Ramanagaram with its lush green surroundings and tall granite hills is a famous tourist spot on the outskirts of Bengaluru, the city I currently live in.
I had first heard of the place during a road trip a couple of years ago. As we were travelling on the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway, we noticed gigantic granite rocks at a distance that seemed to continue for a while. Upon asking our taxi driver, we were told that those were the world’s oldest granite hills and it was actually a town called Ramanagaram. He enlightened us about the place being a popular backdrop for many of the mainstream films. Apparently, the rocky terrain of Manmohan Desai’s path-breaking film Sholay owes its origins to the mammoth rocky outcrops of Ramanagaram. If you are a film buff, you can imagine Gabbar’s sinister sounding voice echoing across the mountain, unleashing a wave of terror all around. Well almost!
Apparently, the hill ‘Ramadevarabetta’, along with ‘Savandurga’ was also the shooting location for David Lean’s A Passage to India. In order to resemble caves, small door-like grottoes were made on the rocks (see below).
But the town has got more to it than just rocks and film shootings. It is also popular with nature enthusiasts and bird-watchers since it is home to many rare birds, such as the long-billed vulture, the Egyptian vulture, and the yellow-throated bulbul.
Ramanagaram is the ideal place for the Ramdevarabetta Vulture Sanctuary where one can spot critically endangered vultures in their natural habitats. Occasionally, sloth bears have also been known to make an appearance around here.
Ramanagaram is also famous for sericulture, with most of its’ silk production forming the input for the famous Mysore silk. If time permits, do visit India’s largest cocoon market to check it out for yourself.
And that’s not all, Ramanagaram is also a climber’s paradise. Rock-climbing destinations don’t come much better or more popular. Try climbing a ‘Gabbar ki asli pasand’ rock (I didn’t just make it up, there is one, by that name, trust me!) and see for yourself. For youngsters and children, adventure and rock-climbing camps are frequently organised that makes Ramanagaram a popular place for outdoor activity.
So, next time, you are on the Bangalore-Mysore highway, do not forget to stop over and check out this little-known town. Quirky Ramnagaram may be small but it has something unique to offer to everyone. Worth a visit, someday, perhaps!