Tucked away in the picturesque district of Kolar in Karnataka is a stunning place that offers a unique trekking experience – Anthargange. Meaning “Inner Stream” in Kannada, Anthargange is a wonderful volcanic rock formation that has become a haven for thrill-seeking trekkers from far and wide. With its intriguing caves, boulders, and underground streams set amidst rocky hillocks, Anthargange makes for an exciting one-day trek that unveils the raw, rustic beauty of the region.
Getting There Anthargange is situated about 70km from Bangalore near the more popular religious site of Kolar. One can take a bus or a car to reach Kolar via the Bangalore-Hyderabad highway and then take a short 10km drive to Anthargange which falls under the village of Gangavara. The bumpy rural roads mean it takes about 2.5 – 3 hours to get here from Bangalore.
The Trek The Anthargange trek typically starts from the Anthargange cave temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, at the foothills of the Anthargange hillocks. Pilgrims are often seen offering prayers here before embarking on the moderately difficult uphill trek. The initial 15-20 minutes in itself can be demanding as you negotiate through thorny shrubs and narrow paths lined by spiky boulders. As you slowly gain height, what unfolds before your eyes is truly magical!
Everywhere you see are endless boulders precariously resting against each other as though they might collapse with just a gentle nudge! The boulders look volcanic in origin and create exciting rock formations rarely seen anywhere else in the country. The entire landscape looks like something right out of a sci-fi movie with cratered rocks, small caves, and giant volcanic boulders strewn around as far as the eyes can see.
With every step you take uphill, a whole new rocky vista unfolds in front of your eyes giving you the feeling of walking on the surface of the moon! Halfway up the hill lies the highlight of the Anthargange trek – the underground temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located inside a small cave between two huge boulders. You need to crawl on all fours for a few meters through a narrow passage between the wet boulders to reach the under-cave temple but the efforts seem worthwhile.
The natural Shiva Linga formation inside the cave temple along with the damp earthy smell lend an aura of divinity to the place. Temple priests are often seen performing the ritualistic puja here with a few pilgrims listening to the religious myths linked to this special place.
Right above the undercave temple is a small waterfall creating a gorgeous cascade between the rocks that you need to climb over to move ahead. What follows next is a nerve-wracking climb over steep rocky sheets with only small grooves between rocks acting as footholds. The short 15-20-minute climb can get extremely precarious, especially during rain, and needs good levels of fitness.
As you hold on to the sharp rocks and haul yourself to the top, the satisfaction of having conquered Anthargange hits you! Catch your breath and let the panoramic view of huge boulders spread out all around the sink in. You can also see the village settlements located at the foothills from atop the hill. Many adventure seekers now take daring reverse climbs through spine-chilling rock faces or try balancing along ridges of steep rock walls – not meant for the faint-hearted!
On the return route, you pass along different sets of caves and formations hidden between boulders that you may have missed climbing up. Some appear dark, sinister, and mysterious while some make loud echoing sounds. There are even natural spring water sources streaming at places that hikers can drink from. There is also an alternate route towards the eastern side of the hill that opens to a shrine dedicated to Kashi Vishwanath.
The Anthargange trek culminates back at the cave temple completing the adrenaline-filled 4-5 km action-packed round trip that takes about 2.5 hours. The landscape may look dry and barren but it offers geologists and archaeologists many interesting facets about the region’s topography and biodiversity to study. For tourists, Anthargange offers all the elements for a perfect adventure getaway – thrill, natural beauty, and mythology – making it an offbeat destination that is still unexplored and unspoiled! The Karnataka tourism department would do well to preserve the pristine nature of this quaint geo heritage site.
Some of the useful tips – always carry sufficient water, snacks, and small cash for any emergency needs and you might need it anytime. Prefer wearing trekking shoes with good grip and ankle support. Try avoiding soft slippers, as it might be risky. Hikers must be well prepared for sudden hail storms. So carry a windsheater, cap, and shades. Always trek in groups with a guide to avoid accidents or getting lost. Do not litter or do damage to any property, and this step will help preserve the ecology for the future. If you are suffering from vertigo or acrophobia, avoid attempting dangerous climbs.
So if you are an intrepid explorer seeking adventure along the path less traveled, head out to Anthargange for an incredible day trek that unleashes the hidden thrills of Karnataka’s topography! Just be safe for maximum excitement.