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MM Hills- The verdant mountains of Karnataka

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For most urbanites, weekends usually revolve around get-togethers, dinners, outdoor events, or getaways to the nearby tried and tested places. If you are living in or around Bangalore and looking for something exciting to do over the weekend, then why not take a ride to the dense greenery of MM Hills?

Originally called the Male Mahadeshwara Betta, the MM Hills evolved as a pilgrim town located in the Chamarajanagara district of south Karnataka. The temple is snugly engulfed by seven verdant mountains, which form the MM Betta (Hills in Kannada). The mountain enclosure is flanked by the Kaveri River in the north and the Palar River in the south. The divine energy of the temple, along with the scenic landscape makes for a holistic destination.

How to reach?

MM Hills is about 210 Km from Bangalore city and about 150 Km from Mysore city. You can book a cab from Bangalore to Mysore for a comfortable and hassle-free journey.

Exploring MM Hills

The highlight of the MM Hills is the Male Mahadeshwara temple, named after Shiva and his reincarnation in the form of a 15th-century saint. The temple and its surrounding scenic landscape make for a refreshing tour.

The temple

Dedicated to Shiva, the ancient and sacred temple of Male Mahadeshwara draws hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and devotees of Shiva to visit the powerful shrine of Mahadeshwara. The temple sits at a height of almost 3000 feet from the sea-level and is enveloped by the mountains and their forests as if to protect the deity.

This holy site enshrines Lord Sri Mahadeshwara, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Locals believe that Saint Mahadeshwara lived in this region somewhere in the 15th century. He used to move around on a tiger and performed many miracles to save the locals and other saints living here.

The temple, according to legends, is where the soul of the saint Mahadeshwara resides and makes for a major pilgrim center for many devotees from Mysore and its surrounding villages, who sometimes walk all the way to the temple.

Spreading around an area of 155.57 acres of forested lands, the Mahadeshwara temple attracts not only the spiritually inclined but also nature enthusiasts.  Make use of an affordable and highly-rated car rental service in Bangalore to get the most out of your vacation.

Nature and adventure

The magnificent landscape of the MM Hills is mostly covered with dense evergreen and deciduous forests, making it a perennial foliage. With two major rivers bordering the hills on either side, the forests have become home to numerous species of plants, birds, animals, and reptiles. Protected as the MM Reserve Forests, these woods also include the famous Bandipur National Park and many tiny villages within its enclosures. On any given day, you might be able to spot elephants, sambars, spotted deer, jackals, lots of porcupines, bison etc. Locals and wildlife explorers have claimed sightings of tigers, leopards, and even sloth bears in this area.

For trek enthusiasts and regular forest hikers, the forests of MM Hills make for a thrilling trek through the wilderness. There is a 14Km long trek route that starts at MM Hills and leads to Naagamale via Indiganatham and then to Palar. You can stop at Naagamale and head to Palar, which takes another 8 Km to trek.

The nature trail offers stunning views of the shola forests and the surrounding mountains. Be prepared to spot exotic birds and butterflies, if you are traveling in spring or autumn.

About 45 Km from the temple zone, there is also a magnificent waterfall called the Hogenakkal Falls, which cascades down a massive height of rocky hills and has a wispy layer resembling smoke. Hence, the name Hogenakkal (smoking rocks)

To discover the real beauty of the MM Hills, you need to see both its religious and natural heritage and spend a weekend in these mysterious forests.

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