Electrolyte Powder/Drink (Electoral/Gatorade/Glucon D, etc.)
  • High-calorie snacks (Nuts & dry fruits, a home-baked cake, etc.)
  • Safety Pins, Rubber bands & Whistle (Useful in emergencies.)
  • Quick Dry T-shirts are preferable over cotton tees.
  • Poncho, only during monsoons
  • Plastic sheet to wrap electronic devices, only during monsoons
  • Sunscreen (SPF 50+)
  • Optional: Trekking poles

❖ First Aid Kit:

  • Scissor
  • Band-aids (Regular & Waterproof)
  • Analgesic spray (Relispray, Volini, etc.)
  • Antiseptic Liquid (Savlon, Dettol etc.)
  • Antiseptic powder (Povidone-Iodine based powders like Cipladine, Savlon, etc.)
  • Cotton roll & Bandage
  • Crepe Bandage
  • 1-inch wide medical tape (paper or cloth.)
  • Micropore tape
  • Tablet for motion sickness (Avomine), Acidity (Gelusil, Digene, etc.).
  • Mild pain relief tablet (Crocin)

| Note: Always consult a doctor before taking any medicine.

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➤ Frequently Asked Questions about Ambaji Durga Trek

1. What about the Permission for trekking and Camping on the Ambaji Durga trek?

You don’t need any permission to go on the trek of Ambaji Durga. 

Camping on the top of Ambaji Durga has been stopped by the Forest Department. Also, there are no water sources available on the trek to have a campsite. 

2. Are there any food and water sources on Ambaji Durga trek?

Since this is a pilgrim route, the Durga Temple at the midpoint of the trek offers Anna Dann or free food to all the people who visit Ambaji Durga. There are some small shops near the Parking Lot but these mostly sell packaged food and water. 

Other than this the nearest place to find food will be either towards the Chintamani town or the hotels on the highway of Bangalore-Andhra Pradesh. 

For water sources, do not depend on the trek or at the base village.  Request the lady at the Anna Dan place where you complete the mid-point of the trek for water but we suggest carrying enough water for yourself as this area is relatively dry and the locals would have difficulty in procuring water. With this region lying on the dry belt of Karnataka, the water might not be enough for the local villagers. 

So have your water bottles filled from your homes or at a hotel you might stop by. Two litres of water per person will be sufficient to start the trek with. 

The best practice will be to carry your own snacks and food in a reusable box. Do not take any packaged food packets on the trek. 

| Go through this video to see more tips on what you can carry on a trek.

3. Emergency contacts for Ambaji Durga Trek

Hospital: The closest hospital is the Primary Health Centre at Chintamani which is 4 km away.

Police Station: The police station closest to Ambaji Durga  Trek is the Chintamani Town Police Station. 

ERSS: For any kind of emergency help, you can contact the Pan-India Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) number- 112

4. Nearby ATMs and Network on the Trek

ATMs: There are 4 ATMs at Chintamani. All these nearest ATMs are around 4 km away. You don’t have any ATMs at the base point.

Mobile Networks: You get a good network throughout the trek. Most of the network coverages like Vodafone, Airtel, and Jio catch signals when you are on the trek.

➤ Places to Visit After the Ambaji Durga Trek

1. Treks Around Ambaji Durga – Kaivara Betta Trek

2. Kailasagiri Hills: The Ambaji Durga Fort is situated on top of one of the Kailasagiri hills. These are ancient hills part of the Deccan plateau. You will see many hills in the surrounding vicinity that can be easily climbed in a day. 

3. Chintamani town: The town of Chintamani lies approximately 4 kilometres to the Ambaji Durga hill. This is an ancient town that has seen the comings and goings of many kingdoms including the Cholas, Vijayanagar Empire, Gangas, Mysore Wodeyars, Palegaras, Tippu Sultan, British and many local chieftains.

Historically, The town gets its name from the Maratha Chieftain Chintamani Rao who was last in line to rule the locality of Chintamani.

Chintamani is known for its groundnuts and large tomato markets. The Chintamani Kadalebeeja as it is called is a lip-smacking snack of spicy roasted peanuts  Visit its tomato market which is one of the largest in Karnataka and you’d be surprised at the sheer variety and colours of tomatoes in our country!

 Trek Contribution

Trek documented by the Indiahikes Team –  Gautam Singh, Nandana Kamasani, Suhas Saya, Swarada Ghangurde, Sneha Yadav, Rutuja Nighot, Hariharasudan

Photo contribution by Jothiranjan and Mayur

Trek written by Megha Anne Wilson