About 60km from Bangalore, Mandargiri Hills in Tumkur is the perfect weekend getaway if what you’re looking for is a little bit of both adventure and culture. It’s also an important pilgrim place for Jains in Karnataka, courtesy the gorgeous Guru Mandir made in the shape of a peacock’s feather.
The hill, also known as Basadi Betta locally, is more of a hillock that offers an opportunity for trekking to travellers. It’s a relatively easy hillock to scale up thanks to the 450-odd carved steps; it takes about 15-20 minutes on average to get to the top. Once there, you get a panoramic view of the village Pandithanahalli along with a chance to explore the four temples on the summit. The temples were said to have been constructed between the 12th and 14th century. Remember that if you want to visit the temples at the top, you will have to get in touch with the caretaker who will open the doors for you. If you have a knack for photography, this is where it’ll come in handy. Don’t miss out on the small pond at the top where you can sit for a few minutes with your toes dipped in.
However, arguably the most famous architecture on the hill is the pinchi-shaped 81 feet tall Guru Mandir. A pinchi is a peacock feather fan and the temple made replicating one with all the bright hues used on it’s exterior such as blue, green, and orange. The feather-shaped dome is the first of its kind in Jain history. Another attraction here is the tall Chandranatha Thirthankara statue. Also, it’s possible to camp overnight on the hills; but you can do so only with the permission of the temple owners. You have to carry your own water, food and basic amenities since there are no food stalls around the place.