Ramanagara, once known as Closepet, is a small town located on the outskirts of Bangalore. The distance from Karnataka’s capital city Bangalore to Ramanagara is about 50 kms. The town’s name is derived from the nearby Ramagiri Hills and the district (of the same name) is newly carved out from the Bangalore rural district.
Ramanagara district is a beautiful place filled with flora and fauna, hilly and plain areas. A major geographical feature of this region are the large pieces of granite from the lower Proterozoic era. The district measures 3516 square kilometres, of which 699.46 square kilometres is covered in forests. The rivers Cauvery, Arkavathi and Kanva also flow through the district. There are 823 villages in the district.
What may surprise many is that Ramanagara is a movie star. It is famous for being the place where the Bollywood movie ‘Sholay’ was shot. However, this was not the only film shot here. David Lean’s film ‘A Passage to India’ was also shot here, amidst the rough-hewn boulders in the backdrop.
If you are ever in Ramanagara near Bangalore, you will be surprised to find out that there’s more to do here than just go sightseeing.
Also Read: Top 12 unexplored places in Karnataka
Things To Do In Ramanagara
1. Night Trekking In Ramanagara
Going on a Ramanagara trek at night is one of the most fun things to do in the district. There are many local tour establishments that offer day treks and hikes. However, at night you can enjoy the beauty of nature in detail as you are forced to look at what’s right in front of you. You can gaze at the beautiful stars above as you make your way through darkness. You can also set up camp with a bonfire to warm yourself while you relax in the great outdoors. Those who want the night to be more adventurous can head to Sri Revanna Siddeshwara Betta (SRS hills), known for rock climbing and rappelling activities. When dawn breaks, trekkers can enjoy a gorgeous view of the rising sun as its rays bathe the landscape in golden light. You can find more details and book your night trek on Insider or Adventure Nation or Events High. These activities generally cost a minimum of INR 1,200 per person.
2. Rock Climbing On The Famous Sholay Hill
Once a sleepy area, the Ramadevara Betta Hills (betta means hills in Kannada) gained a lot of importance thanks to all the film shoots that took place here over the years. Located in Sugganahalli in the Ramanagara district about 48 kms from Bangalore, the hill shot to fame when it was used as Gabbar Singh’s hideout in ‘Sholay’. Since then these Ramanagara hills came to be known as the Sholay Hill. The place was called Ramanagara or Ramgarh in the film. The Ramadevara Betta Hills also serves as one of the best places to go rock climbing in Ramanagara. It’s free, and open between 9 AM and 5 PM. The hills also form part of the popular Ramanagara trek that takes visitors through some of the most beautiful parts of the district. Also known as Ramanagara Betta, they are also home to a large variety of bird species, making it an ideal spot for birdwatching. You can reach the birdwatching spot by climbing a flight of approximately 400 steps across a forest. Atop the hill is also a small temple, called the Sri Pattabhi Rama Temple.
3. Stroll Through The Ramanagara Silk Cocoon Market
Located in Ijoor of the Ramanagara district, 40 kms from Bangalore, the Ramanagara Silk Cocoon Market is one of Asia’s largest cocoon markets. Everyday, this market sells about 50,000 kgs of freshly cultivated cocoons. Spread across two acres, the cocoon market is a great place to shop for traditional silk artwork. Visitors can also take a tour of the silk industries located here, or stroll through the market and check out cocoon vendors. The Ramanagara Silk Cocoon Market is open throughout the day and there is no entry fee.
4. Biking, Trekking At Mekedatu
Located in Kanakapura of Ramanagara district, and about 100 kms from Bangalore, Mekedatu (which literally means ‘goat’s leap’ in Kannada) is a great destination for those looking to get away from concrete jungles. Here, the Cauvery or Kaveri river flows through a narrow (about 10 metres wide) and steep gorge after it merges with the Arkavati river. On one side of the gorge lies Karnataka and on the other lies Tamil Nadu. Apart from being a beautiful destination for nature lovers, Mekedatu has an interesting mythology behind its name. According to one version, a goat (meke), who was Shiva in disguise, leapt over the Kaveri river from one side of the gorge to the other. One can still find strange gigantic holes that resemble hooves on both sides of the gorge where the goat is believed to have leapt across the river. At Mekedatu, trekkers will find a unique haven as there is so much natural beauty to explore. Biking in the area has also grown to be a popular activity among the visitors as the roads are almost completely deserted. Visitors can also check out the Chunchi Falls which is about 17 kms from here. Swimming in the waters at Mekedatu is not advised as the currents are rough and strong.
5. Birdwatching At The Ramadevara Betta Vulture Sanctuary
The Ramadevara Betta Vulture Sanctuary is located on top of the Ramadevara Betta, near the Sri Pattabhi Rama Temple. This is one of the must-visit places in Ramanagara. Here, you can watch three of India’s nine vulture species in their natural habitat. These species are, unfortunately, on the verge of extinction. Although the vulture sanctuary was built in 2012, the white-backed, long-billed, and Egyptian vultures have been roosting in the Ramanagara betta for many decades now. An area of 346.41 hectares was earmarked as a protected area for the vultures after there was a lot of hue and cry from environmentalists and bird watchers over the drop in the vulture population (an estimated 97 per cent of the long billed and 99 per cent of the Egyptian vultures). The sanctuary is open from 9 AM to 4.30 PM and the cost of entry is INR 25 per person, while parking charges are separate.
6. Rappelling At The Sri Revanna Siddeshwara Betta
Sri Revanna Siddeshwara Betta, also known as the SRS Hills, is located about 64 kms away from Bangalore and 13 kms from Ramanagara town. It is famous for its rock climbing spots and other activities like rappelling, canoeing, and rain dance. Cleartrip also provides a package for groups, as well as kids, interested in getting the most out of their trip to the hills. Apart from the adrenaline-boosting activities, the SRS Hills also provides something for those looking for a more spiritual experience. There are three temples on the SRS Hills namely Sri Revana Siddeshwara temple (the most popular), Bheemeshwara and Renukamba temple. Visitors can check out the SRS Hills at any time during the day and there is no entry fee.
7. Adventure Camping In Ramanagara
The Ramanagara Adventure Camp is an exciting place to visit. The camp, which can be reached by road, is nestled amidst the lush greenery of Ramanagra’s reserve forest near the famous SRS Hills, on the banks of Rangarayara Doddi lake about 35 kms from Bangalore. Here, you can enjoy all sorts of activities like kayaking and boating on the beautiful lake, trekking and rappelling on the rocky mountains, and going on one of the longest zip-lines on Kanakapura Road. Some other activities for visitors to enjoy are slacklining, the Burma bridge, water rollers, river crossing, water zorbing, trampoline, rain dance, ziplining, swimming pool, paintball, carrom, table tennis, volleyball, cricket etc. Campers will be provided with pillows, mattresses, and blankets, along with the tents, which, based on availability, are allocated on a double or triple sharing.
The check-in time for the camp is at 4 PM and the check-out time is at 10 AM. Visitors will be provided with evening tea and snacks, dinner and breakfast. Visitors are requested to carry with them comfortable clothes, comfortable shoes, insect repellent, personal medicine kit, extra set of clothes, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
Some things to keep in mind while at the camp:
- Guests must not participate in rope activities and lake activities after consuming alcohol.
- Guests are restricted from consuming alcohol near the lake.
- Any kind of damages caused to the property or things belonging to the camp will be recovered from the guests.
- The camp is not responsible for guests’ valuables and belongings.
- Any mishaps, fights, barging into other guests privacy is strictly prohibited.
8. Experiencing Karnataka’s Rural Ethos At Janapada Loka
The Janapada Loka (which means ‘folk world’ in Kannada) is a 15-acre campus, where Karnataka’s rural environments have been recreated to keep the state’s folk culture alive. Located on the Bangalore-Mysore highway, about 4 kms from Ramanagara and 59 kms from Bangalore, this cultural centre is the brainchild of HL Nage Gowda, a civil servant and lover of folk culture of India. The Janapada Loka, which was started in 1994, is dedicated to promoting, preserving, publishing and propagating the native folk culture of the state. It serves as a platform for rural artisans, musicians and craftspeople to showcase and market their art. The Janapada Loka is open from Wednesday to Monday between 9.30 AM and 5 PM. It is closed on Tuesdays and special days. The entry fee for adults is INR 50 per person and for children it is INR 25 per child. A fee of INR 100 is charged only if you are planning to take pictures inside the museums.
For those interested, package tours of the Janapada Loka can be arranged. The package includes a guided tour of the museums and the Janapada Loka campus, boat ride, video show of folk art forms and documentaries, live performance by folk artists, and food. You can contact the administrative office 15 days prior to the date of your arrival or write to them at email@example.com.
Best Place To Visit For A Fun And Adventurous Day
Ramanagara is a great place to visit as there is something here for everyone. While you may not be able to experience everything the district has to offer in one day, it would be best to spend at least two days to soak in all the culture, natural beauty, and fun. Ramanagara’s weather is most pleasant during the winter (October to February), although you can visit the district at any time during the year. Being a rather popular tourist destination, it is advisable to book your stay and activities well in advance.