Dodda Aladha Mara means ‘Big Banyan Tree’. This is a serene small place located in Kettohalli village, around 28 KMs from Bangalore where you will find a 400 year old banyan tree spread across 3 acres. It is a beautiful picnic spot and you will appreciate the serenity of the place as you can sit for hours under the shadow of branches intertwined in a cobweb.
We got up early to leave at 4:30 AM so as to beat the morning traffic blues but were delayed by an hour as tyre of our Firefox cycle was deflated. It was our first time repairing puncture and took us almost an hour before we could fix it and leave for our destination. it was fun too getting it repaired ourselves, thanks to Youtube videos :).
We took outer ring road and then moved to Magadi Road. This route has some good slopes that will make you sweat and also say thanks to multiple gears in your bike as you would shift them fast up and down these slopes.
We reached our destination at around 9 and found few more cyclists at the spot. The whole compound is covered with banyan tree branches who have themselves converted into trees and jointly constitute a beautiful nature scheme. Main trunk of the system is no longer alive but aerial roots themselves have grown huge and together constitute a beautiful system.
At the center of compound and is also located a temple, as if right in the heart of Big Banyan Tree. Both place and temple are well maintained and clean. Temple is being looked after by a priest while there is another guard on duty to check tourists so as to avoid any damage to the tree system.
We left at 10 AM and took the same route to reach home. It took us more time to reach home this time as it was all up slope during our return journey.
Quick Check list for your Cycling Ride to Big Banyan Tree
Route: Last 8 KM stretch is really good as you take a turn away from Magadi Road and highway traffic. It is lush green and you will find very few vehicles. Plan to pass through initial highway stretch in early morning to avoid traffic.
Slope: You have to negotiate many slopes on this route and they get demanding on return trip as the whole way is an upward movement.
Eateries: You will find many road side eateries on Magadi Road service fresh idli, vada and rice.
Total Distance ~ 60 KMs (Level: Slightly on higher side). You may also refer route and our starting and end point on Google map.
We enjoyed our cycling trip and also the location. Even if you are not into cycling, this place is a good one day retreat and picnic spot near to Bangalore. Place is well maintained by Horticulture Department and yes, you will also find monkeys hanging from the branches and roots without disturbing visitors.