Things To Do In Tumkur, India: Divine Temples, Forts & Historic Glory

things to do in tumkur india

Tumkur is a city with magnificent temples, forts reminiscent of its rich history and ample natural beauty. Although it is an important industrial city in Karnataka, it is known among Hindus as the land where Lord Rama and his wife Sita rested on their way back from Lanka. Tumkur is also known as the Coconut City and it has something to offer to everyone. Go beyond the touristy cities and experience the unknown and unexplored lands of Tumkur.

1. Devarayana Durga

Devarayana Durga is a 3940 foot (1201 meter) hill, with two temples set amidst scenic surroundings. The first temple, Bhoga Narasimha, is at the foothills while the second, Yoga Narasimha temple, is located at the top of the hill. Both of these temples are quite good and house beautiful idols of their presiding deity. You can drive all the way to the top and then the Yoga Narasimha temple is a short climb of a few steps, from there. From the top of the Devarayana Durga hills, you can see spectacular sunrise and sunset views close to nature. If you are an adventure-seeker, then drive to the foothills of the mountain and trek up on the mountainous trail. This is an easy to medium trek set amidst forest and wildlife. Ensure your safety first as leopard sightings are common in this area. This place is best avoided in the summer as it can be too hot during the day.

Nearby there is also Namada Chilume, which is a famous monument. According to one legend, Lord Rama, while he was in Tumkur, was unable to find water around and shot an arrow at a rock and split it. Water sprung out in the form of a spring and has never stopped, since - even in droughts. The source of the water is still not known.

Devarayana Durga

Address: Devarayana Durga, Tumkur Road

Price: Free Entry, Paid Car Parking.

Opening Hours: Always Open from Sunrise to Sunset.

Duration: around 2 hours required.

Access: It is 15 km (9.3 miles) from Tumkur and can be accessed by road (either private cab or local bus)

Nearby Food: Not many good options around. It is advisable to carry food and drinks, especially if you are travelling with family.

2. Markonahalli Dam

Markonahalli dam (2)
Source: Photo by user Siddarth.P.Raj used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Markonahalli Dam is built on the Shimsha River and offers a perfect escape from city life. You will be engulfed in the picturesque, natural beauty, clean dam water and clear sky - all in a single frame. There are about 27 species of fish in this dam and you can also spot some beautiful birds flying around. Swimming in the dam is prohibited but you can enjoy boating.

Markonahalli Dam

Address: On the Shimsha River, Tumkur, India

Price: Free to visit. Boating needs to be paid on a per adult sharing basis.

Opening Hours: Always Open

Duration: around 1 hour required.

Access: From Tumkur, it can be reached by car as it is merely 64.5 km (40 miles) away

Near by Food: Carry packed food and drinks as there is nothing available nearby.

3. Siddara Betta

Source: Photo by user Mishrasasmita used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This place is the perfect blend of devotion, nature, adventure and exploration. Siddara Betta in Kannada means ‘Hill of Saints’. This mountain offers an exciting trek with a paved trail, starting at its foothill. As you start climbing the steep stairs, you will come across local vendors selling packed snacks and water and many monkeys. The trek first leads to a Shiva temple in a cave, which is of great significance among the locals. There are many caves in this area, which are pitch dark so make sure you carry a torch.

If you would like a panoramic view of the surroundings, continue the climb to the top where there are ruins of an old fort, a temple and two small ponds. The place is surprisingly clean and you can simply lie down where ever you feel like resting. The view from the top of the mountains on all sides is spectacular and will create memories of a lifetime.

Since this is a religious destination, with a renowned temple, you will need to go barefoot for last part of the trek. Also, if you really want to enjoy some good views from the top, you need to start early in the morning so that it is not too hot. At the foothills, there are many street vendors who work as guides that you can request for cave exploration. If you are carrying snacks in hand be careful around the notorious monkeys.

Trek to Siddara Betta

Address: Siddara Betta, Tumkur, Karnataka

Price: Free Entry.

Opening Hours: 5am - 6pm.

Duration: around 3 hours required.

Access: By road, on NH 48, Siddarabetta is 31.9 kms (19.8 miles) from Tumkur.

Nearby Food: Not many good options to eat around here. Please carry packed food.

4. Pavagada Fort

This old fort, at an altitude of 2296.5 feet (700 meters), has seen many wars in its more than six centuries of existence. Having stood tall for many centuries, lack of maintenance means that now, only ruins of this fort remains in the Pavagada town of Tumkur district. However, the fort still has hidden bunkers, massive watchtowers and thick stone walls shielding its entrance and it offers intimidating views of nature from the top.

It is an easy trek from the base of Pavagada village to the top of the fort and should ideally take about an hour.

Pavagada Fort

Address: Pavagada Fort, Pavagada Village, Tumkur

Price: Free

Opening Hours: Always Open, but travelling in early morning is suggested for view of the sunrise.

Duration: around 2 hours required.

Access: By road it is 98 km (60.8 miles) from Tumkur city, via NH 48

Nearby Food: Please carry packed food as there are no decent food options available anywhere in close proximity.

5. Chennakeshava Temple - Aralaguppe

This is a protected heritage temple, built during the rule of the Hoysala Dynasty, around the 12th century. There is a board outside the temple from the Archaeological Survey of India describing the historical significance of the place. The intricate carvings and the architecture of this temple make this one of the must visit spots during your trip to Tumkur.

Chennakeshava Temple

Address: Chennakeshava Temple, Aralaguppe, Tumkur, Karnataka

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 6am - 8pm

Duration: around 30 minutes required.

Access: By road, it is 64.1 km (39.8 miles) from Tumkur city, via Bengaluru - Honnavar Road.

6. Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve

Black Bucks
Source: Photo by user Chesano used under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the best ways to connect with nature is to embark on a guided tour that offers wildlife encounters. If this sounds like an ideal experience for you, the Jayamangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve should be included in your itinerary. The 798-acre patch of grassland has the largest contiguous population of blackbucks in Karnataka. The Reserve is also the only notified protected area in the Tumkur district. Stand back and marvel at the shy blackbucks from a distance and their natural behavior will amaze you. There are also other smaller mammals like jackals, Indian foxes, and hares. Acacia and Eucalyptus plantation are aplenty in the area as well.

Jayamangali Blackbuck Reserve

Address: Mud Road Through Jayamangali Blackbuck Sanctuary, Mydanahalli-572127

Price: Entry fee is 1.45 USD (100 INR)

Opening hours: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM ( All days)

Duration: 3 to 4 hours

Access: By road it is 69.3km (43.06 miles) from Tumkur City, via Koratagere Main Road to Tumkur-Madhugiri Highway

7. Madhugiri Fort

The Madhugiri fort
Source: Photo by user Rajeev Rajagopalan used under CC BY 2.0

Built in the Vijayanagar Dynasty, the Madhugiri Fort is an architectural wonder perched on a steep slope of the Madhugiri Hill - which is the second largest monolith in Asia. Various rulers of the region occupied the fort and the British even stayed in it for a short period. It’s a must-visit for those who love exploring historical sites. During the two-hour trek, you’ll be able to discover the remains of the fort’s water channeling system, spaces where arrows and cannonballs were kept, and even some secret strategic hiding spots. There are also intricate stone carvings and circular granaries around the fort.

Madhugiri Fort

Address: KSRTC Bus Stand Road, Madhugiri, Karnataka 572132

Price: Free

Opening hours: 6:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Duration: 1 to 2 hours

Access: By road it is 45.3 km (28.15 miles) from Tumkur City, via the Tumkur-Madhugiri Highway

Hop in the driver's seat

If you love long drives and would like to escape the hullabaloo of the city, get packing and drive to Tumkur - only 71.3 km (44.3 miles) from Bengaluru. Experience the other side of this industrially smart city which hosts India’s first mega food park and has a deep rooted connection to its history.

Happy Travelling!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Ishita Gupta is a freelance Indian writer with a passion for travelling extensively and discovering new destinations that also reflects in her style of writing. While charting the road less...Read more

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