The Complete Guide to Channarayana Durga Trek
Channarayana Durga Trek is located near Madhugiri in the Tumkur district of Karnataka. A trek that is very close to our hearts at Indiahikes since it reveals many surprises as you go climbing through each of the layers of the fort.
The trek is very much accessible and close to the SH 9 state highway connecting Madhugiri and Dabaspet. The beautiful majestic fort reminds you of medieval times that was used as a strategic fortress in this region of Madhugiri and Tumkur. It is one of the Navadurgas around Bangalore, the entire fort is divided into multiple layers and sections.
One can clearly see the brilliant minds that went into the design and structure of this fort that was built during the 16th century. The fort is daunting to you right from the time you are starting the trek from the base and it gets grandiose as you come closer.
Just the sheer climb through the granite rocks adds to the thrill. Be it with false doors leading you to the wrong side of the fort, a reservoir to store water throughout the year and ancient hallways mark this for an exploration one must truly venture into.
The view from the top of the fort is also a sight to witness. You get to see the famous monolith of Madhugiri from the top and other surrounding hillocks in a grand setting.
The trek is ideal for any age group and especially for families, friends, and colleagues to start trekking. A fit trekker can complete the trek within a couple of hours while those who want to take it leisurely can spend half a day easily exploring the trek.
➤ Table of Contents
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! You will get all the information required to do the Channarayana Durga trek on your own.
To navigate through the documentation easily, use this section of the Table of Contents.
- Trail Information
- GPX File for Channarayana Durga Trek
- Best Season to do the Channarayana Durga trek
- Difficult Sections
- How to Reach the base of the trek
- Things to Take for the trek
- Frequently Asked Questions about the trek
- Nearby Places to Visit
➤ Highlights of Channarayana Durga Trek
1. Design and Levels of Fort
The entire charm of the trek lies through the beautifully designed fort of Channarayana Durga. You have three distinct layers to go around and explore. The fort is a constant companion daunting at you right from the start until you finish the trek.
Distinct Levels of the Channarayana Durga Fort as seen from the base of the trek. Picture by Suhas Saya
Watch out and explore the distinctive fortification of bastions, galleries, garrison, and storage units. The different structures of the fort take your mind to the ancient times when the fort was actually in use.
2. View from the top of Channarayana Durga
The top level of the fort is very unique compared to other hillocks surrounding Bangalore. The top is surrounded by fortification on all sides.
View of surrounding hills from the top of Channarayana Durga. Picture by Suhas Saya
It almost feels like you are entering into a playing cauldron. Walk along the edges of the fort to get the entire view of the region. You get to spot the famous monolith of Madhugiri towards the North, Siddarabetta towards the South West, and other hillocks.
3. Exploring and the Thrill of Climbing the Granite Rock
The trek of Channarayana Durga is most suited for trekkers who are keen on exploring the different aspects of the fort, the physical features of the rock, and getting transported back to the ancient times when this fort was actually in use.
The thrill of climbing on the Granite Rock surface on this trek. Picture by Suhas Saya
The false routes add to the excitement of getting lost from the main trail and still not having to worry about safety.
➤ Trail Information
Start your trek early in the morning. This way you would avoid the sun hitting on your head directly. The granite boulders also will be cooler and easier to climb.
The trek can be divided into two sections
- Base of the Hillock to First Level of Fort
- From the First Level to the Top of the Fort
Trek Distance: 1 km
Trek Duration: 30-40 minutes
The trek starts from the main lane of the Channarayana Durga village area. This is the space where you will see locals catching up and chatting near the petty shop.
Base Village of Channarayana Durga where the bus stops. Picture by Suhas Saya
The trail starts just after the water tank where the villagers collect the water from. This would be the last space where you can fill your water bottles. The alternative option is to request the houses surrounding for some water.
Water Tank at the start point of the trek. Picture by Suhas Saya
Take the lane just after the water tank at the right-hand side and head towards the hillock. There is no trail as such where the trek starts. It starts with a climb from here.
You will see arrow marks painted on the granite rocks which will guide you on the route.
Starting Point of the trek. Picture by Gautam Singh
A gradual ascent takes you through a section of granite monolith rock. Stick a bit towards the right where you will get a better grip against the smaller boulders and bushes growing near these sections.
The initial section of the ascent. Stick to the right and then start heading towards the left flank. Picture by Venkat Ganesh
The climb takes a bit towards the left and then you start climbing up again. Notice a small stone ruin towards the leftmost flank when you are climbing up. You will find a patch where there are grasses and cactus growing. Cross this section and the climb gets slightly steeper until you reach a flatter surface.
| Tip: Put your weight forward and towards the mountain when climbing up. If you are finding it difficult to climb the granite rock surface, remove your shoes and climb with your bare feet. This will be easier.
You have the option of climbing up directly towards the first level or taking a slight deviation towards the left-hand side where the rock formation reminds you of a fissure or how this incredible geology takes place.
We would suggest taking this later route and having some fun trying to squeeze your way in lying on the rock surface.
Students explore and have fun near the openings of the boulder. Picture by Venkat Ganesh
Notice the dark lines on the rocks. During the monsoon and post-monsoon season, you will see water trickling down these portions.
Few more minutes of this climb and you reach the huge entrance for the first level of the fort.
Approaching the first level of the fort. Picture by Venkat Ganesh
Look out on the carvings on a few of the rocks as you enter the fort.
Carving of a snake on the rock. You will spot a few of these if you observe carefully. Picture by Suhas Saya
Walkthrough the majestic entrance and through the massive granite pillars supporting the entrance. You can take a sip of water and take a small break near the entrance where you get some good shade.
Trek Distance: 1.2 km
Trek Duration: 50 mins to 1 hour
The first level of the fort has very interesting and exciting components to explore.
Entering the second level of the Fort. Picture by Venkat Ganesh
To begin with, go to the North-eastern side to see the pond/reservoir which stores water throughout the year. You can take a walk alongside this pond and spot many bastions of the fort.
Walking along the sides of the pond will easily take you about 10-15 minutes.
Pond or Reservoir to store water throughout the year. Picture by Gautam Singh
If you want to explore, take the North-western side. There is a small door that leads you towards a false route or perhaps another section of the fort during the earlier times.
You can wonder if this was actually a trap for soldiers. From the top, spotting the troops and attacking would have been much easier if you landed up over here.
False Trail towards the North-Western side. Picture by Suhas Saya
Retrace back to the main trail and you will enter a section that is slightly flatter.
The trail opens up and the expanse is slightly broader now. This particular section resembles a feeling of trekking through the grassland. If you are walking in the autumn season or during the evening, watch out when sunlight hits on these golden-colored grass.
Go around the perimeters of the fort and explore the ruins.
The last section of the climb to the top of the fort. Trekkers are descending down from the top here. Picture by Venkat Ganesh
You are on the second level of the fort and trek through other features. You will come across stables, gallery sections when the armies were using the fort.
From here, the top of the fort is around 15 minutes.
Climb through the last stretch and enter through the last of the doorway into a rectangular flat top surrounded by the fort structure on all sides. The view is hidden from your sight when you enter.
Stone Walls of the last section of Channarayana Durga Fort. Picture by Suhas Saya
You need to climb onto the walls of the fort to take in the surrounding views and get the vantage point from the top.
Walk around the entire top section of the fort. You will see the monolith mountain of Madhugiri towards your North, Siddarabetta, and other hillocks surrounding the Madhugiri city of Tumkur district.
View of what the top of the fort looks like. Picture by Suhas Saya
The fort has many openings where canons used to be placed for protection.
Notice stone steps that can be climbed up to the top. It is beautifully camouflaged amongst the trees growing on the cracks of these rocks. Do not break any part of the ancient tree which has been growing for centuries.
Beautiful section of steps covered with the tree leading to the topmost section of the fort. Picture by Suhas Saya
Be careful when placing your foot here on the steps and on the top while having a glance down.
The descent to the base takes you through the same route. Exercise caution when you are descending down. It is very easy to lose your grip or slip when climbing down the granite boulder.
If there are signs of weather going bad or clouds forming, then it’s better to descend down when the rock surface is dry and not slipping.
Students descend down the hillock. Picture by Venkat Ganesh
It will take you about 45 minutes to an hour to reach back to the base village. Make sure you have a Turn Around Time (TAT) at 5 pm if you start the trek post afternoon.
➤ History of the Channarayana Durga Fort
The fort was built during the 16th century. According to the records, it was built by Channapa Gowda during the year 1513.
Apart from the local rulers, the fort was captured by the Mysore dynasty during the 1600s. In the 1700s when the Mysore dynasty was losing its power, it was later taken over by Haider Ali and then Tipu Sultan.
The fort mainly served the purpose of being the Armory and serving weapons. Iron ore from the surrounding regions was smelted with sulfur and then provided to the Mysore kings for their missile and rocket weapons.
Channarayana Durga had a prominent place in the history of the Tumkur and Madhugiri region. Picture by Suhas Saya
The fort was later battled over between the Marathas and the Mysore Wodeyars. It was later taken over by the British and then later abandoned.
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➤ Best Season to do the Channarayana Durga Trek
The best time to do Channarayana Durga Trek would be between the months of September to February. The months of post-monsoon are the best time to do the trek since you have a lot of greenery surrounding Channarayana Durga. The trek also comes out alive with small sections having water trickling down the rocky terrain.
The winter months are also very pleasant and a good time to experience the trek.
How Channarayana Durga Trek looks just after the monsoon season. Photo was taken in the month of October by Suhas Saya
The monsoon season is not recommended due to the rocks being extremely slippery.
The transition of colors during the month of January and approaching the summer season. Picture by Suhas Saya
You can do the trek during the summer season, however, it can tend to get very tiring without proper shade or cover on the trail. This can hamper your experience of the trek. Due to less tree cover on the trail, we recommend you wear a cap or a hat if you are trekking during the summer months.
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➤ Difficult Sections on the Channarayana Durga Trek
Channarayana Durga trek is of Moderate difficulty. The only sections on the trek where you need to be careful would be the rock surface. This comes during the first initial ascent through the boulder surface until reaching the first level of the fort.
In case of any unexpected rains or water flowing, be very careful while navigating. You might have to crawl down on all fours and still take very small steps while descending down.
Be careful while descending down the granite rocks. If you don’t have the balance, go on all fours. Picture by Suhas Saya
Here are a few things you note down:
- Slippery trail through the rocky terrain (Rain and Monsoon specific): The trail becomes extremely tricky during monsoons as rocks become very slippery and caution must be taken while traversing. If trekking in the monsoons or post-monsoon, 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.
- Exposed section towards the top: Although this section is not difficult, keep your eyes out when walking on the top level or the fort walls. Even when taking the steps near the top, a wrong footing can lead to serious injuries. So be careful while climbing these or if you are looking down from the top walls of the fort.
➤ How to Reach Channarayana Durga Trek
Channarayana Durga trek starts from a small village called Channarayana Durga in the Tumkur district.
Reaching Channarayana Durga by your own vehicle
If you are traveling in your own vehicle, then you need to head on the Bangalore-Tumkur highway, NH48.
As you are nearing Dobbaspet, do not take the flyover. Enter the service road and the road going towards Madhugiri. A junction comes at Dobbaspet where one road goes to Doddaballapur and the other to Madhugiri.
As soon as you cross the junction, you hit the state highway of SH3 towards Madhugiri.
On the state highway, cross the major town of Koratagere. From here, you need to take the left turn on the road going towards Siddarabetta. It is about 5 km from the Koratagere town where this left turn comes. Watch out for the arch where the left turn needs to be taken.
| Tip: You will see a board mentioning Siddarabetta and the turn to be taken for this. Follow this since there is nothing mentioned about Channarayana Durga on the main road.
The other approach that you can take is to enter the Madhugiri region from Doddaballapur. You can drive either via Madhugiri or come to Dobbaspet.
Use the Google map or GPX file to reach the base of the trek.
Reaching Channarayana Durga by Public Transport System
If you are planning to take public transport, then the best way is to take a bus from Majestic and then head to Tumkur.
From Tumkur, there are two buses that would leave and reach the base of Channarayana Durga. The first bus leaves at around 9.30 am from Tumkur. It would take the route of Siddarabetta, Tovinakere.
There is also another bus leaving at 11.30 am from Koratagere to Channarayana Durga. The same bus goes back to Koratagere around 12.45 pm from the base village.
The last public bus would leave from Channarayarana Durga at around 1.30 am to Tumkur. After this, there are no public buses from the base of the village.
However, you can call for autos from the petty shops that sell limited essentials.
Here are a few contact numbers of Auto folks who might be able to help – Ravi: 9480500309, Laxminarayan: 9731059781
The cost of the Auto from the State highway of the arch to the base village of Channarayana Durga will be INR 150-200.
Nearest International and Domestic Airport
Kempegowda International Airport – 43 km
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➤ Frequently Asked Questions about Channarayana Durga Trek
1. Permission and Camping on the Channarayana Durga trek
You don’t need any permission to go on the Channarayana Durga trek.
Camping on Channarayana Durga is also not required. You can complete the trek in one day and reach back to the base village. Also, the villagers at the base might not be happy to hear trekkers camping on top of the hill.
If you want to camp, then you can take permission from the local villagers and get some space near the base in one of the farmlands.
2. Food and Water sources on Channarayana Durga Trek
There is a small food stall at the base of Channarayana Durga where you get packaged food and a small eatery.
For water sources, there are no clean sources on the trek. You can refill the water bottle before you start at the village. There is a water tank where you can refill or in the village homes.
The shop at the base before starting the trek. Picture by Suhas Saya
So have your water bottles filled from the base itself or from your home. Two litres of water per person will be sufficient to start the trek with.
Green Tip: The best practice will be to carry your own snacks and food in a reusable dabba. 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 Channarayana Durga Trek
Hospital: The closest hospital is Koratagere Government Hospital which is around 12 km away. Here is the location of the closest hospital from the base village.
Police Station: There are two police stations closest to Channarayana Durga Trek.
If you move North, then Madhugiri would be the closest, 10 km from the base village. Here is the contact number: 08137-282381 / 9480802974
The second option will be moving South to Koratagere. This is 11 km from Channarayana Durga. This is the contact number: 08138-232136 / 9480802954
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 ATMs in the main towns of Madhugiri and Koratagere. All these nearest ATMs are around 10-12 km away. You don’t have any ATMs at the base village.
Mobile Networks: You get a good network throughout the trek. Most of the major network coverages like Vodafone, Airtel, and Jio catch signals when you are on the trek.
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➤ Nearby Places to visit after your Channarayana Durga Trek
Madhugiri Trek is one of the most spoken-about treks, among the treks in Karnataka. This Trek is to the peak of the fort standing on one of Asia’s largest monoliths.
View of Madhugiri as you approach the monolith. Picture by Gautam Singh
The highlight is the rock dome, atop which stands a fort!
❖ Jayamangali Black Buck Reserve
The Jayamangali Blackbuck Reserve is one of only two reserves dedicated to the antelope in Karnataka.
There are about 80 species of plants that have been recorded and around 67 species of butterflies that have been sighted along with the gorgeous blackbucks in their natural habitat. Apart from blackbucks, the area consists of Acacia and Eucalyptus plantations.
A rare capture of the swift blackbuck. Target the early morning or late evening to visit this reserve. Picture by Suhas Saya
The reserve is an absolute delight for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers or simply anyone who wants to spend a day amidst the fresh countryside air!
There are no safaris as such so you will have to move around in your own vehicles.
Siddarabetta in Kannada means ‘Hill of Saints’. It is one of the most popular places to visit around Madhugiri.
This is an appealing hike for Trekkers and Pilgrims. The pilgrims come to visit the Shrine of Lord Shiva at the top of the hill. There is also an ashram situated at the base.
Entrance to one of the caves at Siddarabetta. Picture by Suhas Saya
The rocky trail and the caves add a lot of thrill to the climb. The route from the caves has uneven rocks and boulders, allowing only a single person to cross at a time. Exploring the caves is a cherry on the cake, as the view from the peak is equally rewarding as it is surrounded by the lush greens of the Devanarayana Durga Forest.
➤ Trek Contribution
Trek explored, documented by Indiahikes Team
Photos contributed by Suhas Saya, Gautam Singh, and Venkat Ganesh of the Indiahikes team
Trek Written by Suhas Saya