Update: The dangling rock which is what Avalabetta is famous for, has been barricaded.
Zooming past green pastures stretched till hillocks in the distant horizon, we were approaching Avalabetta fast. The highway was impeccable and the morning fog was clearing rapidly, allowing the sun rays to bounce off concrete roads. A lovely drive, which started at 5 AM in the morning, had turned into a beautiful experience. After 2 hours, we took a right to enter the gates of Avalabetta area.
Located at an approximate distance of 90 KMs from Bangalore, Avalabetta is topping the travel charts of Bangaloreans. Due to its lesser fame, as compared to Nandi hills, Avalabetta is on the list for offbeat travelers. Famous for it’s hanging cliff, Avalabetta attracts many curious travelers from Bangalore. But, is Avalabetta really offbeat? Here’s what I found out.
We reached Avalabetta at around 7:30 AM. We had missed the sunrise time by an hour or so. You can take the car up to the beginning of stairs which lead to the hanging cliff and the Avabetta peak. An easy climb, the 100 odd steps will help you reach the famous hanging cliff. The hanging cliff is nothing but a protruding part of rock with a magnificent landscape, dotted by lakes and hillocks, in the background. The hanging cliff has a tiny water body juxtaposed with it. The setup looked impressive but there were two things which ruined the destination for us up to a certain extent.
I was first disappointed by the crowd just strewn all over the place. Given that the hanging cliff and tiny pond don’t take up a lot of space together, even a crowd of 50 would make it look cramped. Avalabetta was not that bad actually. But the Sunday crowd had pretty much taken the essence away. With all the hooting and yelling, we didn’t stay long at the famous spot. Instead, we ventured a little farther and settled on another boulder. We saw folks lining up to take a selfie while posing as a daredevil. However, we overcame our disappointment by having a good laugh at some folks who gave funny poses while standing on the cliff. We joined the crowd which hooted every time someone got clicked or took a selfie. We had a good time cheering the folks.
The second disappointment was how poorly maintained the pond was. The water body was dotted with plastic, cigarette butts and what not. Had it been a clean pond, it would have increased the beauty of Avalabetta multifold. It’s unfortunate to see the visitors not having the slightest respect for such beautiful destinations. The authorities can’t do much if they were to discover the same amount of filth being deposited in the pond every day. Each individual traveler should assume responsibility to keep such places clean.
Apart from the crowd and filth in the pond, Avalabetta has a potential to become a really good destination. But, frankly, these two factors have made many destinations suffer. The authorities cannot control the crowd but can surely handle filth. Until the authorities crack down on the folks who don’t dispose of waste properly, destinations like Avalabetta will remain undervalued. We tried to avoid the crowd and filth, relaxed on a distant rock and enjoyed clicking some pictures.
So, it is difficult to control the collective filth produced by masses. But, you can surely beat the crowd! How? Make it absolutely necessary to reach Avalabetta peak before sunrise. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. You should try to leave Bangalore by 3 or 4 AM and reach Avalabetta by 6 AM. You might not see the sunrise as Avalabetta faces the west. But, you will surely escape from the crowd. As the morning light will clear the fog and gradually present a marvelous landscape to admire, you can sit on the hanging cliff with your feet oscillating above the drop.
Frankly, the drop below the hanging cliff is not that deep. If anyone falls, they might not suffer from more than a few bruises or maybe a fracture.
But, my biggest disappointment, as far as Avalabetta is concerned, is not the crowd or filth. I mean, you see that in almost every travel destination near major cities. I am not happy with the way some famous travel publications have portrayed Avalabetta. They portray Avalabetta as an offbeat destination and say that it is devoid of any tourists. Well, it’s not. Also, they paint such a dreamy picture to get a few clicks and attention from the travel community. Whatever happened to sharing real experiences? How about we draw a line between what’s above average and what’s dreamy? Well, it’s high time these publications get their facts right and learn to disseminate factual stories about destinations like Avalabetta.
In a summary, I would say that Avalabetta is a beautiful spot, but only if you reach here before 6 AM. However, if you visit here on a weekday, the crowd wouldn’t be as much as during weekends.
Have you been to Avalabetta before? Share your experiences with me in comments.