Biligiriranga Hills, commonly known as BR Hills, is a hill range in Karnataka state, on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border area near Chamarajanagar city.
BRT Wildlife Sanctuary or Biligiriranganatha Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary as it is called officially is situated in BR Hills. BRT Wildlife Sanctuary is a “Project Tiger” reserve since 2011. The park is named after Biligiri Rangaswamy temple, which is a famous temple on a bare cliff, overlooking the northern parts of the Wildlife Sanctuary.
On the banks of River Bhargavi in the BR Hills, there is a centuries-old huge Champak tree or Magnolia Champaca, well known for its fragrant flowers. B.R. hills are the link between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, allowing gene flow between the two.
Biligiri Ranganatha Swamy Temple
BiligiriRanganatha Swamy Temple is a very ancient temple in the BiligiriRanga wildlife sanctuary. The temple is on top of a while cliff, the highest peak in BiligiriRanganatha hills.
The oldest reference to the temple can be found in Brahmanda Purana Vayaviya Purana, or Vayaviya Brahmanda, as known in ancient Indian literature. It is believed that Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana reached this temple and offered their prayers while searching for Sita Devi, Lord Rama’s wife.
The main deity here is Ranganatha Swamy in the standing posture. Ranganatha Swamy is the resting form of Lord Vishnu. He is in a hunting costume with a dagger in the belt. Godness Rangananayaki (Concert of Lord Vishnu) is another deity here, in a separate shrine to the right side of God Ranganatha Swamy. It is believed that when couples pray together and offer special seva (pooja or prayers) here, they will be blessed with more love, understanding, or bonding. Also, they will be blessed with kids who bring name and fame to their parents.
Temple Ratholsavam (pulling of temple car by devotees) is conducted during the Vaishakha month (a month of the Hindu calendar that falls normally in April or May). It is believed that participating in this temple festival is auspicious.
A separate shrine is there for Lord Shiva, known as Lord Gangadhar here. This is known as the Gangadhareshward temple.
The present deity is installed in the 17th century.
How Do I Go to BR Hills?
Those traveling from Bangalore can travel by the Bangalore – Mysore road. Maddur is the town on this main road, from where you have to go to Kollegala town. From Kollegala town, it takes around 30 minutes to drive to reach BR Hills.
Mysure (old name is Mysore) and Bengaluru (old name is Balgalore) are at a distance of 120 and 250 kilometers from Biligiri Ranga Hills.
For those coming by train or by bus from the Coimbatore side, Chamarajanagar is the city from where you get buses to the BiligiriRanga Hills. Chamarajanagar is around 40 kilometers distance from BiligiriRanga Hills or B.R. Hills.
Mysore Airport is the nearest airport to Biligiriranganatha Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary and the hills. Coimbatore International Airport is around 185 kilometers from the B. R. Hills. Bangalore International Airport is about 220 kilometers distance from B.R. Hills.
Note: It is advisable to carry food, snacks, and water to the area, as it is challenging to find a good restaurant or shop in these forest areas.