Bouldering @ Ramanagaram

Ramanagaram is a sizeable village about 50 km south-west of Bangalore on the way to Mysore. It could have been like any of the thousands of villages in India, unknown and ignored by urbanites except for its sole attraction. The surrounding flat plains are dotted with rocks, boulders and hills. For nostalgic film buffs, this is where parts of the Indian classic Sholay was filmed. My colleague would not believe it until he could be shown the exact rocks and paths that Gabbar Singh and his men had trampled.

That's me climbing and followed by my friend

That's me climbing and followed by my friend

We could not show him those exacts rocks and paths because our purpose was different. Four of us from office had gone to Ramanagaram to climb some of the low boulders. A couple of us had decent rock-climbing shoes. I had to settle for my running shoes that are so unsuited for this activity. Only one of us had some experience in bouldering and we didn’t try anything challenging. The boulders we climbed today were at a height of 15 feet maximum.

The weather-beaten boulders must have been standing here for hundreds of years, even before Ramesh Sippy discovered it. Weathering has revealed chiselled points and edges of hard rock, many short ledges and little cracks. Although there is enough in the way of grip, the difficulty for me was to push myself up with my feet, along a route that is not so obvious when you start out from the ground. A lot of this depends on your level of confidence and technique but with the support of my colleagues I managed a small achievement today.

Three Little Monkeys!

Three Little Monkeys!

We did it without ropes, which is the usual case with bouldering. There are tall cliff faces and larger boulders in and around this area for proper rock-climbing. I have read elsewhere that people have climbed some of these cliffs and there are even graded routes.

A small boulder with a tough route

A small boulder with a tough route

Climbing a small knife-edged boulder

Climbing a small knife-edged boulder

On a different day, I would have come here to do hill walking and rock scrambling. These are much easier activities that involve little risk. But what I did today was fun.

getting-there Getting There
Buses and trains are available but we drove from Bangalore and back along SH17. A little tarmac road leads off the highway through an archway. We parked the car hardly 100 meters from the place where we did the climbing. It took us 2.5 hours to get to Ramanagaram because none of us usually drive within Bangalore and we got terribly lost. It was much better on the way back.


  • Nice write up, and now everybody knows that “Ramgarh” is actually “Ramanagaram”. Few pictures would have been better to remind people of Sholay Rocks.

    You beat me up on this, whenever I use to drive towards Mysore, I always thought of taking pictures and writing it up. I always end up with running short on time to reach Mysore.

  • arvindpadmanabhan says:

    Well, one of my friends took some pictures. Let me see if I can put them up here in a couple of days.

  • Ram says:

    I am very happy that you have substantiated your beautifully written account with a couple of pictures. ” Are O Saambha tumne to kamaal kar diya”

    Well done Arvind.

  • nandanjha says:

    Didn’t know that a concept called ‘bouldering’ existed. I have heard about this town and I remember that ‘OT’ (Outlook Traveler) featured a story on it some years back.

    Thanks for sharing Arvind and this time with pics :)

    Upanshu – Its very uncommon to see you getting beaten for something which has a strong bollywood connection. :)

  • Karthik says:

    Ah!!! I always wanted to visit this place. Umpteen number of times , I have crossed this place, never made it close enuf .. Mabbe next time you venture out, we shd team up!! :-)

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    Indeed the pictures have given a good feel of the place.
    The place seems to very inviting :) Thanks for taking us there.

    Upanshu: I am also suprised to know that you have not yet made it to Ramanagaram, (with its strong Sholay connection).

  • Mary says:

    thank you for the write up. I’m currently in Mysore and would like to check out Ramanagaram for bouldering. I brought my shoes and harness with me just in case of places like this. is there enough bouldering there to make it a whole day trip? also, does anyone know where I can get another pair of rock shoes? a friend that is interested needs some.


  • arvindpadmanabhan says:

    Ramanagaram can take up an entire day. There is also Savenadurga nearby. I have sent more details in an e-mail to you.

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