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Unraveling Savandurga

Trumpeted as one of Asia’s largest monolith, Savandurga towers high above the scrub jungle in which it is situated. This gigantic boulder is so popular that it has become synonymous with trekking in Bangalore. But how well do we really know Bangalore’s boulder backyard?

Savandurga state forest and monolith on wikimapia:

‘The Savandurga Package’ has been offered many times over by adventure companies whose only objective is to reach the hilltop as fast as possible! In this blind rush, trekkers miss out on learning about the unique scrub jungle of which Savandurga is a part.

savandurga lake
Gems of the scrub jungle

Savandurga State Reserve Forest, currently 2664 hectares, is one of Karnataka’s earliest protected areas. The forest type is dry deciduous scrub supporting a variety of birds, reptiles and mammals.

The scrub jungle, as it is widely referred to, is distinct unto itself. The harsh landscape is a  mosaic of boulders of varying shape and size, cliffs,crags, thorny bush and stunted trees. Very much a part of the Deccan Plateau, the geology of the region consists mainly of granitic rock along with peninsular gneiss, basic dykes and laterites.

The average annual rainfall received is 800 mm, merely one of the factors giving rise to the parched terrain that typically characterises a scrub jungle. Several other contributing factors exist – the fine sandy soil found here is derived from the erosion of granite rock and thus incapable of retaining sufficient moisture. Consequently, the flora of the scrub jungle remains stunted, having adapted to the scarce and intermittent water supply. Evidence of this can be seen in Savandurga’s dry vegetation, thorny bush, stunted trees with short trunks and branches that barely meet to form a closed canopy. The trees of this scrub jungle do not grow beyond 20 to 30 feet.

Nonetheless, Savandurga was once home to elephants and tigers and continues to offer sanctuary to rare and endemic creatures such as the Salim Ali fruit bat. Even today, it boasts of a thriving micro and macro habitat that support a healthy local ecosystem. Several large mammals and reptiles, like elephants, leopards, sloth bear, monitor lizard, Indian rock python still call this scrub jungle their home. Take a look at this:

Savandurga has a rich bird population too, including rare and endangered migrant visitors such as the great Indian bustard or lesser florican. Click to view a checklist of birds that you have a chance of sighting on any given day in Savandurga:

Essentially, what we’re saying is that there is plenty to explore and learn when it comes to the isolated scrub habitats surrounding Bangalore, firstly that they are crucial to sustaining life in the city. So, we invite you to move beyond what’s popular and get to know Savandurga’s extraordinary scrub jungle for what it really is.


Experience a new and exciting side of Savandurga with Secrets of the Scrub, a programme specifically designed for the purpose. As part of this workshop you will have:

Introduction to scrub ecology

Climb up the monolith, Savandurga

Observation and study of micro and macro habitat

Introduction to fragmented ecosystems and importance of green belts

Getting to know wildlife threatened by fragmentation

Research methodology: camera trapping

Human-animal conflict

When? 3rd May 2015

Meet up time: 5:00a.m

Assembly Point: ITW in-city Learning Center, #36, First Floor, Linden Street, Austin Town, Bangalore – 560047

Locate us on Google Maps

Participation fee: Rs. 1,200 per head

Ready to explore? Get in touch: 9739461638 / 9880094687

You can even sign up online:

Brace yourselves as we reveal the best kept secrets of Bangalore’s favourite monolith, we’ll see you there!